Far North Queensland History

Towns and Places

History of the Atherton Tablelands
From the dreamtime to the present. A tropical paradise and racial battleground. From frontier warfare to the battle for the Pacific.
History of Atherton
At first a camp for timbermen, 'Priors Pocket' progressed to a Cobb and Co. staging station, and eventually a prosperous agricultural town.
History of Cairns
As settlers from the southern colonies and overseas rushed to Far North Queensland to exploit the resources of the hinterland, the Queensland Government declared Trinity Inlet to be a settlement named 'Cairns'.
History of Chillagoe
Named after a nonsense-word from a sea shanty, Chillagoe began as a cattle station, developed into a mining and refining center, and was embroiled in a corruption scandal that brought down a government and was immortalized in fiction by Frank Hardy.
History of Herberton
Herberton was the first town established on the Atherton Tablelands, and it led to the development of other towns in the region, including Atherton and Cairns.
History of Irvinebank
After founding the Great Northern Mine and Battery in Herberton, John Moffat bought Gibb's Camp, where he founded his community, which he named 'Irvinebank'.


John Moffat, Wonder of the North
Biographical notes and quotes about a pioneer mining entrepeneur.
William MacFarlane FRGS, Missionary, Surgeon, Astronomer
Dr McFarlane served the town of Irvinebank after serving as a missionary surgeon in South Africa and China.
Edward Granville (Red Ted) Theodore
It was in Irvinebank that Red Ted Theodore first put his political convictions to action, founding the first branch of the Amalgamated Workers' Association.
Mike O'Callaghan's History of Irvinebank
An oral history of Irvinebank by a man who had worked for John Moffat in his youth.
John Atherton
The story of the first European settler on the Atherton Tablelands, after whom the area, and town of Atherton are named.
Taam Sze-Pui, My Life and Work
The autobiography of Tom See Poy (Taam Sze-Pui), who came to North Queensland as a prospector during the Palmer River Gold Rush in 1877, and became a successful storekeeper and businessman at Innisfail.

Stories and Vignettes

The First Europeans to Visit Far North Queensland
When Willem Jansz landed on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in 1606, he unwittingly became the first European to visit the continent of Australia. One hundred and sixty-four years later, a scientific expedition commanded by Lieutenant James Cook spent six weeks camped on the Endeavour River, on the east coast of Far North Queensland.
The Chinese Market Gardener
The Chinese market gardener was an important figure in every township and community in North Queensland.
The Death of Mary Mackay
Red Ted Theodore cancels speech after fatal explosion at Australian Hotel, Irvinebank
North Queensland's Wild West
A description of the frontier mining town of Irvinebank, North Queensland circa 1893. Originally published in Infocus Magazine.

Film and Literature

Historical Films of North Queensland
Historical footage, films, and movies made in or about North Queensland.
Books and Literature
North Queensland in books and literature
Among cannibals: an account of four years' travels in Australia and of camp life with the aborigines of Queensland
Web version of Carl Lumholtz book, first published in 1889, with extra illustrations, edited by author of Atherton Tableland Netguide.

Global Subjects

Hemp in Australia, and British Colonial Policy
The real motivation for the colonisation of Australia was the production of hemp and other naval resources.
History of the Internet
In 1945, Vannevar Bush envisioned a future device which resembled what eventually evolved into the World Wide Web.