Brief History Of Cape Tribulation

This area was called Kurangee by the local Aborigines, meaning ‘place of many cassowaries’. Their tribe was the Jungkurara. They also call it Kulki.

1770
Captain James Cook named Cape Tribulation because ‘here began all our troubles’. His Bark Endeavour struck the Great Barrier Reef and they limped in to Cooktown to make repairs. He also named Mount Sorrow, behind the Cape.

1846
The pyramid shaped mountain behind Cape Tribulation was named Mount Peter Botte by Captain Owen Stanley of HMS Rattlesnake. The Cooktown aborigines called it numbal-burroway or ‘the rock emu’.

1932
The Mason family were the first white settlers. Walter Mason reported that more than 300 aborigines lived along this coast in small family units

1934
A cyclone left ‘only one banana upright – wedged in the fork of a tree’ said Paul Mason

1937
There were six settlers and their children there. A parcel of meat arrived weekly on the Cairns-Cooktown boat.

1945
At the end of WWII, Walter William Mason, who had married Myrtle Elizabeth Blight, returned to pioneer farming.

The Mason homestead was called Noosa after the M.V Noosa that went aground in the bay before the war.


1952
The Masons were running a sawmill from after WWII until about 1963

1960
The Council commenced a vehicular ferry across the Daintree River and the road extended to Cape Tribulation

1960 -1970
Many contractors cut timber in the Daintree/Cape Tribulation area

1962
Dec 15. The Mossman/Cape Tribulation road was opened by Andrew Mason

1981
Rainforests surrounding the privately owned land were declared Cape Tribulation National Park to protect it from logging

1983
Protesters blockaded the Bloomfield track to stop a road between Cape Tribulation and Cooktown. This led to a World Heritage listing of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Cape Tribulation National Park.

1984
Oct. A 4WD-only track opened called the Bloomfield Track.

1985
The Jungle Lodge, the first backpackers hostel, was built.

1988
UNESCO declared Cape Tribulation National Park and the Wet Tropics a World Heritage Area

1996
The State Government offered residents north of the Daintree River a subsidy to install solar power.

Feb. 1500mm of rain fell in 36 hours in the Daintree River catchment area. The current was so strong that the ferry cables on the north side broke, cutting off access for a week.

2000
June. The opening of Rainforest Hideaway resort

2002
Apr. The last section of road to Cape Tribulation was sealed.

2004
June. The Douglas Shire Council announced a 12 month moratorium on all building and development permits. It is still continuing.


Compiled by Pam Willis Burden March 2006
A more detailed time line history has been published as a Bulletin and is available for $2 plus postage from the Douglas Shire Historical Society.