Silkwood, circa 1930
|LGA(s)||Cassowary Coast Region|
The locality is flat land about 10 metres above sea level and is predominantly freehold land used for farming, particularly the cultivation of sugarcane. The north-western border of the locality is Liverpool Creek, which flows eastward to the Coral Sea. The town is roughly central in the locality with the Bruce Highway passing from south to north just east of the town, while the North Coast railway line also passes from south to north through the town, which is serviced by the Silkwood railway station.
The town takes its name from the name of the house of A. J. Daveson, and refers to a local timber.
Silkwood State School opened on 28 August 1916.
Silkwood was the site of significant Italian immigration in the 1940s.
On Sunday 15 December 1940, Roman Catholic Bishop of Cairns, John Heavey, laid the foundation stone for a church to be dedicated to St John the Evangelist. He returned on Sunday 3 August 1941 to perform the blessing and opening of the Gothic-style church.
St John's Catholic School was founded by the parish priest Father Alfred Natali and the Missionary Franciscan Sisters. It opened on 2 February 1948 with students mostly from Italian families who worked in the local sugarcane industry. The Sisters left the school in 1987, being replaced by lay teachers.
Silkwood State School is a government co-educational primary (P-6) school. In 2015 the school had an enrolment of 60 students with 7 teachers (4 full-time equivalent) and 6 non-teaching staff (4 full-time equivalent). The students are divided into 3 classes, years P-2, 3-4, and 5-6.
St John's School is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cairns and is a co-educational primary (P-6) school. In 2016, the school had 64 students with 8 teachers (7 full-time equivalent) and 8 non-teaching staff (3 full-time equivalent).
The nearest secondary schools are in Innisfail and Tully.
On the first Sunday of May, Silkwood celebrates the annual Feast of the Three Saints: St Alfio, St Filadelfo and St Cerino. In 1939, Silkwood resident Alfia Tornabene (née Patti) had just given birth to a daughter in Innisfail Hospital, becoming seriously ill. Her husband Rosario dreamt of the three saints who reassured him his wife would recover, leading Rosario to vow that he would bring statues of the saints from Sicily to Silkwood if his wife recovered. His wife recovered and in 1947-1948 he organised for an old artisan in Giarre, Sicily, to carve the statues from cherry trees near his family's farm in Sicily as recreations of the statues in the main church of Sant'Alfio. The first celebration of the feast in Silkwood was in 1950. The festival typically consists of a Mass, a procession of the statues through the streets accompanied by bands, feasting, music, dancing and fireworks.
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- "Feast of the Three Saints - ABC Far North Qld - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". www.abc.net.au. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- Girola, Stefano; Giorgi, Piero P (2001). The Three Saints : faith history tradition from Sicily to Queensland /cStefano Girola ; translated by Piero P. Giorgi. Minerva E & S. ISBN 978-0-9586291-2-6.
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