A short Innisfail History
A ship carrying gold miners from Sydney to New Guinea was wrecked in 1872 on Bramble Reef, north of Cardwell.
The rescue party conducted a preliminary survey of what is now known as the Johnstone River during their search for survivors. Records of this early survey prompted exploration of the region and in 1873 the Johnstone River was discovered.
The first European settlement in the region was established in 1880 by Thomas Henry Fitzgerald, a sugar cane farmer who settled on river frontage land, in the vicinity of the present town. The district developed as a sugar producing region and the town was initially named Geraldton after the first settler.
In 1910, the Government renamed the town Innisfail, after ships travelling to Geraldton in Western Australia regularly arrived in North Queensland by mistake.
Innisfail was named after Fitzgerald’s plantation, and is an old romantic name for Ireland meaning “Isle of Destiny”.