|Port Douglas is a town in Far North Queensland,
Australia, approximately 70 km (40 mi) north of Cairns. Its permanent
population was 3,205 at the time of the 2011 census. The town's
population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during
the peak tourism season May–September. The town is named in honour of
former Premier of Queensland, John Douglas. Port Douglas developed
quickly based on the mining industry. Other parts of the area were
established with timber cutting occurring in the area surrounding the
Daintree River and with settlement starting to occur on lots around the
Mossman River by 1880.
Previous names for the town included
Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen and Salisbury. The town is situated
adjacent to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the
Port Douglas was No. 3 on Australian
Traveller magazine's list of 100 Best Towns In Australia.
town is within the Federal electorate of Leichhardt, and within the
State electorate of Cook. At local level, It is within the local
government area of Shire of Douglas (between 2008 and 2013, it was
within the Cairns Region).
The Port Douglas township was
established in 1877 after the discovery of gold at Hodgkinson River by
James Venture Mulligan. Port Douglas Post Office opened on 1 September
1877. It grew quickly, and at its peak Port Douglas had a population of
12,000 and 27 hotels. With the construction of the Mulligan Highway it
serviced towns as far away as Herberton.
When the Kuranda Railway
from Cairns to Kuranda was completed in 1891, the importance of Port
Douglas dwindled along with its population. A cyclone in 1911 which
demolished all but two buildings in the town also had a significant
impact. At its nadir in 1960 the town, by then little more than a
fishing village, had a population of 100.
In the late-1980s,
tourism boomed in the region after investor Christopher Skase financed
the construction of the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort.