Located in Shute Harbour, Tancred Island was named in 1932 by RAN boat party,
under the command of Lieutenant Commander C.G. Little, RAN, which camped on
South Molle Island for about six months while surveying nearby islands and
waters. The island was named after Lieutenant G.D. Tancred, RAN, who was a
member of the party.
Tancred became head of the navy’s Hydrographic Service
during World War 2. In the 1960s he was instrumental in having major
navigational lights placed on Holborne Island, Pinnacle Point, Edward Island,
Penrith Island and Vernon Rocks to provide a more direct route for larger
vessels outside the Whitsunday Islands. This route gave them a straight run from
Cape Bowling Green to North Reef, avoiding the shallower section of the
Cumberland Channel near Silversmith Island and Coppersmith Rock.
Tancred Island can also lay claim to having enjoyed vice regal patronage. In
late July 1928, the then Governor General of Australia, Lord Stonehaven, made a
private visit to Queensland to do some fishing and sight-seeing. He was picked
up at Mackay by Arthur Busuttin in the launch Laura and taken to Tancred Island
(which was at that time unnamed). A base camp was set up on the island from
which over several days, a variety of day-trips were arranged in the HMAS
Moresby which was in the area on survey work at the time and in an amphibian
plane from RAAF Flight 101 based at Bowen. Bowen Museum have photographs of the
The island was declared a national park in 1938.
Source: Ray Blackwood,
Whitsunday Islands, An Historical Encyclopaedia