Australia’s version of an old castle

Today I visited Paronella Park in Mena Creek, Queensland.
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It was built by Jose Paronella. Back in the day, he worked hard to accumulate his fortune in the Australian sugar cane business for his future bride, who was waiting for him in Spain. Or so he thought. She had married twice by the time he returned to Spain. That’s what happens when you don’t call for 11 years.

The story has a nice ending though. He married the younger sister and returned to Australia to build his dream castle, Paronella Park, by hand, for the public. It’s a beautiful place now. The concrete castle is crumbling amongst invading vines, towering bamboos and crashing waterfalls.
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There are outdoor activity facilities…
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…a bat cave…
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…and a Kauri Pine pathway leading to the Mena Creek Falls.
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This was all built and ready by 1935. Not exactly as historic as most castles around the world. But still, it’s pretty remarkable this place is still standing given the number of cyclones and floods it has endured, with water levels reaching at least mid-way up the Grand Staircase.
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Really, this was more of a nice park to visit with friends, hear some history, and feed the turtles and fishies.
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