Palmer River

This tiny settlement is all that remains of one of Queensland's most famous goldmining towns.

Location: 122 km south west of Cooktown; 54km north north west of Mareeba.

Places of interest: Desailly Range; Palmer River; Palmer River Roadhouse; locality of Lakeland; Bob's Lookout; goldmining relics; Maytown former mining settlement

Brief history

The Palmer River goldrush began when William Hann who, while exploring the interior of Cape York Peninsula in 1872, noticed evidence of gold in one of the rivers he crossed. The following year, prospector James Venture Mulligan led a party to the river and returned with 102 ounces. He received £1000 reward and his discovery sparked an influx of around 17,000 miners that was the catalyst to the establishment of the ports of Cairns, Cooktown and Port Douglas. Many of the miners were Chinese, and a bitter series of battles ensued between the Macao and Canton Chinese. Like similar feuds between members of different Chinese societies on the Californian Goldfields in Chinatowns across the US, they became known as the Tong Wars.

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Origin of name: the name is taken from the Palmer River, which was named by explorer William Hann after the Queensland Chief Secretary, Arthur Palmer.

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