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The rainforest around Kuranda - Speewah - Redlynch region has been home to the 'Djabugay' language group of aboriginal people for over 10,000 years.
The translation and phonetic spellings of this name have resulted in may differing versions. However the Kuranda dance group has chosen to use Tjapukai.

Thomas Behan lodged his survey plans of Kuranda with the survey office on the 23rd October 1888 and the first work train steamed into Kuranda on April 12th 1891.
Coffee was one of the first cash crops in the area and many of the growers sold timber in the early stages whilst their coffee trees were growing. Unfortunately, after a severe 'black frost' in 1901 many growers walked away or changed to dairying or cattle grazing. [1]
Kuranda was a very popular place for 'tourists' in the 1920's and 30's, especially for honeymooners who stayed in one of the local hotels of the day - The Kuranda Hotel. Fitzpatrick's Hotel and The Family Hotel. They visited 'Fairyland' and 'Paradise' which required they be rowed across the Barron River. [1]

Fairy Land Tea Gardens as described by Margaret Clow in The Mecca of Our Desires provides an amazing vision that beheld those lucky enough to visit.

......Our way lies along the line, the greater part of it through the deep cuttings, but glimpses we obtain of the river are many, and very beautiful. Deeply wooded islands stud its surface here and there; sandy beaches tempt us to pretend we are at the seaside, and noisy rapids tell us of the uneven bed of the river. The opposite bank where it is not covered with what appears to be impenetrable scrub, shows delightful stretches of green sward ... A walk of nearly a mile and a half brings us opposite Fairyland. But no trace of The Gardens can be seen, nothing but a thick scrub down to the water's edge meets the eye. A loud coo-ee rouses the inmates of a little cottage on the opposite bank, and soon we are being carried across the Barron in a boat, by Miss Lorna Dick, who conducts the gardens.
Landing, we are led up a low bank, and lo! we are in Fairyland. Through a maze of leafy trees, palms, ferns and luxuriant grasses, we follow our guide along a narrow, winding pathway, where the trees tower high above our heads....[2]

Margaret Clow's description of her first glimpse of the famous Barron Falls provide a marvellous picture of this wondrous sight.

......No pen can adequately describe the grandeur, the beauty and the fascination of this enormous volume of water, which after a plunge of more than 600 feet, when its waters break like carded wool on the sharp edges of the black rocks, flows angrily through a narrow gorge, before taking its final leap into an unfathomable hole, known as the Devil's Pool.
At the foot of the frothing, boiling, seething mass of water stands, in pathetic lonliness, a pointed fragment of rock, clothed with moss, which, to an imaginative eye, appears uncommonly like unto an old English feudal castle, which has braved the storms of Nature for a thousand years......[2]

News item from Cairns Post (Qld. :1884 – 1893) Saturday 3 May 1890
General News
A first-class hotel, which is expected to be finished in about a month, is now going up at Kuranda to the order of Mr. Remilton. Kuranda is the township adjacent to the Barron Falls, and will probably be the sanatorium for Cairns, at all events until the railway reaches Herberton. The commencement of the third section will be the signal for a large population to settle in Kuranda.

News item from Cairns Post (Qld. :1884 – 1893) Wednesday 29 October 1890
General News
Land in the township of Kuranda is looking up. several allotments having changed hands during the week at a considerable advance on the original prices.

News item from Cairns Post (Qld. :1884 – 1893) Wednesday 12 November 1890
General News
Kuranda With the rails of the second section now laid to within a few miles of the Barron Falls, it is not a matter for surprise that the holiday time afforded by the Prince of Wales' birthday was availed of by many people for a trip to Kuranda. This town- ship at the Middle Crossing of the Barron, nestling just above the famous Falls, bids fair to become not only the show place but the sanatorium of the NORTH. Only four miles as the crow flies from the ocean, and with an altitude of at least 1000 feet, no wonder the climate is at once invigorating and delightful, and the charms offered by the neighbourhood are as tempting to the lover of the picturesque as they are to the jaded searcher after health. Do you like fishing or boating as recreations? - the noble Barron River offers many and varied attractions. If your idea of sport is centred in a breach-loader, game is abundant, embracing, each in their season, wild ducks, scrub hens, turkeys, pheasants, pigeons, kingfisher, quail, satin bow and the bell bird.
From the experienced naturalist and botanist, down to the humble collector of orchids or butterflies who has more love for the beautiful than a knowledge of the scientific nomenclature of his captures, there is a wide field for research, and an abundance of beautiful things to hand, both animate and inanimate.
Forest groups of strange and stately trees, and belts of the dense jungle typical of tropical Queensland are within easy distance, and birds of rare and beautiful plumage still make these attractions provided by nature it is not to be supposed that Kuranda will ever share the fate of so many townships that have merely an ephemeral existence during the construction of a railway. Running through it the Cairns-Herberton railway will doubtless in the course of time tap the Gulf, but, Kuranda must remain on its own merits a thriving and populous health resort. The more communication is opened up the larger must Kuranda become, as it is not to be supposed that the benefits of such a sanatorium will be confined to the inhabitants of the immediate district.
In the meantime two first-class hotels, one kept by Mr. Remilton at Kuranda, and one by Mr. George Walton a little further on, are heavily taxed at holiday time, to meet the demands upon them, and the opening of the second section in March next will doubtless be the signal for further building operations. Future premises may be more architecturally perfect, but it can be taken for granted at the present time that the hotels now in existence, for convenience and home comfort, are hard to beat.

News item from Cairns Post (Qld. :1909 – 1954) Tuesday 30 September 1919
Unveiling Kuranda Honour Board.

A very enterprising committee is hard at work at Kuranda, making all the arrangements necessary to the unveiling of the Ho nor Board for that centre. It is intended to have the unveiling ceremony at 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, after the arrival of the Cairns train.
It has been decided that the Kuranda Railway Station, which is one of the most beautiful, if not the, most beautiful in the State, would be the most fitting site for the installation of the honour board. It will be a prominent and attractive feature of the furnishing of the station, and will be seen by residents, district citizens, and the large number of southern visitors, who seek health and recreation in admiring the beau- ties of Kuranda and the famous Barron Falls.
The board will be composed of oak, with the names of the Kuranda district heroes raised in brass relief. The committee are determined that the occasion will be a red-letter day in the history of Kuranda, and have arranged an imposing set of public functions. There will be the official unveiling of the board, which will be carried out by Mr. Ernest Hunter.
Then, it is intended to utilise the auspicious occasion in the distribution to the children of the Peace Medals. This function will also be performed by Mr. Hunter. In the evening a welcome social and dance will be tended the returned soldiers in the School of Arts, at which A.I.F. men will be admitted free.
Another pleasing ceremony will be the public presentation to Private Dick of Kuranda, of the Military Medal won by him for bravery in the field. Invitations are being sent out by the Committee, whose secretary is Mr. J.R. Bartley, to prominent citizens to be present at the after- noon's ceremonies. Permission is being asked of the State Commandant, Brisbane, for returned soldiers of Cairns, Kuranda and the Tableland, who may be attending, to wear their uniforms on that afternoon and evening.

News item from Cairns Post (Qld. :1909 – 1954) Tuesday 9 May 1933
One of the best advertisements of the natural scenic beauties of North Queensland can be seen by the arrival by rail motor at noon yesterday of Mr. Curtis Nagel (representing World Wide Travel Films Association, Hollywood, U.S.A.) and Mr. Miller (cameraman), accompanied. by Mr. A. Hooper (Queensland Tourist Bureau, Cairns).
The cinematograph machine and attachments were conveyed on a trailer at the rear of the rail motor, and all the scenes were and will be taken in multi-color. "Shots" were taken of Stoney Creek and the, Barron Falls en route. Owing to the misty conditions prevailing, due to the rain, it was impossible to film many of the desirable points of beauty and interest on the Cairns range. "Shots" were; taken of the garden railway station of the Commonwealth, Kuranda.
The rail motor left for Fairyland and at Mr. G. Dick's Fairyland Tea garden, shots were taken of this tropical garden in the jungle. Owing to the suitable weather conditions prevailing in the afternoon it was impossible to film any of the scenic views of Mr. D. Duggan's "The Maze.
Mr. Curtis Nagel and Mr. Miller leave for America on May 23. They anticipate that the finished product will be available for exhibition in Australia in six months' time.

.Text taken from:
1. KURANDA:The Village in the Rainforest 1888 - 1988 by Shep Humston and the Centenary Book Committee ,1988
2. The Mecca of Our Desires - Kuranda and the Famous Barron Falls by Margaret Clow, reprinted 2003 (Original 1914)
3. Newpaper Articles: State Library of Qld - Digital Newspapers