Innisfail

Home of Art Deco

Pic courtesy of ABC Far North – Brendan Mounter

Apart from its superb examples of Art Deco architecture, Innisfail is a thriving hub for the other towns on the Cassowary Coast, with good eateries, pubs and many other activities including Croc Tours, Fishing and Golfing.

In the center of two World Heritage Areas – the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Wet Tropics rainforests – the town is surrounded by beautiful natural attractions. Etty Bay, Flying Fish Point,  are a short drive away. Wooroonooran National Park, with the Mamu Canopy Walkway and walking trails through the Misty Mountains, is 27km west of Innisfail. Other attractions include the romantic Spanish-style castle at Paronella Park where the first hydro-electric plant was established. The Sugar Industry Museum at Mourilyan is the perfect place to discover the history of the area, especially when it is too hot or too wet for other things.

Etty Bay’s resident Cassowary

Far north Queensland, known more for major cyclones than for its architecture has the highest concentration of art deco facades in any Australian CBD.

Innisfail’s Art Deco history started after a massive cyclone hit the area in 1918 which demolished most of the tin and wooden buildings. This style of architecture was popularized in Paris and became the decor of the day.  Between 1935 and 1938 to help with the high unemployment country-wide the government undertook major building works and the magnificent Shire Hall was built during that time. 

It’s a unique CBD area. The buildings are all different, they’re not just your normal square concrete blocks.”

History repeated itself when Innisfail suffered extensive damage in 2006 during Cyclone Larry, a Category 4 storm with winds gusts recorded at 240 kilometers per hour.  At the time there was a lot of conversation about demolishing the building for a modern building but luckily  the hall, which is registered on the Queensland Heritage List, was preserved, repaired, and modernised to suit today’s needs.
Innisfail is the Cassowary Coast’s biggest town with a population of approximately 10,000. It is situated at the junction of the North and South Johnstone Rivers 90km from Cairns along the Bruce Highway, making it easily accessible by car, bus or train. Trains run regularly from Townsville as well.  It is popular destination for backpackers who work in the banana industry.

Agriculture is the major economic driver with well-established banana, sugar cane and tropical fruit industries. Mourilyan harbourNearby Mourilyan Harbour is a major regional port with bulk sugar-loading facilities. 

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