Craiglie, a rural town, is immediately south of Port Douglas.

When Port Douglas was established (1877) teamsters hauling freight from inland mining areas descended a track over a section known as The Bump before finding a spot with pasture where the horses could be spelled. About 6 km south of Port Douglas, the resting place was named Craiglie (also spelt Craiglee and Craiglea). About 5 km further south was the Mowbray Valley, a farming community which relied on Craiglie for supplies and for the schooling of its children. Before being by-passed by the Cairns-Mareeba railway (1893) for journeys to the coast, Craiglie had two hotels, a store and a school. The Australian handbook (1903) recorded it as a teamsters' camping place with a school and the Mowbray Hotel:

Upon the development of Port Douglas' Four Mile Beach in the 1980s, with about two-thirds of the beachfront dedicated to the Mirage Resort and two golf courses, the convenient location for dormitory housing was Craiglie. The airport was also nearby, and over fifty wholesale, retail and service businesses are in Craiglie, some going there because of higher rents in Port Douglas. Craiglie's growth, coinciding with the growth of tourist facilities, can be traced by its census populations:

Census Date Population
1981 359
1986 1125
1996 2746
2001* 3212
2006 2539
2011** 1032
*including tourists.

Although the UBD directory shows Craiglie's northern boundary in the vicinity of Nautilus Street, the Australian Bureau of Statistics put the boundary along the Bally Hoogley tramway and the Mirage golf course in 2006. Taking the Australian Bureau of Statistics' boundary, Craiglie then had the Port Douglas primary school, two shopping centres, a caravan park, two churches and a community golf course. In the 2011 census the boundary areas changed again.


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