The History of The Reef House

The Reef House is a property steeped in history. Originally built in the 1950s for a Cairns bookmaker, it has grown, evolved and transformed over the decades into a beautiful, liveable time capsule, transporting a little bit of a bygone era to our time for guests from across the country and around the world to enjoy.

We want our guests to immerse themselves in the history of our building, experiencing the Reef House as it was originally intended to be – an oasis of calm and a luxurious refuge from the hustle and bustle of the world around it. To help you get the most out of your stay with us, we’ve put together this short article pointing out a few of the historical curios you can experience during your time at The Reef House. Read on and discover something unexpected.

A reflection of a beautiful place

Continuously inhabited for more than 60,000 years, Palm Cove has been well-loved for generations of people both before and after European settlement. The region’s history as a holiday destination begins after World War II with the closing of the military training grounds that previously held the land. It was only here that the place was given its name, with alternatives such as ‘Double Island’ and ‘Palm Beach’ rejected on the grounds that they were too similar to existing place names. Palm Cove triumphed in the end as a tribute to the exotic palm trees planted in the late 19th, early 20th century by one of the region’s largest landowners, Archdeacon Campbell of St. Johns Church of England in Cairns.

Tracing our past

The Reef House is an establishment steeped in tradition. Briefly operating as a restaurant with three suites for accommodation in 1970, it was purchased by then-future Member of the Australian Parliament for Leichhardt (our local seat) David Thomson in 1972. Visitors to the Reef House were able to avail themselves of Mr Thomson’s generous hospitality, being treated as personal guests. It was here the relaxed air and many of the traditions that carry through to today – including Twilight Hour – were born.

Twilight Hour is marked by the lighting of candles throughout the common area of the resort, and guests are formally invited to attend The Brigadier’s Bar – itself originally used by Mr Thomson for his own guests – for a chance to meet and speak with their fellow guests and enjoy a complimentary glass of Brigadier’s Punch.

Make a booking at The Reef House today and enjoy a bygone form of hospitality.