Saturday 19 September 2009

A quick tour of Old Smithfield township and Barron River Delta

This morning we took our camera off to see some rarely seen local history.

Here's a quick CairnsBlog tour, with local environmentalist, Terry Spackman, showing the remains of 1870's Smithfield Township and cementery, that was washed away and hundreds killed in a series of massive floods in the late 1870's.

The re-established Smithfield township was built higher and to the North of the Barron River Delta, around 20 kilometers North of Cairns. However, to this day it still causes substantial flooding problems during the annual November - April wet season.

The Barron River delta encompasses an area from Machans Beach, on the southern banks of the Barron River, north to Smithfield, some 15 kilometers from Cairns. It is a constantly changing flood plain, with many dormant river systems the spring to life when the annual wet comes.

There were some huge floods throughout the last couple of centuries, and a number in the late 1970s.

The extensive sand mining operations that Terry shows you, is cause for serious concern. Cairns Regional Council is being asked to approve more excavations on the adjoining land, that includes the land that housed the old Smithfield township in the 1870's.

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