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Gordonvale, Queensland

The town of Gordonvale was founded on the Mulgrave River south of Cairns. Originally a small sugar town, Gordonvale is now part of the south Cairns urban growth corridor.

Gordonvale History

The Far North Queensland town of Gordonvale is situated about 25 kilometres south of Cairns. In 1965 it was was a small country town of about 2000 people. Established on Yidinji tribal land, it was initially called Mulgrave and later renamed Nelson. Gordonvale was finally settled on as a tribute to John Gordon. He was a pioneer in the district, a butcher, dairyman, grazier and early director of Mulgrave Sugar Mill.

Gordonvale, Far North Queensland
Gordonvale, Far North Queensland

The town’s most prominent geographical feature is Walsh’s Pyramid or Djarragun and surrounded by cane fields, it is a sight to see. It is a cone-shaped peak, rising 922m on the outskirts of the town, resembling a small volcano.

Sugar Industry

In 1882 the first sugar was processed at the Pyramid Mill, which was on the Mulgrave River, 5 km upstream from Gordonvale. Subsequently, the Mulgrave Central Mill was built in 1896 at Gordonvale.

Further Reading

Clive Morton, By strong arms, Gordonvale, Mulgrave Central Mill Co, 1995

Clive Morton, Gordonvale State Schools: the first 75 years, Gordonvale, The School, 1972

Education Facilities

Gordonvale is well served by a quality public education system. It has both the primary and secondary state schools. Gordonvale State School is in George Street and Gordonvale State High School is in Sheppards Street. 


The Great Pyramid Race and Country Fair is held on the 2nd weekend every August.


Gordonvale is located in the state Electorate of Mulgrave in the Queensland Parliament. The electorate was first created in 1950 for the election held that year.

This century Mulgrave has had only two MPs. Warren Pitt (1998 to 2009) and his son Curtis Pitt (2009 to 2022).

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