History of Local Towns


Malanda TownshipMalanda, the administrative centre of the former Eacham Shire, was originally known as Tutamoulin, but changed because it was likely to be confused with Tumoulin on the Evelyn Tableland. The Shire was formed in 1911, and at the first meeting at Yungaburra it was decided that Malanda would be the site of the Shire office.

The hotel was opened in December 1911 to cater to the hundreds of navies working on building the railway.

The Malanda area was settled by families from the Northern Rivers of NSW, many of whom walked their dairy herds the 2000 kilometres to their new selections. These dairies supplied the Malanda Butter factory which produced its first butter in 1921. Today, the factory primarily supplies milk and boasts the “longest milk run in the world.”

Millaa Millaa

downtown Millaa MillaaThe early settlers in the Millaa Millaa district, commenced taking up land in 1910 to develop timber and dairy industries. The railway line was extended to Millaa Millaa in 1921 which encouraged the local farmers to erect their own co-operative Butter Factory.

This business evolved into the Millaa Millaa Cheese Factory which distributed cheese throughout Queensland. With the closure of the sawmill and the cheese factory in the 1980s, Millaa Millaa changed to a tourism and service centre for the local area.


Yungaburra - Allumbah PocketOriginally known as Allumbah Pocket, the town was first surveyed in 1886 as part of a village settlement scheme. In 1910, The Tolga-Johnstone Railway was constructed and the town was shifted and centered around the railway station. Because of the confusion with the name of the coastal town of Allumbah, the name was changed to Yungaburra.

Dairy farming and timber milling were the town’s main industries. Today, the heritage listed buildings and the quaint village setting delights visitors.


Ravenshoe 1927Ravenshoe (pronounced ‘ravens-ho’ not ‘raven-shoe’) is at the western edge of the tablelands and is noted for its fine timbers and is known as the ‘Gateway to the Gulf.’

Today the town still products timber and has a growing tourist trade and is the commercial centre for the Evelyn Tableland and the nearby mining area of Mount Garnet.


Atherton 1960Originally called Priors Pocket, Atherton, the central town of the tablelands, grew out of the camps of timber men working the area in the early 1880’s when the cedar was plentiful.

Comparatively unknown before World War 2, Atherton with its satellite township of Tolga, has become the ‘Capital’ of the Tablelands and has grown in reputation for its natural beauty and as a delightful place to live. Today it is the business and commercial centre for the populous southern end of the Atherton Tablelands.


Herberton 1886Herberton was the original town on the tablelands and the pioneers called this district ‘The Land of 1000 Hills’. Its main claim to fame was tin mining, which was found in payable amounts in Prospectors Gully by the Jack and Newell prospecting party in 1880. The town became the main centre for the adjacent tin fields, which includes today’s townships of Watsonville and Irvinebank. With the closure of mining, Herberton has used its history and heritage buildings to develop a tourist trade with a number of museums.


Mareeba 1960The main business and commercial centre of the more arid northern half of the Atherton Tablelands, Mareeba was originally a transport hub for roads and railways to various mining areas before developing a tobacco growing industry with irrigation from Tinaroo.

With the decline in mining about Chillagoe and on the gold fields and the end of tobacco growing, Mareeba and nearby Dimbulah has developed sugar, fruit and other agricultural industries.


Kuranda 1900Kuranda was surveyed in 1888 in anticipation of the development that would accompany the construction of the railway.

Coffee became its most famous industrial product and the town became a ‘hill station’ resort for the people of Cairns seeking to escape the tropical summer heat. This laid the foundations for Kuranda to develop, during the late 20th century, into one of Australia’s most prosperous tourist towns.