Mission Beach, Queensland
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|Population||515 (2006 census)|
|Elevation||10 m (33 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Cassowary Coast Region|
In the early 20th century Chinese banana farmers employed Aborigines as labourers in the Tully River region. Opium addiction and conflict with European settlers was resolved by the Queensland government creating an Aboriginal settlement at the present Mission Beach. Superintendent John Martin Kenny started the necessary work on 1 September 1914. There was no mission in the religious sense. The settlement had characteristics of a penal settlement.
The Mission Beach structures were destroyed in the cyclone of 10 March 1918 and were not rebuilt. Superintendent Kenny and his daughter were killed by the storm. The Aborigines were subsequently moved to Palm Island, Queensland.
The first white settlers, the Cutten brothers, came to Mission Beach area in 1882 and settled at Bingil Bay, where they farmed mangoes, bananas, pineapples, coffee, citrus fruit and coconuts. They also manufactured their own coffee. Produce was shipped south on cargo-boats. Before this the only white people to enter this area were the timber-getters who sometimes camped on the beach and retrieved timber from the adjacent rain forests. They employed local Aborigines for their assistance in their timber hauling, paying the Aboriginal labourers with tobacco and tools. The natives were generally friendly, although in 1872 the captain and some of the crew of the Maria which was wrecked at Tam O'Shanter were killed by the natives.
After the Cutten brothers, the Unsworths settled at Narragon Beach, the Garners came and settled at Garners Beach, and the Porter brothers settled at what the locals refer to as Porter's Creek (also called Wongaling Creek) at the south end of North Mission Beach.
Mission Beach Post Office opened on 15 December 1949.
Today, what were once separate villages have now grown such that they are considered one town, Mission Beach. The villages are, from south to north, South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, Mission Beach, Bingil Bay and Carmoo. Development has also begun at Brooks Beach and Garners Beach to the north.
In early October there is the evolve music festival than shows mostly local musicians and a few bands from around Australia. There is a market there that has food, clothes, jewellery, and other festival stuff.
Famous Sports Stars. Stephen Cairns, Kellie Rich.
Mission Beach is now a thriving tourist town that has been able to maintain its small town feel. One reason for this is that the town is spread out along a thin strip of land between the ocean and the hills and farmland behind. This has spread out a large tourism market, and the village doesn't feel as busy as one might expect.
The beach is flanked by green mountains rising just a short distance inland, and provides views out to the Family Islands. Close to shore at Mission Beach lies a shallow reef; during very low tides portions of this reef are exposed. The reef runs from the mouth of Porter's Creek at the south end of North Mission Beach almost to Clump Point, a popular fishing spot which is also the main departure and arrival point for the Dunk Island Ferry.
Surrounded by World Heritage rainforest on one side and the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef on the other, Mission Beach is home to many wildlife species, most notable is the cassowary. This large flightless bird can be found in the rainforest surrounding the area but appears to be thriving in spite of land clearing, traffic and predators such as wild dogs and feral pigs. Much of the area is part of the Coastal Wet Tropics Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for the conservation of lowland tropical rainforest birds.
Mission Beach is also the mainland gateway to Dunk Island, with water taxis and ferries shuttling guests and day-trippers out to the island and its resort.
Like many other small Australian towns, Mission Beach has built a monument to its most famous characteristic. The big cassowary, standing 5 metres high, can be found at the Wongaling Beach shopping complex.
On 20 March 2006, Cyclone Larry crossed the coast in between Mission Beach and Innisfail. In addition to structural damage to property, Cyclone Larry also had a tremendous impact on the rainforest and animals of the region, and it will take many years to recover. A shortage of rainforest fruit saw cassowaries seeking food in built up areas and, unfortunately, a number were hit and killed by cars.
On 3 February 2011, the eyewall of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the coast near Mission Beach. Wind gusts estimated up to 310 km/h (190 mph), leaving behind significant damage. A storm surge estimated to have reached 0.7 m (2.3 ft) destroyed several structures along the coast and pushed up to 300 m (980 ft) inland. In the hours after the storm's passage, police were unable to venture beyond their station grounds as the situation had yet to be declared safe. Most of the beach had lost its sand and all of the towns structures were damaged to some degree, with many houses completely destroyed. Near sunrise on 3 February, there were no reports of fatalities or injuries in Mission Beach.
The Mission Beach area also supports a sizeable agricultural industry, particularly the cultivation of sugar and bananas. Boutique wineries specialising in tropical fruit wines can also be found in Mission Beach and nearby Kurrimine Beach.
In Popular Culture
- In Episode 7, Season One of The Real Housewives of Melbourne, the Housewives stayed at a five-star resort in Mission Beach.
- Series 2 and 3 of Escape from Scorpion Island was filmed at Mission Beach.
- The Australian television series Sea Patrol has filmed five of its series in the waters off the Mission Beach area.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mission Beach (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Coastal Wet Tropics. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16 December 2011.
- Australian Associated Press (2 February 2011). "Yasi unleashing fury on Qld coast". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Peter Michael (3 February 2011). "Morning heralds the big clean-up". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- Petrina Berry (3 February 2011). "Damage extensive in Mission Beach". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australian Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- "Cairns region battles to save TV drama". The Cairns Post. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2011.