However the port's own physical shortcomings, together with the fact that the major ports of Cairns and Townsville, together with Dungeness and then Lucinda, took the business away from Port Hinchinbrook, means that Cardwell and its port never reached the dizzy heights predicted.
Rather for a brief period our own Dungeness, and then Lucinda became busy ports of call for the coastal steamers that plied the eastern coast. Readers possibly cannot imagine that a scene such as this one which pictures a steamer plying its business on the Herbert River between the mills and Dungeness and then the Lucinda was common place once. The Herbert River provided the main means of access around the Valley. Small boats travelled up and down the river carrying passengers and cargo and everyone used their own boats for crossing the river or making short journeys to visit friends or access the various small communities that had sprung up along the river. Each sugar mill had its wharf on the banks of the Herbert River for loading and offloading goods and passengers which were coming from, or going to, the port at Dungeness.
Arthur Scott to Walter Scott, March 21, 1866. (Scott MS) as quoted in G.C. Bolton, A Thousand Miles Away: A History of North Queensland to 1920, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1972).
“North with the Minister for Works,” The Brisbane Courier, April 10, 1882, 3.