Pumpkin Island was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 when passing by, aboard the HM Bark Endeavour. The shape of the island, viewed from their ship, reminded the sailors of a pumpkin. The main island has no resemblance to a pumpkin, but ‘Little Pumpkin’, adjoining the main island to the north, looks like a pumpkin when viewed from the ocean.
Pumpkin Island was then again rediscovered in the 1930’s by an oyster collector, Snigger Findley, who ran a successful oyster business and used the island for oyster collecting. Snigger made use of the oyster lease for 30 years.
Roger and Merle Mason decided to make Yeppoon their home in 1961 and saved up to purchase an old boat to spend their weekends out on the waters with. They fell in love with Pumpkin Island the moment they saw it and later found out that it was owned by a friend of a friend, Snigger Findley.
Roger met Snigger and after many jokes and discussions managed to convince Snigger to sell them the island... it all happened one evening, when the men sat down to play a game of poker. During the game Roger got Snigger to agree to sell them the island if Roger won the poker game.
Roger and Merle became the proud owners of Pumpkin Island in 1961 and paid Snigger £50 for the island.
They owned Pumpkin Island from 1961 – 2003 and made the island a low key tourist destination for families and fishermen...
The first cottage, named Coco Pine, was finished in 1963, and rented out for 25 shillings per week, for 6 guests. Soon Pumpkin Island’s popularity grew and the price was increased to £2.10 per week for 6 guests.
The second cottage to be build was Tropical Tides, thanks to the help of Stan, a builder who loved knocking off at 3pm to go mackerel fishing.
After Oyster Box and Pebble Point were completed, Roger and Merle built their own home (now the managers’ residence), thanks to the help of Bruce Ross. Their home was completed in 1979.
The last of the 5 holiday cottages, named Coral Cove, was finished in the early 1980’s.
Many hours of hard work paid off, as can be seen when visiting Pumpkin today. The island was bare, had little vegetation and no buildings when Roger and Merle purchased it in 1961. Thanks to them and their helpers, Pumpkin Island has been made a tropical paradise for families needing to get away from the modern day stress.
The island has since been purchased (in 2003) from Roger and Merle by the current owners...