Port Douglas is a coastal town and locality in the Shire of Douglas, Queensland, approximately 70 km (40 mi) north of Cairns. In the 2016 census, Port Douglas had a population of 3,504 people. The town’s population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season from May to September. The town is named in honour of a former Premier of Queensland, John Douglas. Port Douglas developed quickly based on the mining industry. Other parts of the area were established with timber cutting occurring in the area surrounding the Daintree River and with settlement starting to occur on lots around the Mossman River by 1880.
Previous names for the town included Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen and Salisbury. The town is situated adjacent to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Port Douglas was No. 3 on Australian Traveller magazine’s list of 100 Best Towns in Australia.
The Port Douglas township was established in 1877 after the discovery of gold at Hodgkinson River by James Venture Mulligan. Port Douglas Post Office opened on 1 September 1877. It grew quickly, and at its peak Port Douglas had a population of 12,000 and 27 hotels. With the construction of the Mulligan Highway it serviced towns as far away as Herberton.
The Port Douglas War Memorial was unveiled on 10 February 1923 by Mrs Tresize. The music video for Kylie Minogue’s 1988 single “It’s No Secret” was filmed in Port Douglas. In November 1996 United States President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton chose the town as their only holiday stop on their historic visit to Australia. When dining at a local restaurant they witnessed a couple’s wedding certificate. On a return visit on 11 September 2001, Bill Clinton was again dining at a local restaurant, when he was advised of the September 11 attacks. He returned to the United States the following day.