Settlers first arrived in the area about 1877. In July 1895, the first hotel license was issued to the small settlement known as Hartsville. The town was named after Dan Hart who was a timber getter and early settler in the district. Later, the town was changed to Mossman River and then simply to Mossman. It became evident that the town's future lay in sugar cane.

The Mossman Central Mill was built in 1896 and the first crush was in 1897. It was a major achievement to construct a sugar mill in such a remote part of Australia around the turn of century. “Kanakas” from nearby Pacific islands helped with the cane cutting in a hot humid climate. After Federation in 1901 the Australian government made provision to deport the islanders. They were later replaced by Japanese, Chinese and Indian workers however neither were to prove a long-term success.


Find out more about the Mossman Central Mill and how they overcame the labour shortages in the early days, survived two world wars and moved from crushing 25 tons of cane per hour to 350 by visiting the Mossman Sugar Mill Tours. The museum has photos set out to show the achievements decade by decade.