A prosperous colourful town on the banks of the North and South Johnstone Rivers.
Location: 92 km south of Cairns on the Palmerston and Bruce Highways; 1631 km north of Brisbane
Mount Bartle Frere
Queensland's highest mountain (1,611 metres), Mount Bartle Frere is
part of Australia's Great Dividing Range, is 15 km to the north.
Climbing the summit of Queensland's highest mountain offers a
challenging way to explore part of the World Heritage-listed rainforest
of the Bellenden Ker Range.
Bartle Frere trail, in Wooroonooran National Park, can be accessed from
the coast at Josephine Falls or from the west via the Atherton
Tableland. The trail provides opportunities for fit, experienced and
well-prepared bushwalkers to access the rugged wilderness of the
Bellenden Ker Range, part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Four
camping areas have been established along the trail and bush camping is
allowed along any part of the trail.
Paronella Park is a property built in the 1930s by José
Paronella, a Spanish immigrant. Paronella built facilities, including
tennis courts and a cinema and a ballroom inspired by Spanish castles,
to provide entertainment for the public. In 1933, Paronella installed a
hydro-electric plant, the first (privately owned) in Queensland, on the
waterfall in the park. Though damaged by fire, cyclones and several
floods, it has survived and remains a magical, unforgettable place
nestled amongst heritage gardens in lush Australian rainforest.
Australian Sugar Industry Museum
Established in 1977, the museum is located in the sugar village of
Mourilyan, just south of Innisfail, and is dedicated to Australia's
sugar heritage, from 1823 to the present day. In the Sugarama Gallery
attached to the museum a changing exhibition program showcases
Queensland's social history and visual arts.
The Chinese Temple was known as the Joss House because of the Joss
sticks burnt during worship. It is a Universal Temple honouring
Buddhism, Taoism and Ancestor worship. It was built 1940 by the shire's
Chinese population who were drawn to the agricultural industry and the
gold rushes of the region.
Natural features: Ella Bay National Park; Gladys Inlet; Mena Creek
Environmental Park; Tully Falls; Clump Point-Kurrimine Parks; Clump
Mountain National Park; Maria Creek National Park; Moresby Range
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The Johnstone Rivers were first sighted by Sub-inspector Robert
Johnstone who came upon the current site of the town and wrote: 'a most
glorious view appeared - a noble reach of fresh water, studded with
blacks with their canoes and catamarans, others on the sandy beaches;
deep blue fresh water expanding to an imposing breadth.' Sugar has been
grown here since the 1880s and its contribution to the area is
celebrated with an Annual Gala Sugar Festival held every year in
August. In 1881 the Colonial Sugar Refining Company entered the
Queensland sugar industry, establishing mills at Mackay, the Herbert
River and Johnstone River, where it built its Goondi Mill (1885). The
Goondi Mill's opening coincided with a fall in sugar prices. Fitzgerald
and Co failed, but CSR's financial strength allowed it to survive the
Innisfail has long been dependent on migrant and indentured labour,
from South Sea Islanders (then known as Kanakas) in the late nineteenth
century to Italians in the twentieth century. With an economy based
primarily on sugar and bananas, it has often suffered massive cyclone
damage, especially in 1918 and 2006. It owes its art deco buildings to
the rebuilding after the 1918 cyclone.
Origin of Name: in 1879 an Irishman named Thomas Henry Fitzgerald
arrived in the area to take up land. Fitzgerald, an astute
entrepreneur, gave his property the name Innisfail, the ancient name of
Ireland, however it was not to become the name of the town until much
later. In 1882 the Surveyor-General named it Geraldton in honour of
Fitzgerald. The town's name was changed after a Russian ship bound for
Geraldton in WA arrived at the Queensland port in 1910 to collect a
load of jarrah timber. A public meeting was held and the name of the
town was officially changed to 'Innisfail', the name of Fitzgerald's