Posted May 18, 2017
For travellers on the Bruce Highway, Silkwood is the Southern entry point to the Canecutter Way - The Greatest Detour in the North.
The name Silkwood, given by AJ Daveson for his selection about 1902, was later adopted for the Post Office and settlement.
Silkwood was at the junction of the tramlines from Maria Creek and Liverpool Creek/Japoonvale where bananas were grown and timber taken out. A school opened in 1916. In 1919 a sawmill was opened at Silkwood, cutting, among other things, sleepers for the Cairns to Ingham railway connection. The line reached Silkwood in 1924.
Life was hard for these workers and their families, living in makeshift shelters of rough hewn timber and corrugated iron, furniture made from boxes, kerosene tins to carry water, scarce food and no services.
Toward the late 1920s settlers at Japoonvale and Silkwood obtained a government subsidised dairy at Silkwood. The dairy also drew on suppliers at Mena Creek and Utchee Creek, continuing until the 1940s after which many of the dairy farms changed to beef cattle.
In Silkwood you can still visit the Smallest Bank in Australia, which is now a museum, the Silkwood Hotel, and other historic buildings including the old Silkwood Picture Theatre.
As you travel along the Canecutter Way from Silkwood to Innisfail, be sure to stop at Liverpool Creek and at the Mena Creek Falls.
Photo Courtesy of Craig Gilbert Photography