Yolotravellog Australie – Paronella Park

DAG 170; EEN SPANJAARD MET EEN DROOM EN TWEE ZATTE LIMBURGERS

8 mei 2017 – KurandaAustralië

Vandaag vertrekken we in de regen vanuit mission beach richting Kuranda. Tussendoor maken we een tussenstop op een bijzondere mooie plek met een leuk verhaal. Wanneer we aankomen blijkt de entree nogal hoog te zijn dus besluiten we om maar gewoon van buitenaf te kijken. Wanneeer ik naar de baliemedewerkster loop om te vragen of ik een folder kan krijgen zodat de kids het toch nog een beetje kunnen zien krijgt ze medelijden met ons en geeft ons meer dan de helf korting zodat we toch naar binnen kunnen.  Het is een waanzinnig mooi park en zeker een bezoek waard. Bij deze het verhaal.

History of Paronella Park

José Paronella arrived in Australia from Catalonia in Spain, in 1913. For the next 11 years he worked, cutting sugar cane initially, then purchasing, improving, and reselling cane farms. In 1924 he returned to Spain and married Margarita in 1925. The trip back to Australia was their honeymoon.

José first saw this 13 acres of virgin scrub along Mena Creek in 1914. He eventually purchased it in 1929 for £120 and started to build his pleasure gardens and reception centre for the enjoyment of the public.
The earliest structure, the Grand Staircase, was built to facilitate the carrying of the river sand to make the concrete. First they built a house to live in, then they started on the Castle itself. Apart from the house, which is made of stone, all of the structures were constructed of poured, reinforced concrete, the reinforcing being old railway track. The concrete was covered with a plaster made from clay and cement, which they put on by hand, leaving behind the prints of their fingers as a reminder of the work they had done. They laboured with unswerving determination, until, in 1935, the Park was officially opened to the public. The Theatre showed movies every Saturday night. In addition, with canvas chairs removed, the Hall was a favourite venue for dances and parties.

A unique feature was the myriad reflector, a great ball covered with 1270 tiny mirrors, suspended from the ceiling. With spotlights of pink and blue shining on the reflector from the corners of the hall, it was rotated slowly, producing a coloured snowflake effect around the walls, floor and ceiling. During the mid-sixties the Theatre ceased to be, and the Hall became devoted to functions, particularly Weddings.

Above the Refreshment Rooms was the projection room, and up another flight of stairs was the Paronella Museum. This housed collections of coins, pistols, dolls, samples of North Queensland timbers and other items of interest. Originally, food service was from the lower Refreshment Rooms downstairs.

The concrete slab tables forming the lower Tea Gardens and the swimming pool both proved extremely popular, as they still do today. The avenues and paths were well laid out with the familiar shaped planters which are still to be seen wherever you go in the Park. Two tennis courts were behind the Refreshment Rooms, with a children’s playground, The Meadow, situated near the creek.
Upwards of 7000 trees were planted by José. These included the magnificent Kauris lining Kauri Avenue. A Tunnel was excavated through a small hill. Above its entrances are the delightful stonework balconies. Walking through here brings you to spring fed Teresa Falls, named for his daughter.

The creek is lined with rocks and traversed by small bridges. Some parts have cascades built out of rocks, so the sound of water is always there. The Hydro Electric generating plant, commissioned in 1933, was the earliest in North Queensland, and supplied power to the entire Park.

In 1946, disaster struck. Upstream from the Park a patch of scrub had been cleared and the logs and branches pushed into the creek. When the first rains of the Wet Season came, the whole mass began to move downstream until it piled up against a railway bridge a few hundred metres from the Castle. Water backed up until the weight broke the bridge, and the entire mass descended on the Park. The downstairs Refreshment Rooms were all but destroyed, the Hydro was extensively damaged, as was the Theatre and Foyer.

Undaunted, the family began the task of rebuilding. The Refreshment Rooms downstairs were beyond repair, so this service was moved upstairs, and only the structure of the building recreated. In addition, José built the fountain. The Castle was repaired, the gardens replanted, and the Park was alive again.

In 1948, José died of cancer, leaving Margarita, daughter Teresa, and son Joe, to carry on. In time, Teresa married and eventually moved to Brisbane with her husband. Joe married Val in 1952, and they had two sons, Joe (José) and Kerry. Renovations and maintenance meant there was always plenty of work, and the floods of 1967, ’72 and ’74 further added to the load. In 1967 Margarita died, and in 1972, Joe died, leaving Val and the two boys to continue the hard working tradition and keep the dreams alive.

The Park was sold out of the family in 1977 and sadly, in 1979, a fire swept through the Castle. For a time, the Park was closed to the public. Cyclone Winifred in 1986, a flood in January 1994, Cyclone Larry in March 2006, and Cyclone Yasi in January 2011 were all further setbacks and challenges for Paronella Park.

Mark and Judy Evans, the current owner/operators, purchased the Park in 1993 and formulated a plan to put the Park back on the map. They see the Park as a work of art, and work on maintaining and preserving, rather than rebuilding. Small restoration projects have been undertaken, pathways uncovered and improved, and the Museum, an ongoing project, is continuously being enhanced.

In November 2009, the ambitious project to restore Paronella Park’s original (1930s era) hydro electric system was completed. At a cost of $450,000, the system once again provides all of the Park’s electricity requirements. This work, and other environmentally focused initiatives culminated in Paronella Park being awarded Eco Australia’s GECKO award for Ecotourism in 2011. Paronella Park’s life as a pleasure gardens continues as José intended, for visitors, and with social gatherings, particularly weddings, continuing to make use of this unique location.

Mark and Judy Evans, the current owner/operators, trust your virtual visit has been enjoyable and memorable and look forward to seeing you in person when you visit the Park.

Paronella Park – The Dream Continues…
The Park has been recognised by multiple Regional and State Tourism Awards from 1998 onwards.

End of story.

De kids vonden het leuk en vooral de vissen, alen en schildpadden voeren was erg leuk. Zo nu snel verder rijden naar Kuranda. Het is een super mooie rit door de tablelands en je komt door kleine dorpjes etc. Kuranda ligt op 500 meter hoogte net buiten cairns en achijnt heel mooi te zijn. Wanneer we op de camping aankomen proef je al direct de gemoedelijke sfeer. Het is helaas te laat om het dorp te verkennen maar dat komt morgen wel weer. We komen ook voor het eerst wat nederlandsrs tegen en zelfs een limburger. Hay staat tegenover ons geparkeerd en komt uit geleen maar woont inmiddels al vele jaren in zwitserland. We hebben gelijk een connectie door onze passie voor muziek etc en we raken niet uitgepraat. We kletsen noch tot in de vroege uurtjes en er gaan aardig wat flessen wijn op. Het mooiste is dat hij vroeger fortuna fannwas en hij begint over vroeger en de kwartfinale europacup fortuna tegen everton en ik zeg tegen hemmdat mijn vader toen meespeelde. Hij vind het geweldig en we praten zo echt uren door over vanalles en nog wat. Een top avond met top mensen. Wat is dit toch heerlijk om zo mensen te ontmoeten aan de andere kant van de wereld. De kids hebben zich ook kostelijk vermaakt vandaag aan het grote kampvuur dat we gemaakt hebben en vinden de camping geweldig. Er is zelfs een zwembad bij en dat Midden in de jungle. Ben erg benieuwd naar het dorpje morgen maar nu eerlijk gezegd te zat om daar over na te denken hahaha

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