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Kuranda Skyrail & Scenic Railway - Far North QLD

Skyrail is a 7.5km cableway, gliding meters above the rainforest canopy in the Barron Gorge National Park, near Cairns.

Barron Gorge national Park
Australia's World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests are comprised of several National Parks and state Forests, with some freehold land content. Skyrail operates in the Barron Gorge National Park, which was established in 1940.
Below is a video of the journey up the gorge

Comprising 2,820 hectares, the Barron Gorge National Park is considered one of Queensland's most picturesque parks.
It contains rugged coastal mountains, step ravines, right wildlife and the rainforest's most visited site, the Barron Falls.
The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is one of the oldest continually surviving Tropical Rainforests on earth - who would have thought that it's ion Australia!
Fossil pollen records indicate that closed forest used to cover the entire Australian continent some 50 to 100 million years ago, when it was still part of the super-continent land mass known as Gondwana.
Today, due to climate change and human impact, they occupy a small coastal strip along Queensland's north-eastern coastline between Cooktown and Townsville, accounting for approximately 900,000 hectares, representing about 0.26% of Australia's total land mass.

What makes a Tropical Rainforest?
Rain - Tropical Rainforests exist where at least 1,300mm of rain falls each year, being distributed throughout the year. Australia's world Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests receive up to 4,000mm of rain annually, the majority of which falls between December and March.
Sunlight - Tropical Rainforests need a warm and humid climate. Most sunlight is filtered by the rainforest trees, providing natural shade to the forest floor.
Ulysses Butterfly
Closed Canopy - Tropical Rainforests have a high diversity of plant life; many of which are tall tress growing towards the sunlight. The leaves of these trees absorb sunlight and act to block this light from the forest floor, creating what is known as a closed canopy.

Barron Falls
The falls were named for Thomas Henry Bowman Barron, the Chief Clerk of Police in Brisbane in the 1860s
The falls were one of the most popular tourist attractions in Queensland by the 1890s. Visitors are drawn to the natural features and scenery

Barron Falls Hydro-Electricity Station
The original Station (1936-1963) was built under Skyrail's Carron Falls station near the base of the gorge. A tramline, with a 2ft gauge, running to the bottom of the Gorge was used to transport workers and materials down the steep embankment to the power station.
A haulage trolley was used to transport materials and equipment down the tramline. The load was lowered by a diesel engine and an air compressor.
Flying Fox
During the Life of the power station a flying fox was utilised to carry men and materials across Barron Falls. The flying fox was introduced after three footbridges, spanning over the top of the falls, were washed away during floods.

Personnel Trolley
The trolley was capable of seating, without restraint, up to six people. Passengers would travel up and down the steep gorge embankment to gain access to the power station.
To commence an ascent the trolley passengers would ring a bell by depressing a button located under the trampoline. The sounding of the bell would be heard by the trolley driver, located at the top of the embankment, and the passengers would be winched up the side of the gorge.
The trolley driver would activate the trolley's ascent by releasing the foot brake and an air compressor would slowly pull-up the trolley with it passengers.

Kuranda hotel
Kuranda is well known as the Village in the Rainforest and has been attracting visitors for well over a century. Initially people came to admire the mighty Barron Falls, while artisans were attracted to the region's natural beauty and decided to call it home, creating a vibrant arts and craft culture.
with plenty of market stalls
Today people flock to this tiny village to enjoy both of these things, the stunning natural beauty and the relaxed atmosphere of the local markets, selling unique souvenirs and gift items.
Kuranda is widely known as the 'village in the rainforest' but it is probably more accurate to call is a village being reclaimed by the rainforest. In the early 19th Century much of the forest around Kuranda was cleared. Logs with girths of up to 2.4m diameter were railed to Cairns sawmills.
and sculptures
Kuranda has a network of six interlinked walks that provide access through the village and its surrounding environment including Barron Gorge National Park.

Jurum Creek Conservation Park - is a walk through the rainforest.
It is mostly regrowth rainforest, there are very few old growth trees.

The Jungle Walk - passes through a regenerating forest.

The River Walk - a pleasant riverside stroll down a tree shaded esplanade

Whilst walking alongside the river, I stopped to investigate the jetty.
I was soon be-friend by the local Aboriginal children.
They were very keen to help me take some photos, and between them took all of the below photos
Then, one of the girls wanted to read a story to me...
here is the video

I was so touched, and it was a highlight of my day!

Heading back down the mountain, I took a different route
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Construction of the Cairns-Kuranda Railway was, and still is, an engineering feat of tremendous magnitude.
This enthralling chapter in the history of North Queensland stands as testimony to the splendid ambitions, fortitude and suffering of the hundreds of men engaged in its construction. It also stands as a monument to the many men who lost their lives on this amazing project.
In 1873 the cry of 'gold' echoed through the mountains. Primitive supply routes from the coast to the swelling gold fields were slow and perilous. In 1882 a devastating wet season brought misery to the blossoming townships. supply routers were impassable and thousands of people came close to starvation. A reliable supply route had to be found.
Legendary bushman Christie Pamerston was tasked to find a route for a railway to link the rich mining belt to the sea. IN 1887 construction commenced on one of the most ambitious railway projects ever undertaken.
The 1720 locomotives built between 1966 and 1970 by Commonwealth Engineering Rocklea, Brisbane under contract from the Clyde Engineering Company were introduced to eliminate the remaining steam locomotives from Brisbane suburban services.
They found their way to the rural branch lines when displaced from Brisbane duties after the system was electrified in the late 1970s.

Today the dedicated Kuranda Scenic Railway 1720 class are adorned in the colourful Buda Dji colours.
The painting, created by local Aboriginal artist George Riley, portrays the legend of Buda-Dji the Carpet Snake.

Buda-dji is the Carpet Snake who, in the Aboriginal people's dreamtime legend, carved out the Barron River and the creeks that join onto it, from the coast to the Tablelands.
The Carriages date back to the early 1900s, the earliest being BL520 built in July 1909.
Each carriage is made from Silky Oak timber, but today more sustainable timbers are used in their upkeep.
There are up to 16 heritage coaches.
and at times they get quite close to the waterfalls!

The Track
The Kuranda Scenic Railway travels on a narrow gauge which measures 1067mm. Before 1901, each of the six British colonies was responsible fro rail transport infrastructure. Queensland, Western Australia & Tasmania constructed narrow gauge railways. The other colonies built standard gauge or broad gauge railways. As a result of this legacy, Australian railways are a mix of all three gauges.
The Kuranda track is a National Engineering Landmark and tribute to all those who laboured in its construction.
The Kuranda Stations' Heritage listed Signal Cabin building and 37 lever frame, is only one of 9 in Queensland which is operational.
Labour - 1,500 men (majority Irish & Italian)
Distance - Cairns - Kuranda 37km or track
Ascent - 327m above sea level
Engineering & Each works - Removal of 2.3million cubic metres of earth, 106 cutting,
15 hand carved tunnels (1,746m in length),
55 bridges (244m of steel spans and 1,894m of timber bridges, 98 curves

Kuranda Station
The picturesque Kuranda Station was constructed in 1915 and is Heritage Listed.
Once nicknamed the 'Honeymoon Station' in the 1800s as a romantic destination for day trippers, it is surrounded by tropical gardens.

Freshwater Station
Competed in 1984 in the turn of the century style.

'Red' Lynch's Cottage
This cottage was the home of 'Red' Lynch, the fiery Irish foreman who organised the labour during the construction of the Kuranda Railway.

and the town Redlynch, not named after my UK home town, but after Mr Lynch

Posted by charlystyles 13:48 Archived in Australia Tagged scenic_railway kuranda_skyrail Comments (0)