Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


To the gates of hellTo the gates of hell

Following the tracks of the Palmer River gold prospectors, a party of offbeat travellers and their donkeys take on the aptly named Hell's Gate, in north Queensland.

Story and photos Neal Sellars

Hell's Gate: forbidding name, forbidding reputation. But it lured gold-hungry miners as the quickest way to the rich Palmer River Goldfield from Cooktown. In 1874 it was easy to get to Cooktown; all you needed was the money for the boat fare from a southern port. To get from there to the Palmer was another story. Many chose to go through the aptly named Hell's Gate. The trip can still be done - by donkey if you like - but more of that later.

To the gates of hellIn the 1870s gold fever gripped north Queensland. William Hann's exploration party was actually looking for grazing land when it found gold on the Palmer River in 1872. Hann knew the problems a gold rush would create in this rugged, remote region and wanted to play down the find. Story end

Full story Issue 33 Feb/Mar 2004

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