Mena Creek, a small country town behind the Basilisk Range, is 8 km south-west of Innisfail and 75 km south of Cairns. The creek is the headwater portion of Stewart Creek. There are at least two possible origins of its name. The first is that it was named by Henry Noone after his daughter Philomena (1911-2005). The second that it derives from Mena Camp, Cairo, where the First Australian Imperial Force trained prior to the Gallipoli landing in 1915. This is in keeping with other Egyptian-derived places names in the area (such as El Arish). The creek enters the South Johnstone River.

Noone took up land in Mena Creek in the early 1900s for sugar cane farming, and was influential in persuading a Queensland Royal Commission on central mills to recommend the mill at South Johnstone.

One of Innisfail's notable beauty spots is the Mena Creek falls, and in 1932 a Spanish immigrant, Jose Paronella, settled near the falls and began building a house modelled on a Spanish castle. Paronella Palace, now set in Paronella Park, includes playgrounds and a swimming pool at the bottom of the falls. It has been extensively refurbished in recent years by new owners, the tropical climate having taken a heavy toll on the concrete structures. The park is listed on the Queensland heritage register.

Mena Creek has a store, a hotel and primary school (1920). Its census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

Mena Fallon, Radiant green, Mareeba, Pinevale Publications, 1990

Alan Hudson, Sweet success: a story of South Johnstone mill, Brisbane, Christopher Beck Books, 1995



Copyright © Centre for the Government of Queensland, 2018. All rights reserved.

UQ Logo