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Whitsunday Light

because I have been asked:


Pentecost also called Whit Sunday, Whitsun or Whit, especially in England, where the following Monday was traditionally a holiday, is a major festival in the Christian church. It is celebrated on the Sunday which falls on the 50th day after the Easter festival. Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the followers of Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament. Jesus had told them to wait until the Spirit came to them. Ten days after ascension, 50 days after the resurrection, the Spirit came. (Ascension Day marks the last appearance of Jesus to the disciples after his resurrection at Easter.) In 2012 Pentecost fell on 27 May and the name Pentecost comes from a Greek word which means fiftieth. The festival is often called Pentecost because when the disciples received the Holy Spirit and began to go out and preach about Jesus it was the Jewish festival of Pentecost. Pentecost is recognised as the birth of the Christian Church. The Apostle Peter preached a sermon which resulted in 3,000 people becoming believers. Whit Sunday is a favourite day for baptism. It is thought that because people are often baptised dressed in white, Whit Sunday was probably originally known as 'White Sunday'.


In 1770, Captain James Cook travelled up the Queensland coast on a scientific expedition in his ship the Endeavour, entering the Whitsundays on 1 June. Two days later he sailed around Cape Conway and saw a wide, deep stretch of water separating the mainland from a string of islands. As 3 June was the day on which Christians celebrated the Festival of Whit Sunday or Pentecost that year, Cook named the passage Whitsunday’s Passage. He wrote of it at the time: Indeed the whole passage is one continued safe harbour ….

With over 90 islands stretching from Bowen in the north to the Repulse Islands in the south of North Queensland, the Whitsunday group is part of Australia’s largest offshore island chain, known as the Cumberland group. All the islands and their surrounding waters are collectively known as the Whitsundays.

Cook named a number of other landmarks during this trip, including Repulse Bay, the Cumberland Islands with Pentecost Island as one, Cape Hillsborough, Cape Conway, and Cape Gloucester, later re-named Gloucester Island.


Circumnavigating Australia Blog:

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Taken on July 27, 2012