Historical Towns Directory

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 Ingham

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Henry Stone's Vale of Herbert Station near Abergowrie was the first established in the area around current-day Ingham, which had been explored by George Dalrymple in the 1850s.

The Gairloch Mill processed the district's first sugarcane in 1872. Two more mills were soon established to cater for the industry which was to prove integral to the growth of Ingham.

One of the region's early sugar pioneers was William Bairstow Ingham, who arrived in the area in 1873. His 'Ings Plantation' was planted with cane using South Sea Islander workers and Ingham soon set about constructing a mill. Ingham was also known to engage in crocodile hunting in his spare time and by the time he left his property in 1876 he had gained the admiration of his peers, who, when the town was surveyed, petitioned to name it in his honour. Ingham's adventurous spirit led him to New Guinea, where he was killed by cannibalistic natives in 1878.

In 1875 the Telegraph Hotel was built as the first permanent building at the townsite. It was replaced by the double-storey Day Dawn Hotel by 1885. Lee's Hotel, which opened in 1960, now stands on the site. It is claimed that the poem 'A Pub With No Beer', which was later adapted and made famous when sung by Slim Dusty, was written about this hotel during WWII when American servicemen drunk the hotel dry while celebrating victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942. It is not, however, the only drinking establishment in Australia that claims the title of the original 'pub with no beer'.

The first town allotments in Ingham were sold in 1879 and the next year the Colonial Sugar Refinery Co (CSR) began to acquire interests in the district. The Macknade Mill (established 1874) was purchased by CSR in 1897 and has been extensively upgraded and expanded since that time. It is today Australia's oldest sugar mill still operating on its original site.

The Victoria Sugar Mill, which commenced operating in 1883, has since grown to be one of the Southern Hemisphere's largest sugar mills and is the largest in Australia.

The old shire hall was constructed in 1883 and was destroyed by fire in May 1916. A new double-storey building was built at a different site in 1919. The present shire hall opened in 1963.

In 1891 the first Italian migrants arrived to begin working on the local cane fields. Sponsored immigration of their family and friends occurred until WWI and then again from 1920 to 1939. Today more than half of Ingham's population are of Italian descent.

The Italian presence in the area can be seen in the 'new' Ingham cemetery, where southern-European-style family mausoleums have been constructed since 1952. The first recorded burial at the 'old' cemetery was in 1888. The Sacred Heart Monument here stands over the graves of some of the 25 people who died during severe flooding in 1927.

Ingham, Queensland - Station Hotel. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

The sugar town of Ingham, 109 kilometres north of Townsville, is today the Hinchinbrook Shire's commercial and administrative centre.

Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Centre
Information: Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8.45am to 5pm; and weekends and public holidays from 9am to 2pm.
Phone: 07 4776 5211
Fax: 07 4776 3039
Address:

21 Lannercost Street
Ingham QLD

Postal Address:

PO Box 366
Ingham QLD 4850

Email: ceo@hinchinbrook.qld.gov.au
Website: http://www.hinchinbrooknq.com.au
   
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