Entrance to Cardwell, Highway 1
|Elevation||5 m (16 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Cassowary Coast Region|
Cardwell is a tropical coastal town in northeastern Queensland. It is located at the southern extremity of the Cassowary Coast. At the 2006 census, Cardwell had a population of 1,250. The Bruce Highway National Highway 1 and the North Coast railway line are the dominant transport routes; connecting with the Queensland provincial cities of Cairns and Townsville. Cardwell suffered significant damage from Cyclone Yasi, a category 5 cyclone, in February 2011.
West of Cardwell the rugged topography of the Cardwell Range intercepts the trade winds resulting in high rainfall. The coastal escarpment is covered in rainforest which transitions to the west to eucalypt woodland and tropical savanna. Cardwell Range biodiversity has been protected by the introduction of Forestry Reserves, National Parks and Queensland World Heritage Wet Tropics Areas. Seaward lies the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef and Lagoon, Rockingham Bay and Hinchinbrook Channel. Islands are visible from Cardwell including protected areas i.e. Hinchinbrook Island, Gould Island and the Brook Islands Group.
Oyster Point is one kilometre south of Cardwell. This location experienced one of Australia's important conservation battles. With the establishment of Port Hinchinbrook, the Marina Public Boat Ramp provides year round access to the protected marine environments of Hinchinbrook Channel, Esturaries, Islands and Great Barrier Reef. The Cardwell Jetty is an important infrastructure asset, where visitors can socialize and view the coastal scenery; and Anglers can enjoy both day and evening fishing activities.
The Aboriginal heritage is defined by Language Groups; the boundary of the Dyirbal and Warrgamay lies between Cardwell and Tully in the north. The first Europeans settled in the area in January 1864 in order to create a port initially called "Port Hinchinbrook". Subsequently the town was renamed after Edward Cardwell, 1st Viscount Cardwell.
Cardwell was the first port settlement on the Queensland coast north of Port Denison (Bowen). The first party of non-indigenous people to settle at Rockingham Bay arrived in January 1864. They were 20 in number and they came from Bowen on the small schooner Policeman with the 3 ton cutter Heather Bell in tow.
Cardwell has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Valley of Lagoons Road: Stone Bridge, Dalrymple Gap Track
- 51 Victoria Street: Cardwell Divisional Board Hall (former) and Honour Board
- 53 Victoria Street: Cardwell Post Office - Residence (former)
- The Cardwell Bush Telegraph heritage centre, one of the oldest buildings in North Queensland, is located at the southern end of the town.
- Cardwell railway station
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Cardwell (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- Bureau of Meteorology Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- "Cardwell decimated by Cyclone Yasi". The Cairns Post. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- (4 February 2011).Weary residents begin cyclone clean-up. ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved on 17 April 2012.
- "Port Hinchinbrook resort protest". Green Left Weekly. 1998. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- "The New Settlement at Rockingham Bay.". Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1871) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 25 August 1864. p. 4. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- "The New Settlement At Rockingham Bay.". Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 11 August 1864. p. 2. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- "Stone Bridge, Dalrymple Gap Track (entry 15168)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Cardwell Divisional Board Hall (former) and Honour Board (entry 16505)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Cardwell Post Office - Residence (former) (entry 15167)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Cardwell Post Office - Residence (former)". Australian Heritage Places Inventory. Retrieved 20 April 2012.