From the A Far Northern Landmark Sydney Mail 24 April 1935:
COOKTOWN, Queensland's most northerly town, which for nearly half a
century has been one of the 'ghost' towns of the far north, is booming once
again. An army of timber-getters is at work removing the trees from 100,000
acres of Crown lands in the little-known country south of Cooktown, and, according to a report, some fine timber has been found growing near the Black Mountain. Few people are aware of the existence of such a mountain. It is not indicated on any maps, but it is doubtful whether there is another mountain in
Australia of such unusual formation and with such a remarkable history.
About two miles long and a mile wide, the mountain is flat-topped and is composed almost entirely of huge black granite slabs, block on top of block, and
devoid of any soil or vegetation. In the gloom of the evening it looks forbidding to a degree, and this, coupled with the fact that there is no bird or animal life on it, has always made it an unpopular spot with the aborigines. Since the early days the natives have always declared that a 'debil-debil' lives in the mountain, and the aborigines will not go near it.
THE natives' belief in this 'debil-debil' has been strengthened by the fact
that grim tragedy has been associated with the mountain ever since it has been
known by white men; down the years five white men (three of them with horses)
have completely disappeared at the mountain. They have vanished as if the earth
had opened and swallowed them up, for absolutely no trace of them has ever been
discovered, although in each instance police, black trackers, and hundreds of
local residents scoured the mountain and the surrounding country. The first man to disappear there was Phillip Graynor, a carrier, who vanished when looking for straying horses early in July, 1872; ten years later, in November, 1882, a local settler, named Harry Owens, vanished with his horse when looking for cattle; a month later another settler, George Hawkins, disappeared with his horse; and in August, 1892, a prospector, named James Wren, also vanished. The last known disappearance was in 1928, when a veteran prospector, named G. Packer, disappeared whilst prospecting in the vicinity of the
The disappearances read more like chapters from a book of fairy-tales, and they constitute one of the most amazing stories in the police history of the Far
North, for not one of the mysteries has been solved, and probably never will be.
When the Cook Highway is continued from Port Douglas to Cooktown the road will pass close to the Black Mountain, and this grim pile of granite slabs should prove of interest to geologists and others, in view of the fact that the aborigines declare that the mountain was erected years ago by a now defunct tribe of giants! There is some beautiful country around the mountain — dense forest teeming with marvellous bird and insect life.
UNSOLVED TRAGEDIES of Cooktown's Mystery Mountain Sunday Mail 28 January 1934
A Mountain of Mysterious Tragedy Sydney Mail 27 December 1933
The Road of Tragedy. Grim, Unsolved Crimes of the Black Mountains of the Palmer The Brisbane Courier 25 February 1933
Old Miner Missing The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld 21 May 1892)