Yorkeys Knob is one of the beach suburbs of Cairns, the regional capital of Far North Queensland, Australia. It is located approximately 13km north of the centre of Cairns, and is the third beach suburb after Machans Beach and Holloways Beach.
The suburb got its name from George Yorkey Lawson, a Yorkshire-born, Cairns-based fisherman who retired to the headland (the Knob) after a fishing accident. Locals are rather attached to the name, despite the reaction it sometimes gets, and recently successfully stopped a developer from advertising a development as being at “Yorkeys Beach”.
Yorkeys Knob on the eastern coast of Australia in the northern part of the State of Queensland is such a name. Westing from the Coral Sea – approaching land from the east, Yorkeys Knob sits very prettily on the hem of the great Barrier Reef. To further enhance a natural beauty it edges into rich coastal flatland running from the foot of a marvellous range straight into the illimitable sea.
The Knob itself is the first headland north of the Harbour of Cairns, a cheeky headland layered in rock with a fuzz of timber. Its boulders tumble into the sea in arrow fashion forming a calm bay on its northern side and giving the surf full play to the south. The bay is called Half Moon Bay because of its crescent-shaped white beach and cradles a tidal river running up to and fed by the massive range. On earth level at any angle or off-shore, the lumpy and picturesque Knob invites an explanation why a man nicknamed Yorkey gave to this Knob a meaning.
It might be assumed that amongst the cosmopolitan insurgence of gold-diggers into Northern Australia during the mid-1800’s was a Yorkshireman called George Lawson. There is no factual information to support this assumption. It was only in the 1880’s that an adventurous hard-living beche-de-mer fisherman nicknamed `Yorkie’ was, by a series of incidents emerging as an identity in the northern waters off the harbour of Cairns.
Yorkeys Knob has two beaches, though only one is really suitable for swimming. You will find the swimming area at the northern end of Sim’s Esplanade. It is now patrolled year round by Surf Lifesaving Queensland, and has a stinger net to protect swimmers from box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri). Trust the lifesavers and swim between the flags – there have been drownings around the rocks just a short distance away. Nearby you will find barbecue and picnic facilities, and public toilets and showers. The beach is lined with she-oak casuarinas, beach almonds, ballnuts and coconut palms. At the southern end it meets Thomatis Creek, which lies between Yorkeys Knob and Holloways Beach.