Mossman, Queensland

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Captain Cook Highway, Mossman, 2015.JPG
Mossman is located in Queensland
Coordinates 16°27′37″S 145°22′24″E / 16.46028°S 145.37333°E / -16.46028; 145.37333Coordinates: 16°27′37″S 145°22′24″E / 16.46028°S 145.37333°E / -16.46028; 145.37333
Population 1,721 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 4873
Elevation 4 m (13 ft)
LGA(s) Shire of Douglas
State electorate(s) Cook
Federal Division(s) Leichhardt
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
27.9 °C
82 °F
20.6 °C
69 °F
2,013.2 mm
79.3 in
Localities around Mossman:
Syndicate Miallo Newell
Finlayvale Mossman Bonnie Doon
Mossman Gorge Shannonvale Shannonvale

Mossman is a town and a locality in Far North Queensland, Australia, on the Mossman River.[2][3] It is within the local government area of Shire of Douglas (between 2008 and 2013, it was within the Cairns Region). In the 2011 census, Mossman had a population of 1,732 people.[1]


Mossman is located on the Captain Cook Highway 75 kilometres (47 mi) north of the regional city of Cairns, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of the Mount Carbine Tableland. Mossman Gorge, a popular attraction within Daintree National Park, is located west of town. Sugar cane farming is an important aspect of the local economy, with Mossman Central Mill, the only sugar mill in the district, processing the cane before sending it to Cairns for shipping domestically and internationally.

Mosman Trams


The district was originally known as Mossman River after the river which flows through it. The Mossman River, in turn, was named by the explorer George Dalrymple on 6 December 1873 after Hugh Mosman who discovered gold in Charters Towers. Dalrymple wrote "I named this river the Mossman River, after Mossman, an explorer and mining man, member of a very prominent mining family". The town was also known for a brief time as Hartsville after Daniel Hart, an early settler. Later the name was simplified to Mossman.[4][5]

Mossman River Post Office opened by 1895 (a receiving office had been open from 1883) and was renamed Mossman in 1899.[6]

Mossman State School opened in January 1898 under head teacher Thomas Garland.[7]

The establishment and subsequent growth of Cairns and the completion of the Cairns Railway up through the Barron Gorge in 1891, gave a more direct gateway to the hinterland but, at this period, it was found that the Mossman district contained suitable land for sugar-growing. The establishment of the sugar mill at Mossman formed the nucleus of the town, which grew at the expense of Port Douglas.

The district was served by two separate 2-foot (610 mm) gauge tramway systems.[8] Both at one time handled passengers and general goods, as well as sugar cane. Mossman district owes its present prosperity to these tramways which pioneered the first reasonable transport in the neighbourhood, for trafficable roads followed later.

During World War II, Mossman was attacked in a Japanese air raid on 31 July 1942. A single flying boat dropped a bomb fell near a house and injured a child.[9]


Mossman has six primary schools:

  • Saint Augustine's Primary School
  • Mossman State Primary School
  • Port Douglas State Primary School
  • Miallo State Primary School
  • Alexandra Bay State Primary School
  • Julatten State Primary School

in its district and only one high school, Mossman State High School.


Prior to 2008, Mossman was the seat of the Shire of Douglas. In 2008, the Shire of Douglas was amalgamated into the Cairns Region, which was administered from both Cairns and Mossman. In 2014, the Shire of Douglas was de-amalgamated from Cairns Region and reinstated as Shire of Douglas.


Mossman is rich in sporting clubs such as the Mossman Sharks rugby league club, Coral Coast Judo Club, Douglas United Dragons Football (Soccer) Club, A Basketball League run out of the high school Indoor Sport Centre, and the Port Douglas Crocs AFL club, Mossman Gymnastics, Port Douglas and Mossman Rugby Union club, Lady Dragons Indigenous Rugby League Football Club and much, much more.

Heritage listings[edit]

The heritage protected Exchange Hotel (left) in 1940

Mossman has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Past population[edit]

At the 2006 census, Mossman had a population of 1,740.[15]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Mossman (SSC)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mossman (town) (entry 22939)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mossman (locality) (entry 45604)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Hodes, Jeremy. "Far North Queensland Place names mo – my". Queensland History. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "NOMENCLATURE OF QUEENSLAND.—200.". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane: National Library of Australia). 21 May 1936. p. 14. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Agency ID5516, Mossman State School". Queensland State Archives. 
  8. ^ The Cane Tramways of Mossman Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March 1956 pp25-32
  9. ^ Gillison, Douglas (1962). History of Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 3 – Air. Volume I – Royal Australian Air Force, 1939–1942. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. p. 563. 
  10. ^ "Mossman District Hospital (entry 602713)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Daintree Inn/Former Exchange Hotel (entry 602803)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "St David's Anglican Church and Raintrees (Samanea saman) (entry 602760)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Mossman Shire Hall and Douglas Shire Council Chambers (former) (entry 602758)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "National Bank of Australasia Building (former) (entry 601542)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  15. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mossman (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Mossman, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons