Spanish immigrant, Jose Paronella, came to North Queensland in 1913 to work as a cane-cutter. In 1924 he returned to Spain, married Margarita and brought her back to see the piece of tropical scrub that he was intent on buying. His dream was to build a castle within a beautiful garden open to the public. In 1929 they bought the land at Mena Creek and started to build the castle using poured, reinforced concrete covered with plaster showing their hand prints. Their park opened for visitors in 1935 but Jose had not finished creating his dream. The huge mirror ball in the dance hall was a popular feature and other additions were: tennis courts, refreshment rooms, a museum, a children’s playground, a tunnel, balconies, bridges, a hydro-electric generating plant, waterfalls and cascades. (more…)
Armistice Day Essay Competition for Queensland students: To commemorate this year’s Armistice Day the Royal Historical Society of Queensland invites year 5 and 6 students – or younger if their teacher recommends them – to tell us in 150 words or less what peace means to them. Entries must be submitted by the 15th November 2018.
Eidsvold explored by Thomas Archer whose Nordic family soon settled there and built the first homestead in 1850. This family later sold out to the Ivory brothers, two Scots, who built the first golf course in Queensland on Eidsvold station. Later still the station was sold to the Joyce family who lived through a period of gold diggings in the Eidsvold area then developed a famous cattle station.
Importing Santa Gertrudis from Texas they found that the five eights Shorthorn and three eights Brahmin blood were ideally suited to this part of Queensland.
Ravenswood in Queensland is an old gold mining town which was heritage listed in the 1980s by both the Australian Heritage Commission and the National Trust of Queensland. Of all the many grand hotels Browne’s Ravenswood Hotel was, in 1896, the ‘most prominent hostelry’ of all. Sadly this hotel has not survived but we have a photograph in our collection which shows the decorative architecture favoured when the diggings were at their peak and enriching the populace of nearly 5,000.
In the 1960s the population dropped to 70, but artists began to visit, trying to capture the atmosphere of the ghost town.
Kenneth Jack (1924-2006) was one of the most successful who painted ‘Railway Hotel Ravenswood’ and depicted the wide dusty street vanishing in the distance with a dog lying in the middle of the deserted landscape with the abandoned hotels either side of the street.
Today only the ‘Imperial Hotel’ has kept going; lovingly maintained by generations of the Delaney family up to 1994 and recently redecorated by new owners who attract the many tourists fascinated by the glory days of gold.
From the Archives : blog entries by RHSQ’s Library and Research team.