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Thornton Peak - Boulders in the Mist
Name of Protected Area: Daintree National Park
Indigenous Name: Wundu
Name of Mountain Range: Thornton Range
Heigh Above Sea Level: Thornton Peak 1374 m
The flanks of the Hilda Creek Catchment frame Rudder Reef, Snapper Island and right around to Cape Grafton south of Cairns.
These boulders are delicately balanced. The action of the sun, wind and rain causes fascinating shapes to form slowly over time. The black colour is caused by algae that adheres to the surface. The colour of the granite is geologically described as pale cream to pale pink.
This vast panorama shows the Daintree River mouth, Wonga Beach, Rocky Point, Mossman, Port Douglas, Black Mountain, Buchan's Point, Murray Prior Ranges, False Cape and Cape Grafton. The background to the right is the Lamb Range and the Atherton Tablelands.
The mouth of Bailey's and Hutchinson Creek can be seen centre left. In 1878, the native police in the Platypus entered the creek ten miles north of the Daintree which they found ‘equally prolific in cedar and having splendid sugar land’ and named it Bailey Creek. Rice was also grown in the Bailey Creek Hutchinson Creek flats by the Chinese in 1883, A school operated part time in the area in 1899. The teacher was shared with the Daintree School. The school closed down in 1903.
Wundu is an area of significance within the traditional lands of the Kuku Yalanji people. It is part of the Kuku Yalanji cultural landscape that enables the contemporary exercise of culture and assists in transmission of culture to future generations. This rock can be seen from Daintree Village on a clear day.
Daintree National Park stretches from Mossman Gorge to Bloomfield River. About 17,000ha of land between Daintree River and Cape Tribulation is protected as Daintree National Park. It is bordered on the western side by an extensive timber reserve which stretches over Thornton Range and beyond.
Thornton Peak is an enigmatic mountain on so many levels. Firstly, on a clear day it can easily be seen on the Captain Cook Highway and has an obvious recognisable profile. As a resident of the Port Douglas, Mossman and Daintree areas, it can be hidden in cloud and mist for what seems like half the year, adding to its intrigue. On clear winter afternoons along the local beaches, it creates unforgettable images as it comes to life in the setting sun.
Hilda Creek at the very base of the Thornton's Peak Trail. It is the last available water before the gruelling climb to the head waters of the creek between the summit boulders. These roots look quite ghostly. Downstream from this location gold has been found.
Three distinct geologies occur in this photo. The Thornton granite is described as pale cream to pale pink medium grained and extensively altered granite, while the Cooper creek estuary is made of silt, sand and mud alluvium washout. Bailey's Point top right is derived from the Hodgkinson Formation and is described as thin bedded mudstone / siltstone.
The first permanent settlers in Daintree area were John, Archie and Gavin Stewart in 1879. John Whitehead Stewart took up Portion 57 across the river from the present township, named it the Skeleton Estate, and grew the first mango and mangosteen trees in the area. The first postal receiving office on the Daintree was opened on his premises.
Thornton Peak, named after William Thornton who was appointed to the Queensland Legislative Council between 1862 - 1864. He later became Collector of Customs.
Only on a clear day, before the sugar cane crushing starts and the dry season adds dusk particles into the atmosphere, can you clearly see the summit of Thornton Peak (top left corner) from Bartle Frere.
The complexity of the Thornton Peak summit rainforest can be gauged by the different textures and colours in the rainforest canopy. Under the vegetation mapping this forest is highland microphyll vine forest 17.A
In the coffee coloured sunsets of mid winter, Mt Bulbun South can be seen from Thornton Peak. This mountain is important to the local Ku Ku Yulanji people and, thankfully, to this day the area is relatively untouched.
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