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Nanango, QLD

Quiet country town north of Toowoomba

Nanango is a sleepy little country town which is a typical service and administrative centre for the surrounding shire. Today the town is surrounded by rural industries which include beef and pork production, dairying and milk processing, timber, small crops, grapes and olives.

Location

Nanango is located 345 m above sea-level and 190 km north-west of Brisbane via the Bruce and D'Aguilar Highways.

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Origin of Name

The town takes its name from the Nanango pastoral run which was established in 1842 by William Oliver. It is believed that Oliver took the name from the local Waka Waka word meaning either "a waterhole" or "an Aboriginal elder".

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Things to See and Do

Historic Buildings
Don't expect to see too many historic buildings in Nanango. There was a devastating fire in 1940 and most of the historic buildings on the south side of Drayton Street were destroyed. There are three interesting building that remain:

Nobby's Corner Store
Located on the corner of Drayton and Henry Streets it was originally built in 1914 and managed to survive the fire in 1940 which decimated Nanango. It is a fine example of a solid, old-fashioned, country-town corner store.

Fitzroy Hotel
Located appropriately in Fitzroy Street, the Fitzroy Hotel was built in 1913 and has remained unchanged. It is a near-perfect example of what a Queensland country hotel was like before the outbreak of World War I.

Nanango Court House
Located at 30 Henry Street this timber building, constructed as recently as 1937, is described in the Heritage Register as "a symmetrically-planned timber building with a corrugated-iron roof and a wide verandah on three sides. The roof is low-pitched, with prominent gables and wide overhanging eaves. The verandah roofs are supported by grouped timber posts. The projecting entrance is distinguished by a small gable on paired timber posts. Behind it is a half-gabled roof. The main ridge of the roof is surmounted by a large ventilator, with a flagpole, which forms the dominant decorative element of the building." It reflects the style of government architecture in Queensland in the 1930s.

Ringsfield Historic House
Ringsfield Historic House is a glorious Queenslander which was designed by the architect Robin Dods in 1908 and is notable for its wide verandas, bay windows and large bedrooms. It has an extensive collection of historical photographs and the surrounding historic precinct includes "a replica coach house (built from materials rescued from the demolished 100 year old Nanango Show grandstand), a cream shed, a slab shepherd's hut, the town's original Presbyterian Church and Nanango's oldest surviving building - the State School built in 1866."

The extensive and impressive gardens were designed in 1993 by landscape architect, Jeremy Ferrier. It is now the headquarters of the Nanango Historical Society. It is open from 10.00 am - 2.00 pm Monday to Saturday.

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Other Attractions in the Area

The Palms National Park
Located 38 km north of Crows Nest and 48 km south of Nanango (8 km from the New England Highway south of Cooyar) is the Palms National Park, a small 12 ha park with a small remnant of Piccabeen palms surrounded by a belt of subtropical rainforest with a number of huge Moreton Bay figtrees. It is a quite magical vine forest in a spring-fed gully where birds, frogs, bats and other wildlife can be seen and heard on an impressive rainforest boardwalk through the Piccabean palms. For more details and a downloadable map check out http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/palms/.

Maidenwell
Maidenwell is located 28 km from Nanango on the Tarong Road. The town's main attraction is the Coomba Falls with their deep, very cold, natural swimming hole. They are located 2 km from town via a road which runs next to the Maidenwell General Store and reaches a car park above the falls. There is a new stairway down to the swimming hole where the waterfall cascades over volcanic rocks. There is a very detailed description at http://www.weekendnotes.com/coomba-falls/ which will tempt you to take your swimming gear.

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History

* Prior to European settlement the area was occupied by people from the Waka Waka Aboriginal language group.

* In 1842 Queensland was opened to free settlement and within months three famous properties were claimed in the region. Taromeo was 200 square miles (518 square kilometres) and was taken up by Simon Scott who used it to raise sheep.

* By 1843 John Borthwick  had taken up Tarong station and William Oliver was grazing sheep on Nanango station.  Nanango was the smallest property. It covered 195 square miles (505 square kilometres).

* In 1848 a gold prospector named Jacob Goode established a traveller's rest house at 'Nooganida' on the banks of Barker's Creek on the Nanango run. It became a popular meeting place for people working on the three large properties.

* In 1850 William Oliver built a red cedar dwelling to which he later added a stone store, stables and blacksmith's shop. Today it is still possible to visit the store which has been turned into a museum and the nearby private cemetery which is enclosed by stone walls.

* By 1851 Goode had a licence to sell alcohol. Thus Nanango came into existence around Goode's Inn. It has been described as Queensland's fourth oldest town. Goode's Inn was a resting place for the local labourers and shearers.

* In 1861 the town was officially surveyed. The first lots were sold in 1862.

* In the 1860s gold was discovered at Seven Mile Diggings and gold prospectors, brought to the area by the wealth of Gympie, rushed to exploit the deposits in the streams and gullies around the town. The district's population rose as 700 miners, many of whom were Chinese, arrived to try their luck.

* In 1866 a school was opened.

* By 1877 farm selections were taken up. This was part of a closer settlement pattern of the district.

* In the 1880s there was some reef mining but the goldfields were short-lived.

* The major change in the area came in the first years of this century when a lot of the land held by the early pastoralists was resumed and subdivided for more intensive agriculture.

* In 1899 the Nanango News was first published.

* In 1906 a large butter factory was opened.

* By 1911 the railway from Kingaroy had reached the town.

* In 1913 the Fitzroy Hotel was completed and the following year Nobby's Corner Store was opened.

* In 1986 the Tarong Power Station was opened.

* Today the town is a typical rural service centre supporting the local industries which include beef and pork production, dairying and milk processing, timber, small crops, grapes and olives.

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Visitor Information

Nanango Visitor Information Centre, Henry Street, tel: (07) 4171 6871.

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Useful Websites

The Australian Heritage site - http://www.heritageaustralia.com.au/search.php?state=QLD&region=82&view=1209 - is useful. The local website - http://tourism.southburnett.com.au/townnanango.htm - includes useful information on accommodation and eating out.

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1 suggestion so far
  • Recommend the Homestead Caravan Park. Stayed in a new one bedroom cabin more like a unit, not a cabin. Very quiet. Owners are very helpful and hospitable.

    Louise Holden