Some interesting facts about
The settlement at Cardwell was the first
settlement North of Bowen in 1864 and was originally named "Port
Hinchinbrook" but was renamed after Rt. Hon. Edward Cardwell, MP
(later Viscount Cardwell) by Governor Bowen. Viscount Cardwell
never visited the town named after him and is buried in Highgate
In August 1884 there were some 25 houses
and 50 people at Cardwell but the entrepeneur Dalrymple wrote that
Cardwell should soon be converted from "a wild desolate and remote
spot, into a flourishing seaport, within easy communication of
the marts of the world" .... "filled with churches, public buildings
and the warehouses of commerce, the black hulls of a merchant fleet
in the harbour ..."Australia will hold nothing
more beautiful than the city of Cardwell and its port." ....
The Kirrama Track was one of the early stock
routes linking Cardwell to the Tablelands beyond the Kirrama Range.
The Kirrama - Upper Murray route was in use from the early 1870's
and was generally considered to be the track which Geordie Clarke
blazed through to the Hodgkinson. The Kirrama Track was cleared
for cattle in 1889 by William Dallachy from Stamp's selection,
Blechynden, to Kirrama Station.
Cardwell was a frontier outpost, with all
commercial activity relying on the sea lanes. The shipping activities
are central to Cardwell's early history. Cardwell's first jetty
was commenced in 1872, and was built over the water in front of
the Post and Telegraph Office at the southern end of town. Within
2 - 3 years it was used to transport the first shipment of gold
by sea from the newly opened northern goldfields (Palmer River
and Atherton region).
The offshore shallows and mud prevented
larger ships from unloading easily. This jetty suffered cyclone
damage and the planks were removed in 1889. Three piles can still
be seen on the shore.