The Barron falls is one of the highlights of the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail but can also be observed from a walking track that begins at the Skyrail station or at a wheelchair friendly observation deck. The Barron River is not the water supply for Cairns – that claim goes to Lake Morris.
Barron Falls is a much-photographed attraction located near Kuranda and is where the Barron River makes its decent from the Atherton Tablelands to the Cairns coastal plain, but it wasn’t always like this. Over time some of the headwaters that flowed west into the Gulf of Carpentaria were diverted by natural forces into the Barron River. The extra water flowing over the 260 meter high Barron Falls eroded the landscape to form the Barron Gorge.
Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station
Today the flow of water can alter dramatically due to rainfall and the release of water from the Tinaroo Dam but because of the consistency, this is the location of the Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station commissioned in 1963 and located downstream replacing an earlier station which was the first underground power station in the country and the first hydroelectric station in Queensland. The remnants of a weir built in 1935 to even out the water flow can still be seen from the railway siding at the top of the falls.
After being faced with the challenges of inhospitable terrain, torrential rain and raging floods, the original power station was completed in 1935. There was no road access to the worksite so the delivery of equipment was difficult, first by rail, then tram and finally flying fox. Demand soon exceeded supply and extra units were installed in 1940 only to be replaced by a new larger power station downstream in 1960.
To learn more, have a look at the Perentie Tours home page