Daintree Views / Op-Ed by Dr Doug Quarry

daintree river traffic queues

“I was the superintendent of Mossman Hospital in 1983 as the Daintree blockade, led by Mike Berwick, was unfolding.

While the Blockade was ultimately unsuccessful and a new road was carved from Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield, the Blockade led to the World Heritage listing of the Daintree Rainforest, limiting its development and totally preventing logging.

Protesters wait for Council and police to arrive in December 1983 (Photo Credit : Lesley Clarke via Daintree Blockade )

In 2018, a thorough community consultation process was undertaken by Douglas Shire Council regarding a bridge across the Daintree River; only 5% of respondents were in favour of a bridge.

The Council dozer works along ‘first creek’. August 1984. (Photo Credit : Cliff Frith via Daintree Blockade )

Fast forward to 2020 – the year of COVID-19.

The Bloomfield Track remains a windy unsealed road with steep sections.

For an undisclosed reason, the new Council has re-opened the issue of building a bridge.  

I don’t understand how this became a priority….

Anyway, for me, the real question is whether we want to protect our World Heritage rainforest north of the Daintree River.

The UNESCO definition makes it clear why we should:

“World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”


The ferry provides a natural “break” between the more developed areas south of the Daintree and the less-developed areas over the river. Changing to a bridge would remove this break, making development in the World Heritage area more likely.

We are now wasting our time and our money on another consultation when we should be concentrating on saving businesses and jobs during COVID.



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daintree river crossing