Mossman, Queensland

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Captain Cook Highway, Mossman, 2015.JPG
Mossman is located in Queensland
Coordinates16°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
Population1,937 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation4 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 2016 census, Mossman had a population of 1,937 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 Central Sugar Mill commenced crushing on 23 August 1897.[6]

Mossman River Post Office opened by 1895 (a receiving office had been open from 1883) and was renamed Mossman in 1899.[7]

Mossman River State School opened on 31 January 1898 under head teacher Thomas Garland, it was renamed Mossman State School in 1910. A secondary department was opened on 1 February 1955, which operated until a separate Mossman State High School opened on 30 January 1973.[8][9]

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.[10] 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 that fell near a house and injured a child.[11]

Mossman State High School opened on 30 January 1973.[12][13]

Mossman Library opened in 1977.[14]

The Mossman Central Mill[edit]

Mossman Central Mill Company Limited started life as a grower owned co-operative sugar mill back in 1894. On 23 August 1897, the sugarcane from Bonnie Doon was the first to be crushed at the Mossman Sugar Mill.[6] Mrs Annie Rose fed the first sugarcane into the mill, with the mill producing its first sugar after crushing 27,905 tonnes of cane for the initial season.

In 1906, Mossman Mill became the first Queensland mill to crush over 100,000 tonnes of cane; that season lasted just under 8 months, extending from June 1906 to late January 1907.

Initially, sugar was shipped from Port Douglas, however road transport eventually came to the forefront and became the preferred mode of transport for sugar to the bulk sugar terminal in Cairns.

Louis John Frederick Prince (General Manager) pioneered the use of computers for cane payment accounting and, in 1971, Mossman purchased the first process control computer used in the world sugar industry.[15]


Mossman State School is a government primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 30-34 Front Street (16°27′42″S 145°22′27″E / 16.4617°S 145.3743°E / -16.4617; 145.3743 (Mossman State School)).[16][17] In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 213 students with 16 teachers (13 full-time equivalent) and 22 non-teaching staff (13 full-time equivalent).[18]

Mossman State High School is a government secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at 46-62 Front Street (16°27′48″S 145°22′25″E / 16.4634°S 145.3735°E / -16.4634; 145.3735 (Mossman State High School)).[16][19] In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 611 students with 62 teachers (56 full-time equivalent) and 41 non-teaching staff (31 full-time equivalent),[18] it includes a special education program.[20]

St Augustine's School is a Catholic primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at Grogan Street (16°27′42″S 145°22′08″E / 16.4617°S 145.3688°E / -16.4617; 145.3688 (St Augustine's School)).[16][21] In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 217 students with 16 teachers (14 full-time equivalent) and 13 non-teaching staff (6 full-time equivalent).[18]

Community facilities[edit]

Douglas Shire Council operates Mossman Library at 14 Mill Street, Mossman.[22]

The Mossman branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at 28 Front Street.[23]


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. A young 9 year old Jermaine Ryan broke the world record for the fastest 9 year old 100m track and field in 2016. Jove Thompson an 11-year who has broken the world record for catching the worlds biggest jungle perch and also the fastest time for a 100m, 200m and 800m track and field time. Jermaine's time of 100m was 14.59 seconds and Jove's time for the 100m was 12.62 seconds, 200m 21.47 seconds and 800m 1.54 minutes.

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.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Mossman (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 September 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  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. ^ a b "Brief History Of Mossman, Far North Queensland". Douglas Shire Historical Society. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  7. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Agency ID5516, Mossman State School". Queensland State Archives.
  9. ^ Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
  10. ^ The Cane Tramways of Mossman Singleton, C.C. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March 1956 pp25-32
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Mossman SHS". Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Public Libraries Statistical Bulletin 2016-17" (PDF). Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. November 2017. p. 12. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b c "State and non-state school details". Queensland Government. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Mossman State School". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  18. ^ a b c "ACARA School Profile 2017". Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Mossman State High School". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Mossman SHS - Special Education Program". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  21. ^ "St Augustine's School". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Mossman Library". Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Branch Locations". Queensland Country Women's Association. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Mossman District Hospital (entry 602713)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Daintree Inn/Former Exchange Hotel (entry 602803)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  26. ^ "St David's Anglican Church and Raintrees (Samanea saman) (entry 602760)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Mossman Shire Hall and Douglas Shire Council Chambers (former) (entry 602758)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  28. ^ "National Bank of Australasia Building (former) (entry 601542)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  29. ^ 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