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Abandoned castle in the jungle: How two dreamers created a magical country for the elect

No one is surprised to find an abandoned palace in the Indian jungle or an old temple in the jungle of Mesoamerica. However, stumbling upon a recognizably Spanish castle in the middle of the jungles of Australia seems almost unreal. Spouses Mark and Judy Evans, however, accidentally emerged in the jugles just to the Spanish castle, and soon learned that this castle is a local legend.

There are castles with ominous legends (and there seems to be a majority of these), with historical ones, but the Spanish castle in the jungles of Queensland, a state in the northeast of the Australian continent, was a family legend, moreover, many families at once. Many were indebted to him for happy memories of childhood, first love, wedding vows, or meeting a favorite film.

Queensland in the early twentieth century, except for the largest cities, was not the coziest place to live. That is, inside the house everyone could arrange their own small paradise, but in many of its areas social life was limited to visiting the church – the beaches were unsafe, like the jungle, there were no theaters or cinemas outside the big cities. But agriculture developed – there were a lot of sugar plantations. Initially, convicts worked on them, but at the beginning of the twentieth century both young sons of farmers and visitors from the Pacific Islands and Europe made up the labor force.

One visitor from Spain was called Jose Paronella. He was just going to get some money to marry the bride left in Spain and get his own farm. I must say, trying to accumulate some money, chopping all day in the heat of the reed with a huge machete is not something that can be called an easy way, but Jose was an optimist. He spent his first income on the purchase of a seedy cane farm. He put it in order, sold it and bought a bigger farm.

For eleven years of such a business, he saved up enough money to build a house, and he knew exactly where he wanted to put this house. The locals would consider the idea crazy, but Jose fell in love with the waterfall on Zhestkoy brook (which is known in the world only because of the recently filmed thriller, but it is extraordinarily beautiful) and wanted to put the house right in the jungle. Despite all the living creatures that love to fly out and crawl out of the dense undergrowth.

Jose came to Spain and found that a lot has changed in Europe since 1913. First, the World War began and ended there (then she didn’t have a serial number yet). Secondly, that his bride Matilda managed to fall in love, get married and give birth to children. Thirdly, that the funny girl Margaret, Matilda’s younger sister, is far from being a girl and, moreover, she fully shares Jose’s opinion about the jungle, crocodiles and snakes as something exciting. In general, Jose married Margaret, and they departed for Australia.

There they went to live in the jungle – Jose bought the site, which struck him with its beauty. And within a few years, with the help of two pairs of hands, extracted somewhere of old railroad rails (which served as reinforcement), a large amount of concrete, plaster and optimism, they built a real Spanish castle in the jungle.

It was not just a castle to stand in the thicket and surprise everyone. Jose himself built a hydroelectric power station on the stream and carried electricity to it. The land that was torn during construction around Jose’s Castle was planted with wonderful Australian plants, and along the paths between trees, bushes and flowers one could reach a clean pool (without any crocodiles), a tennis court (unprecedented entertainment in the Australian wilderness), a children’s playground, a dance floor and the cinema for which Paronella themselves bought films. Around the park there were kiosks with food and gazebos for tea parties, and inside the castle you could visit the museum – it consisted of collections of various small things that can be collected in the Australian jungle.

It was, to put it mildly, a business that was not waited or understood in this part of Queensland. The fact that big companies are satisfied with big companies – but built by only two people, a man and a woman. Residents of the area, many of whom were farmers, went to watch the amusement park opened purely out of curiosity – and gasped. For them, having fun with drinks or tea, Paronella Park seemed like a fabulous country, in the center of which stood a real castle (the more luxurious which they never brought to see).

Paronella Park instantly became the center of social life. All the children in the district for the weekend came and came exactly here – and I must say, here their games were.

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