Kuranda was surveyed in 1888 in anticipation of development that would accompany the arrival of the railway.
The high cost of the Barron Gorge Railway meant there was no money to complete the line to Herberton.
Construction of the existing station began in 1913, with the extension of the platform and yard, the signalling and interlocking of the station and the construction of the footbridge and concrete unit block station buildings. Kuranda is one of the earliest station to be built in Australia using standard concrete units and is the oldest remaining examples of its type in Queensland. Two earlier examples at Northgate and Chelmer have both been demolished.
Vincent Price was in charge of the Railway Department's architectural section when the Passenger Station Block, described as “after the style of a Swiss Chalet, the idea being to make Kuranda a show station”, was designed in 1910. A modified version of the design with Marseilles tiled roof was built in 1914 and included the Passenger Station building, Signal Cabin and Utilities Block. A luggage lift was installed in 1915 and was demolished after 1939.
Ornamental planting proposed in the 1910 scheme, was developed by George Wriede and Bert Wickham, both station masters at Kuranda. Kuranda Station first won the Northern Division of the Annual Garden Competition in 1915 and was often the winner in subsequent years that it became folklore that Kuranda won every year.
For over one hundred years Kuranda has been attracting the tourist in search of exotic scenery and mountain air. The renowned scenic qualities of the railway line quickly led to the recognition of tourist potential and may have prompted the need for the 1913 station buildings to conform to an appropriate aesthetic genre such as Swiss Chalet.
The growth of tourism in Kuranda was linked to the popularity of various steamship companies that operated passenger services from the south, to the port of Cairns. Travellers from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne came to Cairns by ship until the opening of the rail line to Brisbane in 1924.
In the early twenty century Queensland Railways published a brochure called Train Trips While the Steamer Waits that urged tourist not to miss the unsurpassable natural beauty of the mountains, best seen by taking the train to Kuranda.
Tourist travel stopped during the Second World War when the entire region was a war zone. However Kuranda was one of the busiest stations at this time handling freight for many troops that were stationed on the Atherton Tablelands. Traffic at this time was so great that the road from Cairns to Kuranda was constructed to relieve congestion.
Today Kuranda Station is world renowned for its tropical gardens and historic significance. It is possibly one of the most photographed railway stations in the world. The heritage-listed buildings blend with the tropical surrounds providing a relaxed environment to enjoy. The Kuranda Railway Tea Rooms at the station offer a great range of souvenirs and refreshments.
Kuranda Refreshment Rooms
During your visit to Kuranda be sure to partake in 'A Real Taste of Australia'. Sample our fine selection of freshly prepared hot and cold food and beverages. A range of quality souvenirs are also available at the Gift shop, available daily and all located at the Original Kuranda Refreshment Rooms on Platform 1, Kuranda Station.
Station phone: 07 4233 6005
Lost property: 1800 KSRAIL(577 245)