Spanish Castle Dreams II [split tone] by Damienne Bingham

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Spanish Castle Dreams II [split tone] by 

Paronella Park
Mena Creek, Far North Queensland,
Australia. 2010.

Canon EOS 400D
Canon EF 28-135m f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
f/8, 1/125s, ISO 400
RAW. BW conversion in PS.

The “Spanish Castle” in the grounds of Paronella Park was the dream of a Catalan immigrant Jose Paronella who made his fortune in Far North Queensland by buying and refurbishing cane fields and selling them for profit.

Once he made his fortune, he set about realizing his dream of building a pleasure grounds where people could come to picnic, play tennis, go to the cinema or even dance in the ballroom.

All of the buildings, stairways, paths and park furniture was made from hand-made bricks with mud quarried from the property itself. You can still see the finger marks in the cladding.

The naming of Paronella Park as a ‘castle’ was a very crafty choice.
Paronella had made a return to Spain and on his entrance back to Australia he was detained for not paying his taxes. In the future, as a remedy for his tax problems, he decided to name his building as a castle – and so avoid paying taxes for life!

Paronella Park is definitely worth a visit to anyone in Cairns or the Innisfail area. It’s a truly remarkable sight and a photographer’s dream.

Paronella Park is a tourist attraction located in Queensland, Australia, 120 kilometres south of Cairns. Paronella Park was built in the 1930s by José Paronella, a Spanish immigrant. José Paronella built facilities, including tennis courts and a cinema and a ballroom inspired by Spanish castles, to provide entertainment for the public. Since his death, a fire, a cyclone and several floods have badly damaged the park and the buildings. The park changed owners several times until, in 1993, it was bought by the present owners.

In 1933, Paronella installed a hydro-electric plant, the first (privately owned) in Queensland, on the waterfall in the park. He used it to supply power for the park’s lighting, pumps, refrigeration and cinema. The town of Mena Creek also used some of the electricity. The plant was eventually decommissioned.

In 2009 the park completed a restoration of the plant, and now runs entirely off hydro-electric power. Some of the excess electricity is fed back into the local grid. (care of Wikipedia)

views as of 11.07.11: 348

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damienne bingham, damienne, bingham, greeneyedharpy, green, eyed, harpy, photographs, black and white, black white, b w, bw, black, white, mono, monotone, monochrome, splittone, split tone, split, tone, orton, texture, vegetation, overgrown, over grown, nature, man, wild, plant, plants, architecture, spain, spanish, castle, dream, dreams, australia, australian, cairns, queensland, far north queensland, tropical, plantation, unique, paronella park, paronella, park, travel

I am a freelance photographer originally from Brisbane, Australia, and currently living in Cape Town, South Africa.

I enjoy many forms of photography – with a particular interest in travel and nature photography. This diversity can be seen in the range of genres and styles in my portfolio

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  • Cat2be
    Cat2beover 3 years ago

    Stunning!! I love these old over grown ruins.

  • Thanks Kimba, glad you like it. This place is amazing!

    – Damienne Bingham

  • windswept
    windsweptover 3 years ago

    Lovely shot, so atmospheric.

  • Thank you very much!

    – Damienne Bingham

  • VallaV
    VallaVover 3 years ago

    about how wild and beautiful!

  • Thank you!

    – Damienne Bingham

  • rodeorose
    rodeoroseover 3 years ago

    How amazing is this! I didn’t know this place existed. Gorgeous shot Damienne.

  • Thanks Rosie! Really incredible place, definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.

    – Damienne Bingham

  • Chris Lord
    Chris Lordover 3 years ago

    Looks like an amazing site, would love to see it for real. Your wonderfully well captured and treated image here provides a very teasing glimpse! Well done.

  • That’s very kind Chris, I’m glad you enjoyed it! It really is quite a spectacle. I felt like I was in Angkor Wat or maybe a Mayan relic rather than in Australia!

    – Damienne Bingham

  • Sandra Cockayne
    Sandra Cockayneover 3 years ago

  • Thanks Sandra, that’s wonderful!

    – Damienne Bingham

  • BigCatPhotos
    BigCatPhotosover 3 years ago

    This is really fabulous.

  • Thank you! I’m so glad you like it!

    – Damienne Bingham

  • Sandra Moore
    Sandra Mooreover 3 years ago


  • Thanks Sandra, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    – Damienne Bingham

  • myraj
    myrajover 3 years ago

    Wonderful eerie image Damienne. I was voting in the grand houses challenge and saw your shot. That’s not a Spanish Castle thought I, so, had a closer look. My husband and I are grey nomads and Paronella park is our favourite of all places visited travelling around Australia. Great shot of a wonderful part of Aussie history. Do you know if it was effected by recent weather?
    Fantastic reading too.
    Sincerely Myra

  • Thanks for the wonderful comment Myra, so glad you enjoyed this! Paronella Park is truly an exceptional place – initially I was a bit skeptical when my father suggested visiting it but it is absolutely fascinating! There was some information on their website about the recent weather issues, but I don’t think they were affected too badly, they closed briefly but are open again as far as I know.

    – Damienne Bingham

  • Antanas
    Antanasover 3 years ago

    great capture

  • Thank you

    – Damienne Bingham

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