The Mackay Anglican School was officially given the name Whitsunday on 18 July 1985.
The city of Cairns faces Trinity bay and the naming of Trinity Anglican School at White Rock in Cairns had set the precedent of combining features of religious, historic and geographic significance. The Whitsunday name was chosen in keeping with this model.
In the Church’s calendar, the name Whitsunday evolved from the word Pentecost. On the seventh Sunday after Passover the Pentecost is observed. In early Biblical times, Pentecost was a harvest festival marking the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest (Exodus 23: 16, 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10). By the second century it was observed as a Christian festival celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts of the Apostles 2) Pentecost became a major occasion for baptisms. Those being baptised wore white. This seventh Sunday after Easter has become Whitsunday also known as white Sunday.
Of historical and geographic significance is Captain Cook’s journey along the Queensland coastline. In close proximity to present day Mackay, he named the Cumberland Island group after the Duke of Cumberland Prince Henry Frederick who was the younger brother of King George III who provided his ship, salary and expenses. Cook also named Cape Hillsborough after Will Hills, the first Viscount Hillsborough, who was the Secretary of State for the colonies. Most importantly, he named the passage he followed through the reef and islands as the Whitsunday Passage after the day of its discovery on Whitsunday 03 June 1770.
On 22 May 1988, 218 years after Cook’s voyage, the official Dedication Ceremony for the Whitsunday Anglican School was conducted by The Most Reverend John Grindrod, KBE, MA, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia.
Source: Whitsunday Anglican School (Anglican Diocese of North Queensland) The Foundation years – The Beginning to 1992 by Anne Jacobs 1994.