Port Douglas provides an important link to Far North Queensland’s historic development. After the Palmer Gold Fields began to fail, more gold was discovered by JV Mulligan further to the south that would become the Hodgkinson Gold Fields. Access via the original Port of Cooktown wasn’t practical so an easier path was discovered down to the coast to what would become Port Douglas in 1877. Traders quickly relocated from Cooktown and timber cutters took advantage of the port access to exploit to transportation of Red Cedar trees from the surrounding area. However, access to the Mineral fields was still difficult and a railway was constructed along the shortest route to the Trinity Inlet and Cairns flourished. Port Douglas was no longer an essential port and dwindled to be a sleepy little fishing village with population of just a hundred or so by 1960 with port facilities for the sugar cane grown on the coastal plains around nearby Mossman.
Port Douglas Today
In the 1980’s when the Japanese economy was strong, the township was rediscovered by Christopher Skase who’s company Quintex was investing heavily in anything and everything to do with tourism. Construction on the Sheraton Mirage resort facility began, but Skase made some poor decisions and was eventually convicted of white collar crime to become Australia’s number one fugitive when he left Australia for Spain after serving just one day in jail. Nevertheless, this was the catalyst that reignited the Port Douglas economy and it’s now grown to a population of over 4,500 that can double at times due to the tourism influx. The town is now based totally on tourism and can suffer from effects such as the GFC, strong Australian Dollar and visitor trends.
More information can be found at http://www.portdouglasinfo.com/?gclid=COGi_ZKLnbwCFURvvAodHxEAYQ
To learn more, have a look at the Perentie Tours home page