A service town for a large sugar growing and processing region, with beef cattle and tropical fruits as secondary industries. Ingham is also the administrative capital of the Hinchinbrook Shire. Ingham's Victoria Mill is reputed to be the largest sugar mill in the Southern Hemisphere.
Location: 111 km north of Townsville; 1482 km from Brisbane; 29 km from the mouth of the Herbert River; 14 m above sea level.
Ingham is situated on Palm Creek, not far from where the creek joins the Herbert River. Set on a coastal plain, Ingham is downstream of the Herbert River Valley and about 25 km from the mouth of the Herbert. The plain is enclosed by steep ranges, through which the Herbert flows. Every decade or so, Ingham suffers major flooding, when the Herbert River peaks at over 12 metres, which it did in 1971, 1986, 1991 and 2009.
The mouth of the Herbert opens on to the Hinchinbrook Channel and, whilst James Cook noted the mountains on Hinchinbrook Island, he missed both the channel and the river mouth. Concealed by a maze of tidal creeks, the river mouth was unidentified by Europeans until George Dalrymple's expedition in 1864.
Ingham's Italian heritage has become a tourist attraction, and the first Australian Italian Festival was held in 1995. It has been estimated that over half of Ingham's population has one or more Italian ancestors for, in addition to the initial influx in the 1890s, migration continued for several decades. The Italian community built its own hospital (1929-45), an exotic design with turrets at either end. (In 1946 Hinchinbrook Shire had 22.7% of Queensland's Italian-born citizens.) Between festivals, the Italian cemetery is listed as a significant point of interest for tourists.
Lee's Hotel gainede notoriety after it was drunk dry by American servicemen celebrating the Coral Sea victory during World War II. This incident was the original inspiration for the famous song 'The Pub with No Beer'. The song was adapted by Gordon Parsons from the original poem "A Pub Without Beer" by Dan Sheahan of Ingham, North Queensland (originally from Newmarket, Ireland) in the Day Dawn Hotel, now known as Lees Hotel. It is believed the song was first performed in public by Gordon Parsons in 1954 at the 50th birthday of George Thomas, a resident of Creek Ridge Road, Glossodia near Windsor in Sydney. It was performed with an extra verse that was dropped from Slim Dusty's recorded version, because it contained elements of blue humour. In 1957, "A Pub With No Beer" became the first Australian single to become a gold record and was the biggest-selling record by an Australian at the time. It was the first single by an Australian artist to enter the British charts, reaching number three.
Orpheus Island is an offshore national park, as is Pelorus Island 800 metres to the north. esides Orpheus Island, the national park also includes Albino Rock, which is located 2.6 kilometres east of Palm Island. Palm Island is the closest location with government facilities. A research station, operated by James Cook University, is located on the island, as is an exclusive resort. This island paradise 190km south of Cairns, 80km north of Townsville and 24km off the North Queensland coast, is situated in one of the several bays on the western side of the island offering privacy, tranquillity and total relaxation in an unspoilt environment. Orpheus Island is a scenic 30 minute helicopter flight from Townsville or a 90 minute helicopter flight from Cairns.
The highest, permanent, single-drop waterfall in Australia, Wallaman Falls is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, home to some of the oldest rainforests on earth and many endangered plants and animals. It boasts spectacular scenery and an array of plant and animal life. The creeks and rivers are home to platypus, eastern water dragons and saw-shelled turtles. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a musky rat-kangaroo or an endangered southern cassowary.
Wallaman Falls is located 51 km south-west of Ingham, about 1 hr drive through rural properties. Travel west from Ingham along Abergowrie Road to Trebonne. From here, the route is well signposted. While part of the road is unsealed, it can still be accessed using a conventional vehicle. Care is required on the range, which is slippery when wet. Towing caravans is not recommended.
A picturesque waterfall on Waterview Creek, rainforest, vine forest and open woodland are protected in this section of Paluma Range National Park in the foothills of the Seaview Range. Rainforest grows on the higher slopes and fringes the creek. Poplar gum, bloodwood, Moreton Bay ash and cocky apple trees are common in the open woodland.Fringed by rainforest, Waterview Creek tumbles down many picturesque cascades and rapids, offering beautiful spots to relax, camp, walk and enjoy watching birds, butterflies and other native wildlife.
Travel 91km north of Townsville or 24km south of Ingham, then turn off the Bruce Highway onto the 4.5km, unsealed access road to Jourama Falls, Paluma Range National Park. The access road is suitable for most conventional vehicles and caravans. Access may be restricted during the summer wet season when Waterview Creek rises and causeways are impassable.
Blencoe Falls and Herbert River Gorge
The Herbert River is one of Australia's two finest extended whitewater journeys, the other the Franklin River in Tasmania. Parts of the river, especially the Herbert River Gorge stretch, are used for kayaking and white water rafting. The second season of the U.S. reality television series, Survivor, was filmed on the "Goshen" cattle station in the upper Herbert River region, near the Blencoe Falls and Herbert River Gorge.
With its headwaters forming at an elevation of 1,070 metres on the Atherton Tableland, part of the Great Dividing Range west of Herberton and north of Ravenshoe, the Herbert River is formed by the confluence of the Millstream and the Wild River. The Herbert River flows in a generally southeastern direction through the Lumholtz National Park joined by fifteen tributaries including the Stone River and flowing past the town of Ingham. The Herbert River reaches its mouth where it enters the Coral Sea near Lucinda, at the southern end of the Hinchinbrook Channel.
The Herbert River Falls is a plunge waterfall on the Herbert River. The falls are located on the northern boundary of the Girringun National Park, west of Cardwell. The waterfall plunges from the Atherton Tableland at an elevation of 505 metres and falls between 56 75 metres into the Herbert River Gorge below. Blencoe Falls are also in the Herbert River Gorge.
Hinchinbrook Island channel from lookout near Cardwell
With its lush rainforests, rugged, misty and heath-covered mountains, sweeping sandy beaches, rocky headlands, paperbark and palm wetlands, mangrove-fringed shores and extensive open forests and woodlands, Hinchinbrook Island National Park is one of the world s most outstanding island parks. Hinchinbrook, off the coast of north Queensland between Townsville and Cairns, is basically two large islands joined by a long sand isthmus which has developed so there is a narrow sandy beach facing south, then a few substantial dunes and a vast, impenetrable mangrove swamp cut by sinuous channels. From the air it is one of the true wonders of the Australian coastline.
Mount Fox (365 metres) is a 560,000-year-old cinder cone of an isolated, well-preserved, dormant volcano. It is protected within the 215 hectare area of Mount Fox, Girringun National Park. A violent, volcanic explosion created Mount Fox about 100,000 years ago. A lava flow 10 metres thick spewed from the southern end of the crater and chunks of molten magma were thrown out of the volcano's vent. Evidence of this fierce eruption can be seen in the form of striated rocks, known as bombs. Today, the well formed crater, about 10 metres deep, is covered with sparse grasses and stunted trees amongst the eucalypt woodland environment. The pink and long-fruited bloodwoods are common in this area and vine thicket is found in a steep gully on the southern slopes.
A 2-km return steep climb takes visitors up the side of Mount Fox, offering views of the crater and the surrounding Kangaroo Hills countryside. There is no marked or maintained track. The Mount Fox walking track may be closed during the wet season (between December and May). Free entry.
Location: Mount Fox is 75 kilometres south-west of Ingham via the Herbert River Valley and the Seaview Range. Travel west from Ingham along Abergowrie Road to Trebonne. From here the route is well signposted. About 20 kilometres from the park in the Mount Fox Forest Reserve, a lookout provides views across the valley.
View from Mount Fox
The Ingham area was first settled by Henry Stone in 1865, but unlike many other regional settlements, sugar and not cattle was established as the primary produce of the area from the beginning. The Gairloch Sugar Mill was established in 1872. The sugar plantations were worked by Kanakas brought in from the South Pacific Islands. When Australia's immigration policy was changed around the turn of the 20th century, an influx of Italian migrants began and continued until the beginning of World War II. Tobacco growing began in the 1930s. Agriculture diversified, and the Catholic Church established an agriculture college at Abergowrie (the only one in north Queensland) in 1934. Vegetable crops were grown for southern winter markets.
Origin of name: recalls William Bairstow Ingham who, in 1874, established a 700 acre sugar plantation which was known as Ings. The 32 year old was clearly well liked in the community, as the locals successfully petitioned to have the settlement named in his honour when the townsite was surveyed and gazetted in 1875.