Paronella Park: A Private Park Dedicated to the Public

José Paronella, a man from Catalonia, arrived in Queensland, Australia to start a new life with his wife. He bought land in 1929 for £120 and started to build a pleasure garden for him and his wife. These gardens were also intended to be reception centers for the public. 5 hectares of land, beside the Mena Creek Falls, became Paronella Park and was opened to the public in 1935. Since its foundation, it has received many awards, listed as a State and National Heritage site. Paronella Park is now privately owned and eco-accredited.

Paronella Park

José Paronella worked relentlessly to build a home for his family, and a pleasure garden for the public. He planted more than 7000 trees. He built a castle, picnic area, tennis court, bridges, and a tunnel among the lush tropical plants and trees.


The Paronella couple first built a stonehouse to live in and then started working on the castle. All of the structures besides the house were constructed of concrete. The concrete was covered with a plaster made from clay and cement, applied by their own hands. The couple left behind prints of their fingers as a reminder of their endeavor. The hydropower plant, commissioned in 1933, is recognized as the first hydropower plant in Northern Queensland.

Paronella Park

Sadly, José died of cancer in 1948 and left his family to continue. Unfortunately, the park was flooded many times. In 1977, the Castle was burned down. The renovation fees were too much for the family to afford so they had to sell the park in 1993. The new owners completed the renovations in 2009 and opened the park to the public again.

Paronella Park
Paronella Park