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.

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.

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’.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

June. The opening of Rainforest Hideaway resort

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

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.



Bailey’s Creek (Cow Bay) History

Bailey’s Creek is now called Cow Bay

The native police in the Platypus entered a creek ten miles north of the Daintree which they found ‘equally prolific in cedar and having splendid sugar land’  and named it Bailey Creek.

John Moffat of Irvinebank with partners George Young and James McLeod, selected 4,000 acres

The Chinese were growing rice

Kenneth Hutchison from Warwick never occupied his land although the creek bears his name.  His selection was forfeited in 1888.

May 8.  Bailey’s Creek School No. 1004 began on Mr J Doyle’s property.  Jerry Doyle was Moffat’s manager and it was under his house.  The teacher was shared with the Daintree School

April. Half time schools at Bailey’s Creek and Daintree closed due to resignation of the teacher, Mr P Keating, who had to row 16 miles between the schools, 4 of them in the open sea along the coast each week.

The Mason brothers began a plantation Almason

31st July.  Bailey’s creek school closed and was allocated to Osborne’s property on the Daintree River.


Moffat was forced to terminate some of his unprofitable ventures

Andrew Arthur Mason first settled in Cow Bay (then known as Baileys Creek) and after a failed farming venture he moved to Cape Tribulation in 1932.

March 12.  A cyclone ruined the Almason banana crop.

Oct. After the birth of their third daughter Walter and Myrtle Mason moved back to Bailey Creek and attempted to grow rice on the bank of Hutchinson Creek.

June.  The Nicholas family established the Cubbagudta tea plantation from seed from the Nerada plantation at Innisfail.

Jan.  The first harvest of Cubbagudta (aboriginal name for ‘rainy place’) tea

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.