Through some stories we may learn a little more about the history of our area.

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Take a trip from
Maleny to Wondai

Most of this journey is travelled along the D'Agular Highway.    The D'Agular Highway is one of the main highways running through the Burnett area of Queensland.    It services the area to Kingaroy and beyond.

MOORE is a small town on the D'Agular Highway south of Yarraman.    The town area has a population that can almost be counted on one hand.    It is an important beef cattle area.    It was originally important as timber town.   It was established about 1904 when George Brown formed the Brisbane Timber Merchants, Brown and Broad and established a saw mill at Moore.

Just outside Moore is the Lions International Camp Duckadang.    Camp Duckadang is a recreation and meeting facility that has been owned and operated by Lions Clubs International since 1978.   This camp was established to provide unique educational, recreational and environmental opportunities through the provision of high quality facilities, programs and services for youth, the disadvantaged, community groups and other organisations.

From Moore we travel onto Yarraman.

The timber town of YARRAMAN is located at the junction of the D'Aguilar and New England Highways, approximately 154 kilometres north-west of Brisbane.    Yarraman is one of the major towns of Rosalie Shire and has a population of around 1,400 residents.

The Yarraman area was first settled by Europeans in the mid-1800s  when stockmen from the nearby Taromeo and Cooyar Stations used to meet at the location of present-day Yarraman to separate stock.     Yarraman itself means "wild horse".

The town itself was founded in the late 1890s when the first logging operations were established in the area, and developed into a major railhead in 1913 when Yarraman became the terminus for the Brisbane Valley line.   The railway reached Yarraman in 1913 and closed in 1988.

Photo Right:  When the railway line was closed the corridore was converted to a bike track to tourism.
Photo below:  Remains of a disused rail bridge.

 
 

Yarraman is surrounded by State Forests and it has a rich timber heritage.   Today there are many forest walks ranging in difficulty taking in various state forest paths, including short and easy walks for those of us less fit.

One of its major industries is the Yarraman Sawmill  and the other is the Yarraman Bacon Factory.     There is a great little butchery situated in a side street (next to a general store with a fuel bowser in front) off the main highway.   This shop has a great range of sausages.

Few people realise that Yarraman was an important military depot during WW11.   Yarraman was one of the all important fuel and supply bunkers associated with the "Brisbane Line" policy.   It was to be a major resupply depot for allied forces.

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The Tarong Power Station is located only a short drive to the north of Yarraman.    Many of the workers live in the area around Yarraman.   Local coal is mined at Yarraman for this powerhouse by Pacific Coal.

From Yarraman travelling north we come to Nanango.    NANANGO is the second-largest town in the South Burnett (as well as the 4th oldest town in Queensland) and has a population of around 4,500 residents.

 

Entering Nanango from the south there is a rest area with an outdoor memorial to the timber and gold industries.   There are replica gold mines, miner's hut, timber jinkers and other monuments to those industries.

The area around Nanango was first settled by Europeans in 1847 when John Borthwick and William Oliver from Ipswich took up several very large grazing selections to the west of Taromeo Station (near present-day Blackbutt).

Prospector Jacob Goode built Goode's Inn - the first commercial building in the town - beside a waterhole on Oliver's selection in 1848.

 

The name Nanango has evolved from "Nunangi".    The original settlement near the big waterhole was called Noogoonida by the aborigines.     It means place where the waters gather together - a large lagoon or lake.

The discovery of gold at the Seven Mile Diggings by James Nash in the late 1800s precipitated a population boom, and this accelerated again when Yarraman became the terminus railhead for the Brisbane Valley Line in 1913.

Click here to see some remins of an old gold mining camp

Photo Left:  Typical Countryside around Nanango

Today Nanango's principal industries are power generating, coal mining, agriculture, beef and pork production, dairying and milk processing, timber growing and milling, small crops.

Nanango's buildings are typical of Australian country towns of the 1920's - 1940's.   One of the features of Nanango township is the town's mural walls.   The murals are meant to depict the real lifestyle of early residents of the Nanango area.

From Nanango we travel further north to Kingaroy.

KINGAROY itself is the largest town in the South Burnett and the region's commercial centre, offering all the services, shopping facilities and many of the industries generally expected in much larger centres.     Kingaroy township has a population of around 8,000 people and the shire has approximately 13,500 residents.     It is located at the junction of the D'Aguilar and Bunya Highways approximately 223 kilometres north-west of Brisbane; 160km almost due north of Toowoomba;  140km south-west of Gympie; or 201km south-west of Maryborough.

No visit to Kingaroy is complete without a visit to the Kingaroy and District Bicentennial Heritage Museum, situated across the road from the peanut silos.    Significantly, the museum building is the old Kingaroy Powerhouse.  The museum houses the history of the peanut industry in Kingaroy and has a collection of photographs and objects related to Kingaroy's history.

Traditionally, Kingaroy has always been the centre of Australia's peanut and navy bean industries.   Peauts are an annual frop with planting beginning about October.   The growth period is about 22 weeks when they are harvested and thrashed.    Today there is an expanding wine industry.    Several wineries are located either in or very close to the town, along with the Booie Range Distillery which opened in 2001 - only the third distillery in Queensland.

Rural settlement of the area dates back to 1843 when one of the first selections was made at Burrandowan (west of Kingaroy) by squatter and explorer Henry Stuart Russell.

Simon Scott of Taromeo (now Blackbutt) and the Haly brothers of Taabinga who brought the first flocks of sheep to the area in the late 1850s.

In 1878 the district where Kingaroy now stands was settled by the Markwell brothers.   When the first resumptions were made from the enormous Taabinga holding the brothers selected two adjoining areas and in 1883 these leases were converted to freehold and became known as the 'Kingaroy Paddock'.   The corner of this paddock was located on what is now known as Haly Street, named after the brothers who settled at Taabinga Station about 12km east of present-day Kingaroy.

More recently Kingaroy was the home place of long termed Queensland's Premier, Sir Joh Bejelke-Petersen.   He was the longest serving Premier of Queensland to date.

Kingaroy airport is the home of a fledgling aircraft industry with the commercial construction of The Whitney Boomerang Training aircraft.   It is also the preferred Australian airport for the development and testing of unmanned aerial vehicles.   Testing of these vehicles has already commenced.   Also at the KingaroyAirport is a War Museum dedicated to Kingaroy's involvment in the air war of WW11.

From Kingaroy we travel onto WONDAI.

Wondai Shire has a population of around 4,100 and Wondai township itself has around 2,100 residents.    It has all the regular services such as doctors, hospital, schools, police, ambulance, and shopping centre.

For older people two places of great interest to see at Wondai are the Wondai Historic Museum and the Wood Museum as it will bring back memories opf their youth and younger people will see how their parents lived their lives without all the modern digital equipment that  is available today.   Both places give a great insight into life as it was 50 or 60 years ago.

Wondai Shire was first settled by Europeans in 1844 when pastoralist Richard Jones established a sheep grazing station at Mondure during the heyday of squatting.


Photo above:   Picnic Park in centre of Wondai

 

Photo Left:  Wondai Timber Museum

Photo Below Left:
Wood Carving of Timber worker:

Photo Below: Timberworker boiling the billy

Photo Below 2:   Timberworker's Camp +
Timberworker Carving.

 

   

By the early 1900s the population of the region had gradually swollen to several thousand people, spread amongst the small eastern villages and across the vast cattle stations that stretched between Blackbutt and Gayndah.

 

Photo Above:  Wondai Historical Society

Photo Above Left (2) & (3):
Original Wondai Hospital Surgery

Photo Right: Dentists Chair

Photo Below :   Early Telephone Exchange +
Various Aged Phones

 
 

But it was the arrival of the railways in 1903 that really spurred the development of the townships of Wondai, Murgon and Kingaroy, helping make them what we know today.

The location of present-day Wondai township was first surveyed on the 29th June 1903.    And two weeks after the rail line opened in mid-September that year, the first sale of town allotments took place and building soon began in earnest.    The resumption of large tracts of land which was subsequently subdivided resulting in more intensive land use..

Photo above:  Main highway through Wondai

 

The name Wondai is an aboriginal word for dingo.     The dingo is an Australian native dog, still to be found in the Shire today.

The Queensland National Bank opened a branch in Wondai township in February 1908, and the first town show was held in 1911.

In May 1912 a large fire destroyed much of the Wondai central business district.    

This business district and the state school opened in September 1913.     The town grew slowly (its importance was hampered by the proximity of Kingaroy which is only 30 km to the south) and it wasn't constituted as a shire until 1914.    Today it is a typical rural centre servicing the surrounding properties where peanuts, wheat and cereal crops are grown, and dairy and beef cattle are raised.  

Photo  Right:
Hotel Cecil, Wondai in 2007

 

This is only a quick overview of a trip close by Maleny and the Sunshine Coast.    The area we are visiting is an important agricultural area.    Unfortunately, at this time it is suffering badly from the drought that presently covers most of southern and western Queensland.

 

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Like the naked city there are a thousand stories in the
Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Tell us your story.....
just email those bits to  :  thegrapevine@westnet.com.au