The township of Innisfail, as seen from Coquette Point
|Elevation||10 m (33 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Cassowary Coast Region|
Innisfail is a town located in the far north of the state of Queensland, Australia, which until 1910 was known as Geraldton. It is the major township of the Cassowary Coast and is well renowned for its sugar and banana industries, as well as for being one of Australia's wettest towns. In March 2006 Innisfail gained worldwide attention when severe Tropical Cyclone Larry passed over causing extensive damage.
Prior to European settlement the Innisfail area was occupied by five separate societies of the Mamu people. These Aboriginal people followed migratory lifestyles in the rainforest and traversed rivers in string-bark canoes.
The first arrival of European people came in 1872 when survivors of the shipwreck, the "Maria" arrived on the coastal areas surrounding what is now the Johnstone River. Sub-Inspector Robert Arthur Johnstone's search party came with the intention of rescuing remaining survivors. The crew would later venture up river between what is today Flying Fish and Coquette Points. Johnstone wrote very highly of the area, stating:
A most glorious view appeared - a noble reach of fresh water, studded with blacks with their canoes and catamarans, others on the sandy beaches; deep blue fresh water expanding to an imposing breadth.—Robert Johnstone (1872), 
Johnstone named the area after himself and upon his recommendation the explorer George Dalrymple arrived in the area in September 1873 to chart the area further.
Later in 1879, Irishman Thomas Henry FitzGerald arrived in the area to establish a sugar industry. He was accompanied by large numbers of Kanaka South Sea Islanders workers accompanied by smaller numbers of Irish labourers. The house built by FitzGerald and thus the first establishment in the area was called Innisfallen, after the largest island in the Lakes of Killarney, Ireland. Inis Fail (island of the stone) is an ancient Irish name for Ireland itself. The name is used in the rarely-sung third verse of "The Soldier's Song", the Irish national anthem. The stone mentioned may be the stone at Tara, Co Meath, at which high kings of Ireland were crowned.
The 1920s and 1930s saw the beginning of a major period of settlement by Italian immigrants and noteworthy populations from Greece and Malta. Later in this period populations from Yugoslavia, India and the Philippines would also settle in the area.
The Innisfail War Memorial in Jack Fossey Park on Fitzgerald Esplanade was dedicated on 16 April 2005; it commemorates those who served in all wars.
Innisfail has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- 10 Edith Street: Innisfail Courthouse
- 134 Edith Street: See Poy House
- Fitzgerald Esplanade: Canecutters Memorial
- 70 Rankin Street: Johnstone Shire Hall
- 114 Rankin Street: St Andrew's Presbyterian Memorial Church
A number of events take place annually to celebrate the cultural diversity within the Innisfail community:
- Kulture Karnival
- Festival Innisfail
- Feast of the Senses
- Feast of the Three Saints
Such events are extremely popular among residents and attract good turnouts.
In 2001 Los Angeles band Sugar Ray filmed part of their music DVD "Music in High Places" at the Johnstone Crocodile Farm in Innisfail.
Being a small community, and one that was recently subjected to a severe natural disaster Innisfail harbours a definite sense of community. The township has only 2 secondary schools: Good Counsel College and Innisfail State College and a single business district.
There are many events that act predominantly as community events, the main ones include:
While Innisfail was always reputed to have a positive sense of community spirit, the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Larry and the unified cleanup effort acted to promote this spirit through shared suffering.
In the past Chinese Australians built the Innisfail Temple/Lit Sing Gung (列聖宮). It was originally a Chinese temple, but nowadays the building is open for rituals of every race and religion. The temple is located at Owen Street. Home to many Italian residents.
Innisfail's town centre is situated at the junction of the North and South Johnstone Rivers, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from the coast. It is located near large tracts of old-growth tropical rainforest surrounded by vast areas of extensive farmlands. Queensland's highest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere; part of Australia's Great Dividing Range, is 15 kilometres (9 mi) to the north.
Innisfail experiences a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) as it has no month with a mean temperature below 18 °C (64.4 °F) or with less than 60 millimetres (2.4 in) of rainfall. Consistently, humid, very warm to hot weather dominates in Innisfail. In particular Innisfail is reputed as being among the wettest towns in Australia. Babinda, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Innisfail is generally considered to be the wettest. Unlike most of tropical Australia, the southern winter or “dry” season is not completely dry as moist easterly winds bring frequent showers; rainfall is, however, still far lower than during the southern summer. Monthly totals of over 1,000 mm (39 in) are a routine occurrence in the region between January and April and some months will not experience a day without rain if the monsoon is unusually heavy. The town gets around 71.8 clear days per year.
|Climate data for Innisfail (1881-2012)|
|Record high °C (°F)||40.1
|Average high °C (°F)||30.8
|Average low °C (°F)||22.8
|Record low °C (°F)||17.2
|Rainfall mm (inches)||511.7
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||16.8||17.3||19.8||18.9||17.0||13.2||12.1||10.6||8.9||8.2||10.2||12.4||165.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||201.5||155.4||170.5||165.0||142.6||165.0||173.6||198.4||222.0||254.2||240.0||229.4||2,317.6|
|Source #1: Bureau of Meteorology|
|Source #2: Sunshine statistics sourced from South Johnstone Exp Station (9.7km away)|
Innisfail is consistently under threat from tropical cyclones developing in the Coral Sea in and around summer months. Furthermore, high rainfall associated with aforementioned cyclones and monsoons, combined with Innisfail settlement on adjoining rivers causes flooding to be commonplace, occurring to varied degrees of severity annually. Innisfail suffered extensive damage in 2006 due to Cyclone Larry as the site of landfall and received over 100mm of rain in the span of three hours.
Severe structural damage occurred over the entirety of the township, the main damage being a portion of houses losing roofs and windows and the cyclone rendered even more homes structurally unsound. Power was effectively eliminated from the town and generators became a luxury in many homes. Clean drinking water was also compromised in many homes leading to health fears. The swift response of the Australian Defence Force was praised by many and the cleanup campaign they orchestrated allowed for total utilities restoration within 3 weeks. Severe damage was done to crops and plantations (mainly bananas) which had a serious economic impact on the region. Only 1 indirect death was record as a result of the cyclone.
Cyclone Larry was a direct and primary cause of the widely reported and dramatic surge in banana prices in Australia. Inflated cost remained until farmers were able to meet demand again in early 2007. In February 2011 Cyclone Yasi hit Innisfail.
On 8 February 2007 the Johnstone Shire Council was sacked by the Queensland State Government by Queensland's Local Government Minister, Andrew Fraser because of internal conflict, inappropriate behaviour and financial problems, despite an issued show cause presented on 2 August 2006.
Among the perceived gross misconduct were the following incidences:
- The purchase of a $250 000 Steinway Model D Piano with insurance money from Cyclone Larry.
- Former Deputy Mayor George Pervan was quoted on commercial radio during an interview during the aftermath of Cyclone Larry requesting Southern Queenslanders to:
"Send up a truckload of piss so we can all get fucking drunk" - George Pervan - 2006 
At present Innisfail has largely recovered from the devastation of Cyclone Larry. After the cyclone the township underwent something of an economic boom that stemmed from an influx of tradespeople and business eager to capitalize upon relatively significant insurance payouts. According to reports local trade had increased some 30 - 40% opposed to expected increases of 10%. 
The main industries remain predominately banana and sugar cane and have since recovered from the natural disaster. Outlying areas of Innisfail have also resumed manufacture of tea, pawpaws and other exotic fruits.
Innisfail remains a popular destination for backpackers seeking employment in the fruit picking industry. Tourism is of importance to the township and the town consistently seeks to attract visitors passing through on the Bruce Highway.
- Kerry Boustead: former Queensland and Australian Rugby league great, Queensland's first ever try scorer in State of Origin rugby league
- Steve Corica: retired footballer who was capped numerous times for Australia and played in England, notably for Wolverhampton Wanderers, was also capped over 100 times for Marconi Stallions in the ex-NSL and Sydney FC in the A-League.
- Joseph Costa, BMX rider, grew up in Innisfail. Costa is a consistent BMX competitor.
- Karl Gehringer, former Australian National Team and Commonwealth team Greco-Roman Wrestling 120 kg division 2005-2006 went to school in Innisfail 
- Billy Slater, rugby league player for the Melbourne Storm, Queensland, and Australia, grew up in Innisfail.
- Tara Strano, former Australian high jumper.
- Ty Williams, former rugby league player for the North Queensland Cowboys and Queensland grew up in Innisfail. Williams returned to Innisfail to captain/coach the Innisfail Leprechauns in 2014.
- Ben Dunk,born 1987 Australia T20 and ODI cricket player
In Popular Culture
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Innisfail (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats.
- "Walkabout - Innisfail". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Innisfail - Australian Bureau of Meteorology statistics". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Tourism and Regional Information". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Australian Bureau of Meteorology Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry Report". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "CHANGE OF NAME.". Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909-1954) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 19 August 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "History of the Innisfail Region". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Innisfail Cenotaph". Monument Australia. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "Innisfail Court House (entry 16339)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "See Poy House (entry 30372)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Canecutters Memorial (entry 16777)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Johnstone Shire Hall (entry 16340)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "St Andrew's Presbyterian Memorial Church (entry 17147)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "SRA Fact Sheet Innisfail - Australian Government". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Innisfail Pioneers - Italian History" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Cultural Diversity in the Johnstone Shire Council". Retrieved 2006-06-02.[dead link]
- "About Johnstone Shire Council". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Community Spirit - Winter 2007". Retrieved 2006-06-02.[dead link]
- "Innisfail - Google Maps". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Mt. Bartle Frere Trail". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- Linacre, Edward; Geerts, Bart (1997). Climates and Weather Explained. London: Routledge. p. 379. ISBN 0-415-12519-7.
- "Tully - Cairns Connect". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- Median Rainfall for July
- See Mean rainfall May to September for an explanation
- "Summary statistics SOUTH JOHNSTONE EXP STN (mean daily sunshine hours)". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- "List of Queensland Cyclones - Windworker Roof Renovations". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Flood Warning system for the Johnstone River". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "ABC news - Innisfail Devastated". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Australian Banana Growers Council - Cyclone Larry Report". Retrieved 2006-06-02.[dead link]
- "Sydney Morning Herald - Disaster drives big price surge". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 March 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "ABC - Sacking of JSC". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Queensland Government - Show Cause Issued". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Innisfail splashes out on $250k piano with insurance money - The Courier Mail". Retrieved 2006-06-02.[dead link]
- "News.com.au - Sacked Council gone bananas". Retrieved 2006-06-02.[dead link]
- "ABC news story - 'Ineffective Council Sacked'". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Innisfail Business booming after cyclone - ABC report". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "APIA set up in Innisfail". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Australian Tropical Fruits". Archived from the original on 4 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Innisfail tourism". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
- "Joseph Costa". Rival Racing. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
- "Geringer, Karl". International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Cairns and Cassowary Coast Australia Day winners". Curtis Pitt. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Innisfail, Queensland.|
- University of Queensland: Queensland Places: Innisfail
- Innisfail Homepage
- Detailed History of Innisfail
- Cassowary Connect Local Events Website for Innisfail