Far North Queensland

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Far North Queensland
Queensland far north map.PNG
Map of Far North Queensland
Population 275,058 (2010 est.)[1]
 • Density 1.0069940/km2 (2.608103/sq mi)
Area 273,147.6 km2 (105,462.9 sq mi)
LGA(s) Aurukun, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Cook, Croydon, Etheridge, Hopevale, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Napranum, Northern Peninsula Area, Pormpuraaw, Tablelands, Torres, Torres Strait Island, Weipa, Wujal Wujal, Yarrabah
State electorate(s) Electoral district of Cook, Electoral district of Cairns, Electoral district of Barron River, Electoral district of Mulgrave
Federal Division(s) Division of Kennedy, Division of Leichhardt

Far North Queensland, or FNQ, is the northernmost part of the state of Queensland, Australia. The region, which contains a large section of the Tropical North Queensland area, stretches from the city of Cairns north to the Torres Strait. To the west lies the Gulf Country and North Queensland is the region to the south.

The region has more than 70 national parks. It supports a significant agricultural sector and has a number of significant mines. Queensland's two highest peaks, Mount Bartle Frere and Mount Bellenden Ker, are located in Far North Queensland. Far North Queensland is home to Queensland's first and largest wind farm called Windy Hill Wind Farm.


Various Government Departments and agencies have different definitions for the region. The Queensland Government Planning Department's Population Growth - The Far North Queensland Region 2005 document defines the region as an area comprising the Cairns Region, Tablelands Region and two Aboriginal Councils (Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah).[2] The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines the region as containing most of Cape York Peninsula (excluding the south western quarter, half way up the Gulf of Carpentaria coast) and the Torres Strait Islands and extending as far south as Hinchinbrook Island and the town of Cardwell, but excluding the city of Townsville. This larger definition is also used by other State Government agencies[3][4][5][6] and also encompasses the local government areas of Aurukun, Cook, Croydon, Etheridge, and Lockhart River, as well as the Northern Peninsula Area Region and Torres Strait Island Region. It has a total area of 273,147.6 km².[1]


The main population and administrative centre of the region is Cairns. Other key population centres include Cooktown, the Atherton Tableland, Weipa, Innisfail and the Torres Strait Islands. The region also consists of many Aboriginal and farming groups. The Bruce Highway links southern coastal parts of the region with the rest of the state. In the south of the Atherton Tableland the Palmerston Highway connects the tablelands to the Innisfail area.


Significant industries include tourism, cattle grazing, agriculture and mining of both sand and bauxite. Agricultural products generate between $600 and $700 million a year.[7] Sugar cane, tropical fruits including bananas, mangoes, papaya, lychees and coffee are grown in Far North Queensland.

Over the past few years, Far North Queensland has become increasingly known for its artistic and creative offerings, with experimental and contemporary projects happening through the work of The Upholstery, Merchants of Fine Objects, Cupcake Studio, KickArts, On Edge Festival, New Move Dance Network, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, and Cairns Festival. As the major urban centre in Far North Queensland, Cairns is home to cultural influences from Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait Islands, to inland communities and the Gulf of Carpentaria and South Pacific islands. Active arts organisation include End Credits Film Club, Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns Civic Theatre, UMI Arts, JUTE Theatre, Centre of Contemporary Arts, Rondo Theatre, The Clink Theatre, Reggaetown, and Cairns Regional Gallery.

The region is home to the world's biggest silica mine at Cape Flattery.[8] The mine was established in 1967 and was severely damaged by Cyclone Ita in 2014. Rio Tinto Alcan operates a bauxite mine on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula near Weipa which contains one of the largest bauxite deposits in the world.[9]


The region supports a large tourism industry and is considered a premier tourist destination in Australia.[10] Nearly one third of international visitors to the state come to the region.[10] Attractions include the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and other Queensland tropical rain forests within the Wet Tropics of Queensland heritage area, the Atherton Tableland, Hinchinbrook Island and other resort islands such as Dunk Island and Green Island. Major attractions around and in Cairns include The Reef Hotel Casino, Kuranda Scenic Railway, Barron Falls and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Towns and localities attracting large numbers of tourists include Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas, Mission Beach and Cardwell.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates the region's population at 275,058 in 2010.[1] The region contains 25.6% of the state's Indigenous population, or 28,909 people, making up 11.8% of the region's population.[11]


Far North Queensland is the location of the first amber fossils to be found in Australia. The four-million-year-old fossils were found on a beach in Cape York Peninsula but were probably washed ashore after drifting with the currents for about 200 km.[12] In the 1860s, Richard Daintree discovered gold and copper deposits along several rivers which led early prospectors to the area.[13]


South Sea Islander workers on the Lower Herbert around 1890

The region suffered Queensland's worst maritime disaster on 4 March 1899 when the Mahina Cyclone destroyed all 100 ships moored in Princess Charlotte Bay. The entire North Queensland pearling fleet was in the bay at the time of the cyclone. Approximately 100 Aboriginals assisting survivors and 307 men from the pearling fleet were drowned.[14] Its pressure was measured at 914 hPa with a recorded tidal surge of 13 m, the highest ever in Australia.[15] Cyclone Mackay hit the Queensland coast in 1918, killing 30 people.[16]

In March 1997, Cyclone Justin resulted in the deaths of seven people. In early 2000, Cyclone Steve caused major flooding between Cairns and Mareeba. Cyclone Larry crossed the Queensland coast near Innisfail in March 2006. The storm resulted in an estimated $1.5 billion worth of damage and damaged 10,000 homes.[16] 80% of Australia's banana crop was destroyed. Cyclone Monica was the most intense cyclone on record in terms of wind speed to cross the Australian coast. It impacted the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland in April 2006. In January 2011, Cyclone Yasi passed over Tully and resulted in an estimated $3.6 billion worth of damage, making it the costliest cyclone ever to hit Australia.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c National Regional Profile: Far North (Statistical Division). Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved on 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ Population Growth - Far North Queensland Region. Department of Local Government and Planning. 2004. p4.
  3. ^ Queensland police Far Northern region.
  4. ^ Department of Education map
  5. ^ Queensland State Library map
  6. ^ Queensland Fire and Rescue map.
  7. ^ Sam Davis (2 August 2012). "Queensland roads holding back nation's fresh fruit". ABC Far North Queensland (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Tony Moore (14 April 2014). "'World's biggest' silica mine damaged by Cyclone Ita". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bauxite and aluminia operations". Operations & financial report. Rio Tinto Alcan. 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "The economic and social impacts of tourism in the Far North Queensland planning region" (PDF). Planning Information and Forecasting Unit. Queensland Government. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Office of economic and statistical research
  12. ^ Anna Salleh (29 November 2006). "Amber fossils a first for Australia". ABC Science Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Daintree, Richard (1832–1878)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Shilton, Peter (2005). Natural areas of Queensland. Mount Gravatt, Queensland: Goldpress. pp. 16, 17, 29, 32. ISBN 0-9758275-0-2. 
  15. ^ Jonathan Nott & Matthew Hayne (2000). "How high was the storm surge from Tropical Cyclone Mahina?" (PDF). Australian Emergency Management. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Marina Kamenev (2 February 2011). "Australia's worst cyclones: timeline". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 

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