Port Douglas – A History

We’re always more than happy to talk about this area’s fascinating history and we thought we’d like to share a little of that with you from time to time.  On this occasion, we’re touching on the history of Port Douglas.

Early Days

The township kicked off really in 1877 and was eventually named (after several earlier names fell out of favour) after John Douglas, a Queensland Premier.

Originally, it existed mainly to support the mining industry and to begin with, it boomed. In only three years, by 1880 lots were being settled around the Mossman River and things looked good for its prosperity.

Things Change

The population rose quickly to around 12,000 and the town boasted an incredible 27 hotels. In fact, had historical circumstances been different, Port Douglas might have been developed at the expense of Cairns.

However, then along came the Cairns to Kuranda railway in 1891. Almost overnight, a big element of Port Douglas’s ‘raison d’être’ ceased to be and people started to move away. A major cyclone in 1911 demolished all but two of the buildings in the town and that helped depress it even further.

By the 1950s, Port Douglas had a population that had shrunk to about 100, mainly living there and working in the fishing industry.  Its demise seemed assured but then fate spun the dice again.

21st Century Luxury

Even in the 1950s and 60s, Port Douglas and its surroundings were known for their natural beauty and some hardy travellers ventured there for their holidays.

In the early 1980s, bigger business investors, who knew a good thing when they saw it, started to develop Port Douglas, luxury accommodation there and the surrounding area’s infrastructure.   

The rest is history!

Today, it’s known as one of Far North Queensland’s most prestigious and discerning resorts.  Why not come and discover it for yourself through us?