From the Archives: Paronella Park

Spanish immigrant, Jose Paronella, came to North Queensland in 1913 to work as a cane-cutter.  In 1924 he returned to Spain, married Margarita and brought her back to see the piece of tropical scrub that he was intent on buying.  His dream was to build a castle within a beautiful garden open to the public.  In 1929 they bought the land at Mena Creek and started to build the castle using poured, reinforced concrete covered with plaster showing their hand prints.  Their park opened for visitors in 1935 but Jose had not finished creating his dream.  The huge mirror ball in the dance hall was a popular feature and other additions were: tennis courts, refreshment rooms, a museum, a children’s playground, a tunnel, balconies, bridges, a hydro-electric generating plant, waterfalls and cascades.  During a very heavy wet season in 1946 so much damage was done that it took Jose and his family two years to rebuild.  Still, when Jose died in 1948 his dream was realised and many family members were dedicated to keeping it alive through fire and flood.  It remained in the family until 1977 and the present owners continue to keep Paronella Park a favourite tourist attraction in North Queensland.

(Central Photographic Bureau Book 4., No 41 and No 42 )