Throughout the 20th century, in reference to Fern Gully, there was the on-going counterpoint of expressions of enthusiastic admiration for it, with the fears of continuing destruction of its vegetation by storms, traffic, and invasive activities by residents of the area.
These contrasting commentaries have continued into the new century.

       first two decades
'On the other side of the island — from Ewarton over to Mount Diablo down to the north shore there was a pretty stretch of land. 
The Fern Gully was simply unsurpassable anywhere. Along the 
coast from Annotta Bay to Port Antonio there were a great many beautiful places.' 
                                                      Mr. John Wilson, of Edinburgh, formerly one of the members of Parliament                                                     for that city, in a lecture on Jamaica in tbe Institute of Jamaica, March 4, 1902

Bessie Pullen-Burry

Jamaica as it is, 1903

p 193-4

The chief charm of this long day was the road leading through Fern Gully down to the  small town of Ora Cabessa [the author, oddly, got this wrong; even in 1903 this should read 'Ocho Rios'], on the north side of the island. You drive between enormously high cliffs covered with every variety of fern; the moisture and shade causes their growth to be quite gigantic, and you look up to the bit of blue sky overhead through the interlacing and waving greenery of countless tropical plants.

Ethiopia in Exile, 1905

p 96

From Montego Bay the traveller can return by a series of drives along the northern coast, or, after passing Falmouth, he can strike inland towards Brown's Town, from which spot a drive of thirty miles or so through the parish of St. Ann would bring him to Moneague Hotel. Here a stay of a day or two should include a drive through Fern Gulley, where the tropical tree-ferns and maidenhair grow so luxuriantly on the high banks on either side as almost to exclude the penetrating rays of the sun.
Catering for tourists

At this period Fern Gully was one of the important tourist attractions which the owners of hotel accommodation inevitably mentioned in their advertisements, as the Moneague Hotel had done for the previous decade, and continued to do well into the future.
            Daily Gleaner, December 29, 1903
             Daily Gleaner, November 12, 1906
                 Daily Gleaner, January 20, 1905 
          'Green Leaf' again:

'Jamaica is one of the richest fern-bearing  areas in all the world. Botanists made Fern Gully a mecca of study because there 
they found enormous variety of fern species 
concentrated in a small accessible site.'
Writing as 'Green Leaf'
in 1961, Aimee Webster
DeLisser, who was born
in 1909, could have been referring to this photo,
or its twin.
    the young journalist 
'The Postcard  album was inevitable among knick knacks of drawing-rooms when I was young. In our 

album, among views of foreign cities, buildings, 

lakes, rivers and other landmarks sent to us by the 

rare travellers of those far-off days, was a single 

Jamaican scene - that of Fern Gully.

How vividly I remember it! A buggy sat like a 

ridiculous decoration among fronds which seemed almost to be shaking hands across the road. That 

lush verdure I never saw. My mother stated 

categorically that too many people passed in too 

many cars "and so the ferns are dying."

(more on that 1961 article later!)

                                'Fern gully was a dream of beauty.'
                                                                          (tourist comment, 1902)
 Damage from hurricanes, and other problems:
 In 1903 Jamaica suffered a direct hit from a major hurricane, in many ways similar to that by Gilbert in 1988. Although there was widespread damage in St Ann, I have not, so far, found any reference to the impact on Fern Gully specifically. In 1909 a late season hurricane, in early November, caused considerable damage in the eastern parishes of the island.
August 1903
this hurricane really hit the island directly!
 In 1908 the Jamaica Tourist and Motor Guide: A Complete Guide to the Island of Jamaica gave visiting motorists advice on driving on the roads of the island:
'Take water before going through Fern Gully. Use chains if road is wet.'

This advice was presumably based on the nature of the motor cars of the time, but perhaps also on the known problems caused by heavy rains.

 The problems of 1909-10
In mid-1909 attention was drawn to deteriorating conditions in Fern Gully. In the following year Government, through the Department of Agriculture, took over some responsibility for Fern Gully, allocating £50 for the work needed. A major part of the problem was caused by the incursion of neighbouring small-holders into the Gully. Press reports of the problem can be read HERE
 The problems of 1912-15
1912 was a fairly quiet hurricane season, but the seventh and last hurricane of the season, which was the worst, hit Jamaica on November 17-18; it was  a Category 3 hurricane that moved very slowly along the north coast of the island. It had formed north of Panama and strengthened slowly, crawling towards Jamaica with sustained winds of 115 mph and then moving slowly across the island.
Naturally the effects of this hurricane were felt in the following years, and it seems clear that no real decision had been made as to who was responsible for the restoration and upkeep of Fern Gully.  For more details click HERE
November 1912

a different view of this hurricane's fate!

Then in three successive years, 1915, '16 and '17, Jamaica was hit by serious hurricanes: 
August 1915

again, a bit too far north of the island, probably!
September 1917

once again, probably a bit too far north.

Daily Gleaner, August 18, 1915

At Ocho Rios.

(From our Correspondent.)

Ocho Rios; August 14.—As like other parts of our island, from midnight on Thursday last until daybreak, we

experienced our share of the hurricane, the wind blowing at the start from the north, and changing to a north-

easterly direction. A good deal of damage has been sustained by those residing near the sea, resulting in the

loss by the rise of the tide, in complete destruction of two cottages and several outbuildings

 . . .

Damage to cultivations: We have had no reports of the interior, but all the nearby plantations, Buckfield, Shaw

Park, and others, have been clean swept of all banana cultivations.

Our cocoanuts have suffered destruction, but not to any material extent.

Not much damage has been done to the main roads at this end, beyond a big land slide at a spot known as Dr.

Gibson's Curve, along the Saint Ann's Bay Road.

Daily Gleaner, August 18, 1916

News From Ocho Rios.

(From our Correspondent.)

Ocho Rios. Aug. 16. - No telegraphic communication available to-day so hasten to report results as yet

known of the severe blow experienced during last night. Yesterday at about 12 a.m. High winds started, but although receiving the usual storm notices from the office no particular alarm was exhibited

by us until about 6 p.m., when we then fully realized that we were in for another hurricane which indeed

has come. 

All bananas in and around our district are blown down. Coconuts have also suffered and quite a lot of other

staple plants. Reports as yet from the country parts state that the blow and its effects are more disastrous

among the peasantry than others. Breadfruit, pears and yam plants, all smashed up; what little pimento there might have been is all gone and in several places quite a lot of trees have been rooted up. No loss of life reported.

Daily Gleaner, August 22, 1916

The Food Situation.

(From our Correspondent.)

Ocho Rios, Aug. 19.—Further news of the effects of our late hurricane confirm the fact that the people

living on the hills have sustained very serious damage to their crops, which make certain a shortage of foodstuff for the coming year. The market to-day was filled with storm-blown fruit and other commodities,

all of which can only last for a fortnight longer, when the question of a regular food supply will prove a

knotty problem for the poorer ones chiefly.

The banana cultivators of our district are undecided as to whether they will continue the cultivation or not,

as conditions for the last two years have been most ruinous, no sale  whatever, and hurricanes in quick


Daily Gleaner, September 26, 1917

News from Ocho Rios.

(By Telegraph From our Correspondent.)

Ocho Rios, Sept. 24: - Not many hours after the storm notice was given out on Saturday evening, rain and

high winds started here, and at about 3 a.m., on Sunday, winds increased with hurricane velocity.

The bananas are all blown down. Cocoanuts have not suffered as severely as last year. No loss of life on sea or land has been reported. 

Clearly these years, during World War One, were very difficult for Jamaicans, who had much more to worry about than the preservation of Fern Gully, which does, however, seem to have emerged from the troubled decade still a major attraction.
Even when the Moneague Lakes appeared after the hurricanes of 1915, 1916 and 1917 
Fern Gully remained one of the Hotel's main attractions.
A story for another day . . .
As Tony Porter writes in his recently published book -
Bricks and Stones From The Past, Jamaica's Geological Heritage

"What is not widely known, however, is that during an eight-month period between 1915 and 1916 a feature film, The Daughter of the Gods, starring Annette Kellerman, was shot in Jamaica by Fox Film Corporation and one of the main locations was Fort Augusta. In bidding farewell to the people of Jamaica in April 1916, Mr Herbert Brenon, the director, remarked, 'It has been my duty to handle many thousands some days at Fort Augusta, so all told I have handled close to 150,000. This is no exaggeration when one thinks of the many days I had 3,000 at a time. To these men I send a message of thanks.'
Unfortunately, this ten-reel black-and-white film from the silent-era days is lost, since no copy is known to exist, although one reel is is believed to be present in a Russian archive. The movie is said to have cost about US$1 million to produce, and the studio head, William Fox, was allegedly so incensed that he removed Brenon's name from the list of credits, but Brenon sued and won."

 As the film crews arrived in late 1915 the following suggestion was made for the use of Fern Gully as a location -
'Fern Gully is on the programme for some scenes, it will be used as a roadway to the Gnome Village, and on one of these fine sunny days it will be the scene of the parade of the Gnomes - five hundred of them on little donkeys, led by the Dream Girl. They will be shown riding up the gully.'
Daily Gleaner, December 20, 1915

However I have not yet found any account of the shooting of such scenes.
 more about . . .
"Daughter of the Gods"
 '. . . he had seen no scenery on this globe that
could surpass the fern gully of Jamaica.'

                                                                                                (Colonel Bullard) Daily Gleaner, June 11, 1915