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Cardwell, Queensland facts for kids

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Cardwell Welcome.jpg
Entrance to Cardwell, Highway 1
Cardwell is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Population 1,309 (2016 census)
 • Density 27.79/km2 (72.0/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 4849
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Area 47.1 km2 (18.2 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s) Cassowary Coast Region
State electorate(s) Hinchinbrook
Federal Division(s) Kennedy
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
28.7 °C
84 °F
19.0 °C
66 °F
2,114.4 mm
83.2 in
Localities around Cardwell:
Ellerbeck Ellerbeck Coral Sea
Carruchan Cardwell Hinchinbrook Channel
Lumholtz Lumholtz Damper Creek

Cardwell is a coastal town and rural locality in the Cassowary Coast Region, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census the locality of Cardwell had a population of 1,309 people.


West of Cardwell the rugged topography of the Cardwell Range intercepts the trade winds resulting in high rainfall. The coastal escarpment is covered in rainforest which transitions to the west to eucalypt woodland and tropical savanna. Cardwell Range biodiversity has been protected by the introduction of Forestry Reserves, National Parks and Queensland World Heritage Wet Tropics Areas. Seaward lies the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef and Lagoon, Rockingham Bay and Hinchinbrook Channel. Islands are visible from Cardwell including protected areas i.e. Hinchinbrook Island, Goold Island and the Brook Islands Group.

Oyster Point is one kilometre south of Cardwell. This location experienced one of Australia's important conservation battles. With the establishment of Port Hinchinbrook, the Marina Public Boat Ramp provides year round access to the protected marine environments of Hinchinbrook Channel, Estuaries, Islands and Great Barrier Reef. The Cardwell Jetty is an important infrastructure asset, where visitors can socialize and view the coastal scenery; and anglers can enjoy both day and evening fishing activities.


The Aboriginal heritage is defined by Language Groups; the boundary of the Dyirbal and Warrgamay lies between Cardwell and Tully in the north. The first Europeans settled in the area in January 1864 in order to create a port initially called "Port Hinchinbrook". Subsequently, the town was renamed after Edward Cardwell, 1st Viscount Cardwell.

Cardwell was the first port settlement on the Queensland coast north of Port Denison (Bowen). The first party of non-indigenous people to settle at Rockingham Bay arrived in January 1864. They were 20 in number and they came from Bowen on the small schooner Policeman with the 3 ton cutter Heather Bell in tow.

Cardwell Post Office opened on 10 July 1864.

At the 2006 census, Cardwell had a population of 1,250.

Heritage listings

Cardwell Shire Council Chambers, Cardwell, 1911
Cardwell Divisional Board Hall (later Cardwell Shire Chambers), 1911

Cardwell has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Cardwell also has a granite monument erected in memory of Walter Jervoise Scott, a pioneer of the Valley of Lagoons. The monument was sent from Great Britain by his brothers intended for his grave at Valley of Lagoons. On arrival at Cardwell, it was found to be too large to transport up the rough track to Valley of Lagoons, so it was erected in Cardwell instead.


According to the 2016 census of Population, there were 1,309 people in Cardwell.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 8.9% of the population.
  • 72.5% of people were born in Australia and 83.0% of people spoke only English at home.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 25.6%, Catholic 22.6% and Anglican 20.6%.


Cardwell State School is a government primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 43 Victoria Street (18°16′07″S 146°01′51″E / 18.2687°S 146.0308°E / -18.2687; 146.0308 (Cardwell State School)). In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 108 students with 6 teachers (5 full-time equivalent) and 6 non-teaching staff (5 full-time equivalent). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 80 students with 5 teachers (4 full-time equivalent) and 6 non-teaching staff (5 full-time equivalent).

There is no secondary school in Cardwell. The nearest government secondary school is Tully State High School in Tully to the north.

Notable residents

  • Isidor Lissner, politician
  • John Murray, police inspector
  • Ashleigh Southern, water polo player
  • Margaret Thorsborne, naturalist, conservationist and environmental activist

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