Two of the first settlers were from Devon, England – George Ford and Henry Maude in the late 1860’s. Ford settled around the area now called after him in the southwest part, while Maude’s land included beautiful Tribune Bay and Whaling Station Bay. Eventually between them they owned 40% of the island.
Whaling Station Bay on the northeast side of Hornby operated as a whaling port from 1871 until the subsequent decimation of the whale population.
The population grew more slowly than with many of the other islands, due no doubt to Hornby’s more remote location. By 1900, much of the rest of Hornby had been claimed by other settlers but the population in 1905 was still only 32.
The island’s industries included the usual fishing, logging and farming. The greatest growth was in the 1920’s when a Women’s Institute and a Farmers’ Institute were founded, and later a one room schoolhouse, and community hall were built. The first tourist accommodation at Hornby Island Lodge at Tribune Bay followed. By 1930, the population had reached 100.
The next major spurt of development happened in the 1950’s with the building of the first church, the establishment of a regular car ferry service and the provision of electricity by B.C. Hydro. A co-op was established shortly thereafter.
The H.M.S. Tribune, after which Hornby’s south bay was named, was a 31 gun screw frigate which arrived from China in 1859 in order to augment the fleet on account of the San Juan Island boundary dispute with the Americans.