JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Paronella Park

The sign pointing to Paronella Park is one of those signs that you pass and say to yourself "I must go and visit that place sometime!"  It certainly has had some great publicity, some good i.e. voted number one in the top 150 places to visit in Queensland, and some sad.....ravaged by both fires and cyclones in the past 35 years.  Paronella Park is situated on 13 acres beside Mena Creek Falls.  Jose Paronella started building his "castle" by hand  in 1929 and was ready to welcome the public in 1935.  The last thing to be built was his hydro-electric plant that serviced the whole complex.   Surrounding the complex Jose planted almost 7000 trees, the spectacular Kauri Pine Avenue being a highlight.
The Paronellas invited everyone to movies on Saturday nights, built tennis courts from crushed termite mounds and a pavilion with turret topped balconies, refreshment rooms and changing cubicles for swimmers.
Tragically in 1946 a mass of logs from a clearing upstream swept away a railway bridge that descended on the park, destroying the refreshment rooms.  Undaunted, the Paronellas replanted gardens, repaired what they could and re-opened 6 months later.
Jose passed away in 1948 leaving his wife and son and daughter to continue with the running of the park until 1977 when it was sold.  In 1979 a fire swept through the castle leaving only the walls and turret as a reminder of what had been.  In 1986 cyclone Winfred tested the Parks endurance once again.  In 1993 the current owners rediscovered the almost lost park and envisaged reviving Jose's dream and in 2009 saw the refurbishment of the original hydro turbine which once again provides power for the entire park.
Sadly two more Cyclones struck the Park, Larry in 2006 and Yasi in 2011 once again testing the resilience.
Paronella Park is eco-certified and heritage listed.  Efforts today focus on maintaining the property while staying true to its historic and eco values.  A number of ongoing restoration and preservation projects will see the Paronella Park story live on for many years to come.

The Refreshment rooms and Fountain overlooking the Tennis Courts

Looking from the bridge down to the Picnic Area and the Castle above.

Looking to Mena Creek Falls, Picnic Area and the Castle

The Picnic Area.  Behind is the Grand Staircase leading down from the Castle above

Almost every path has a view of the Falls

The Grand Staircase

Mena Creek Falls and the Hydro Power Station on the right

The Swing Bridge over Mena Creek

The Tennis Court Refreshment Rooms and Fountain at night

Mena Creek Falls, Swing Bridge and Hydro Station at night

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