Cardwell, a coastal town on Rockingham Bay, is about midway between Townsville and Cairns. When proclaimed as a town in 1864 it was a remote and isolated site chosen as a port for transporting livestock from an emerging inland pastoral industry. In the 2011 census, Cardwell had a population of 1,176 people.

In 2013, the Cardwell community began being the target of an online hoax originated from an Islamophobic post, which claimed the town’s Christmas lights competition had been cancelled to appease the local Muslim community, forcing Cassowary Coast Regional Council to publicly debunk the rumours. Despite this, the hoax continues to circulate on social media.


William Ingham, who had been educated at Oxford, was only 32 when he arrived in the area and began growing and processing sugar cane. When the town was surveyed in 1875 it was named Ingham after a petition was submitted by the local residents. Ingham died in 1878 when, according to a survivor, he was roasted and eaten by the natives on Brooker Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

At the 2011 Australian Census the town recorded a population of 4,706. Ingham is the service centre for many sugarcane plantations with other industries including cattle, farming, fishing, timber and tourism.

On 10 March 2018, torrential rain, floods and storms in north Queensland have been declared a “catastrophe” by the Insurance Council of Australia. A disaster situation was declared by the State Government after towns were cut off, residents evacuated and more than 200 homes were flooded