Hann Shire (1879-1919) was the local government area for the Palmer River goldfield, between 70 km and 150 km west of Cape Tribulation. Access from the coast was via Cooktown, 100 km to the north-east.
In 1872 an expedition led by William Hann explored the interior of Cape York Peninsula. They encountered several rivers, including the Palmer which showed traces of gold. James Mulligan prospected the Palmer in 1873 with amazing results, and a rush soon followed. The towns of Palmerville in the west, and Maytown nearer to Cooktown, were established by 1875. When rural local government was established in 1879 the Hann division (37,700 sq miles) was proclaimed, with the divisional office at Maytown. The division experienced an extreme boom and bust in its mining fortunes, falling from a census population of over 6000 in 1881 to under 1000 ten years later.
In 1919 Cooktown, its adjoining Daintree Shire, and Hann Shire were amalgamated to form Cook Shire. Hann Shire's census populations were: