Home » Towns » Queensland » Millaa Millaa, QLD

Millaa Millaa, QLD

Pretty town on the southern edge of the Atherton Tablelands known as the "Village in the Mist".

Millaa Millaa is a small town on the southern edge of the Atherton Tablelands. It is characterised by a wide main street, bedecked by vivid displays of flowering trees and bushes. The town's main attraction is the 17 km Waterfalls Circuit which passes three impressive, and very different, waterfalls.


Millaa Millaa is located 98 km south of Cairns, 821 m above sea-level and  1,648 km north of Brisbane via the Bruce Highway.


Origin of Name

The name Millaa Millaa is said to mean 'waterfalls' in the language of the local Aborigines. Like so many Aboriginal names there is some argument with other sources claiming it is 'a fruit-bearing plant'. Some sources specifically state that it is the fruit of the rainforest vine (Elaeagnus triflora) and it is a word used by the local Mamu people.


Things to See and Do

A Walk Around Millaa Millaa
This short walk, which takes about an hour, starts at the Pioneer Statue of a cow and a dairy farmer at the northern end of Main Street, makes its way down to the Lions Park with Burkies Place (a quiet tropical garden) and the 800 year old Giant Kauri Pine Logs (the tree was destroyed by a cyclone), moves on to the Eacham Historical Museum then continues on the Harold West Walk  through the parkland which lies between Palm Avenue and the Palmerston Highway (this is along St Patrick's Creek) before ending up at the Botanical Walk at the southern end of Palm Avenue.

Eacham Historical Museum
Located at 10 Main street is the Eacham Historical Museum. It is open most mornings from 9.00 am - noon but can be opened on request, tel: (07) 4097 2725. The museum's collection includes interesting local Aboriginal artefacts, an extensive collection photographs and historic equipment from the local area including unusual pieces of equipment from the local butter factory. Check out https://eachamhistorical.org/ for additional details.

The Statues of Christie Palmerston and Pompo
Located in the Lions Park, just beyond the Eacham Historical Museum, is the statue of Christie Palmerston and his Aboriginal companion, Pompo, which was designed by Bryan Newell and the Millaa Millaa Artists Group and funded by the local Lions group. The sign at the sculpture explains that "Christie Palmerston in 1882 was the first European to find and make a feasible track through the 90 km of continuous rainforest between Herberton and what is now Innisfail. The present Palmerston Highway, named in his honour, closely follows the original track. He was the first European to scale Bartle Frere and with others to find payable gold on the Upper Russell River in 1886.
"He did several earlier exploratory trips through virgin rainforest country in North Queensland including marking of the track from the Hodgkinson Goldfields to the coast near Port Douglas and searching the mountains behind Cairns for a possible rail route to the Tablelands.
"He was accompanied as close companion for over five years by an Aboriginal boy in his teens whom he called Pompo. Palmerston had an amazing ability not only to find his way through rainforest but also to work with the Rainforest Aborginals. His writings on the subject have proved a valuable resource for anthropologists as his explorations were at the time."


Other Attractions in the Area

Millaa Millaa Falls Circuit
The Millaa Millaa Falls Circuit is an extension to the north-west of Main Street. The road around the three falls is a total of 17 km. It becomes Theresa Creek Road. The first falls, the Millaa Millaa Falls, are located 3.4 km from town. They are the first of a series of three falls on what is known as 'The Waterfalls Circuit', a circular trip of less than one hour which includes the Zillie Falls and the Ellinjaa Falls. There are seven more sets of falls within the area. 

* Millaa Millaa Falls - the Queensland Heritage Register records that "The Millaa Millaa Falls are approximately 18.3 metres in height and are formed from volcanic basalt which has weathered to create distinctive vertical striations (pipe formations) in the surface of the rock and which gives the falls its pleasing textural backdrop. There is a large pool below the falls that is surrounded by rainforest, except for a grassed viewing area facing the falls and a concrete block pad on the waters edge." For more information check out https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/detail/?id=602449.

* Zillie Falls - located a further 7.5 km from the Millaa Millaa Falls. There is a path from the car park to a viewing platform. It is not possible to swim at these falls.

* Ellinjaa Falls - located a further 3 km from the Zillie Falls. There are viewing platforms at both the top and bottom of the falls and the pool at the bottom is known as a habitat for turtles and platypus.

The Geology of the Millaa Millaa Falls
At the falls there is a detailed sign which explains: "Tablelands are the result of several periods of volcanic activity. The most recent major eruptions were between 4 and 1 million years ago. Lava flowed out from at least six shield volcanoes in the southern Tablelands - Hallorans Hill (Atherton), Bones Knob (Tolga), Malanda, Lamins Hill, Jensenville, Windy Hill (Ravenshoe). The basalts that form the falls come from the Millaa Millaa shield volcano, which is believed to have erupted approximately 1 to 1.5 million years ago.
"As the lava spewed out, it flowed down filling ancient valleys. Later weathering changed the black basalt to red soils, and erosion removed the crater and cut gullies into the mass of lava.
"The wall of the Millaa Millaa Falls is formed by upstream erosion of Teresa Creek which has removed much of the basalt in this location. As the lava surface cooled it contracted and cracked, much like mud cracks form as mud dries out. These cracks propagated down through the basalt flow as it cooled, producing the basalt columns, which can be seen in the rock wall behind the falls."



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Ma:mu Aboriginal people.

* In 1882 the explorer, Christie Palmerston, walked from Innisfail (then called Geraldton) to Herberton. 

* In 1884 Palmerston created a track from Innisfail through Millaa Millaa to Herberton.

* Land around Millaa Millaa was first settled by whites in 1910. 

* In 1911 the Eacham Shire Council was formed. 

* By 1913 there was a population of around 100. Only 6 were women.

* A school was opened in the town in 1918.

* The town's first agricultural show was held in 1919. That year saw the local post office opened.

* In 1921 the railway finally reached Millaa Millaa. That year the Millaa Millaa Hotel opened.

* The Millaa Millaa Sawmilling Company started business in 1924.

* The Methodist Church was consecrated in 1929. 

* In 1930 the Millaa Millaa Butter Factory and Dairy Co-operative opened.

* The Roman Catholic Church was consecrated in 1937.

* In 1947 the Liberty Picture Theatre was opened for business.

* By 1960 there were 130 dairy farms in the district.

* By the 1960s dairy farms were being amalgamated.

* The railway closed in 1964. 

* Cheese production began at the Millaa Millaa Cheese Factory in 1967.

* In 1973 the Millaa Millaa dairy farmers amalgamated with the Malanda Dairy Association.

* The local sawmill closed in 1987.


Visitor Information

Eacham Historical Museum, Main Street, tel: (07) 4096 6239, Open 9.00 am - noon seven days a week.


Useful Websites

There is a useful local website. Check out https://www.athertontablelands.com.au/destination/atherton-tablelands/millaa-millaa.

Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

6 suggestions
  • 570 Old Palmerston Highway once held a shack owned by a man & his wife who was a famous opera singer. Previously the shack as they call it was a meditation centre now the land is proudly owned & re-established by my sister Wanda Harris. There is definitely a history to that place.

  • Bob Pitman was the last gold miner at Douglas Creek. He lived alone in a shack beside the old winding Palmerston Highway.

    Richard Huckett
  • Where can I find out when the old Palmerston Highway was sealed. I think it was probably done during the war years when the army was stationed on the Tableland.

    Bill BRYEN
  • I have a trophy from Millaa Millaa. It is 5 inches high, oblong handle, both sides – Windsor silver plate. 578 on bottom

    ronald nash
  • is there convenience store in town?

    Robyn King
  • Would love to know the Palmerston HWY track before and after.
    I’ve bought a property and has the old HWY as well as many unknown items, built structures and history.