By Tim White, Manager at Lotus Watergardens
While travelling through Mareeba in northern Queensland we heard about a property called Paronella Park and decided to go and have a guided tour. Jose Paronella started building Paronella Park in about 1930 after coming to Australia from Spain and building his wealth buying and selling cane farms. His dream was to build a castle and his whole philosophy was built around entertaining people.
With the money he saved from his hard work he built castles, ballrooms, cafes, bathing areas, tennis and bocce courts and planted 7000 plants to landscape his gardens. He even built Queensland’s first hydroelectric power turbine to provide electricity to his estate from the waterfall in his backyard, as there was no power in the area. Unfortunately floods and cyclones have ravaged his castle and gardens but you can still see the forethought this man had.
This man was truly a visionary and, even though Paronella Park is not still owned by the family, the current owners have received a grant from the National Trust to rebuild this beautiful place back to its former glory.