24 kilometres south of Cairns, in north Queensland, is the town of Gordonvale, a sugar milling town since 1896 and still dominated by its sugar mill, servicing the farms around it. It is a quiet town, with a population of around 6,000 people. Its big event is "The Great Pyramid Race", held every year in August, in which enthusiasts run (or attempt to run) to the top of Walsh's Pyramid, the landmark conical hill, 922 metres high, and back. The distance of 12 kilometres, including the almost 1 kilometre climb, has been completed in 80 minutes! The traditional Aboriginal owners of the Pyramid are the Yidinyji-Malanbarra clan who refer to it as "Djarrugan": the mound of Djarruga, the scrub hen. This gave its name to Djarragun College, an indigenous school with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students situated just north of the town.
The area of Gordonvale was first settled in 1877 by white families on the tribal lands of the Yidinyji-Malanbarra; it was previously called Mulgrave and then Nelson and finally Gordonvale, named after the local pioneer John Gordon. The Mulgrave Central sugar mill near the centre of town started as far back as 1896 and operates six months of the year. Sugar production is declining: in recent years large stretches of sugar fields have been converted to new suburbs. Gordonvale presently has a population of around 4,500.
There are many scenic spots around the town, like Behana Gorge near Aloomba, and, along the Gillies Highway leading up to the Atherton Tablelands, great views to Walsh's Pyramid; there are waterholes along the Mulgrave River, the Goldsborough and Wooroonooran National Park, stretching all the way south to the Palmerston Highway