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Tinaroo, QLD

Purpose built worker's town and dam near the famous Cathedral Fig Tree.

Tinaroo Falls, Tinaroo Falls Dam and Lake Tinaroo are names connected to the small modern settlement of Tinaroo which was created to house workers on the Tinaroo Falls Dam. In 1878 John Atherton found tin and gold in the area and he is credited with naming the town as a kind of combination of "tin" and "kangaroo".
Tinaroo Dam is one of the major irrigation water storages in Queensland. It was created by damming the Barron River. The aim was to supply reliable water for local tobacco farming (the tobacco farming stopped in 2003 and the land is now used as general purpose irrigation water) and to supplement the supply of water to the Barron Gorge Hydro-Electricity Station.
The town of Tinaroo has grown over the years so that now it offers a pleasant escape from the heat of the coast. Its setting on the shores of the artificial lake is really beautiful and locals, aware that there is a passing tourist trade, have attempted to cater for differing needs.

Location

Tinaroo is located 15 km north-east of Atherton and 1,696 km north of Brisbane.

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Origin of Name

The town takes its name from a creek where John Atherton found tin and gold in 1878. Atherton is credited with naming the creek Tinaroo. Some sources suggest that he used "tin" and "kangaroo" to create the name.

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Things to See and Do

Tinaroo Township
The town of Tinaroo is a small community (around 200 people) on the shores of the artificial lake is really beautiful and locals, aware that there is a passing tourist trade, have attempted to cater for differing needs. There's a very peaceful caravan park nestled in the trees. 

Tinaroo Falls Dam and Lake Tinaroo
Lake Tinaroo is an artificial lake created in the 1950s by the damming of the Barron River. Today it has camping facilities (there are five camping areas) around the shoreline and is popular with swimmers, walkers, anglers, bird watchers, walkers and people wanting to have a picnic beside the waters. 
The Tinaroo Falls Dam, a concrete gravity structure, was built between 1953 and 1958. The dam wall is 42 metres high and 533 metres long. It was constructed with 223,000,000 cubic metres of concrete. The lake spreads across 3,500 hectares and holds 438,919 megalitres.

Barramundi Fishing
Since 1986 the blessed fish of the north, the barramundi, have been breeding in the lake. Today they are one of Lake Tinaroo's prime attractions. The local website - http://www.tablelands.org/laketinaroo - describes the Barra fishing as "Lake Tinaroo is regarded as the best barramundi fishing in the world. The barramundi here cannot breed because the water is only fresh. (Barramundi need a salt and fresh water environment to breed) Therefore, the lake is stocked annually with baby barra that grow into monsters bigger than anywhere else in the world. The world’s biggest barras have been caught here by keen anglers – visit the local store and see all the photos on the wall of proud fishers wrestling with their fish that are bigger than their boats."

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Other Attractions in the Area

Cathedral Fig Tree
About 32 km along Danbulla Forest Road, which winds around Lake Tinaroo from Tinaroo to Yungaburra, is the Cathedral Fig Tree. It is only 38 km from Tinaroo via Yungaburra on a road which runs from the Gillies Range Road to the east of Yungaburra (turn at the Boar Pocket Road which becomes the Danbulla Forest Road) and is partly sealed and partly dirt. It winds through a variety of vegetational zones from rainforest  to the precisely planted pine forests which are administered by the Atherton Forestry Office. Only a few kilometres from the Gillies Range Road is a sign to the 500-year-old Cathedral Fig Tree, a huge strangler fig which is particularly impressive because visitors can walk inside it and look up at the walls of roots. It is surrounded by rainforest.

Lake Euramoo
Located 25 km from Tinaroo on the Danbulla Forest Road, is the beautiful crater lake, Lake Euramoo. Lake Euramoo (it is known to the local Yidinji Aborigines as Ngimun), like so many lakes on the tablelands, is volcanic in origin. It is contained in a double explosion volcanic crater (which gives it a dumbbell shape) and is recognised as one of the youngest geological features on the Atherton Tablelands. It is thought to be little more than 10,000 years old. It is a popular haunt for bird watchers and an ideal place for a relaxing walk through the bush. The local Aborigines explain the formation of the lake as a story about how "two newly-initiated men broke a taboo and angered the rainbow serpent Yamany, major spirit of the area ... the camping-place began to change, the earth under the camp roaring like thunder. The wind started to blow as if a cyclone were coming. The camping-place began to twist and crack. While this was happening the sky lit up like a red cloud. The people tried to run from side to side but were swallowed by a crack which opened in the ground ...". This raises a fascinating question. How many Aboriginal legends are based on fact because this is a very accurate description of exactly how the double lake might have been formed. Beside the viewing platform at Lake Euramoo there is an "Arbour Walk" which passes beside many of the trees which have grown up beside the lake including red cedar, tulip oak, northern silky oak, mahogany and rose butternut.

Tableland Heritage Centre
Located 5 km along Willows Road (it runs off the Kennedy Highway north of Tolga), the Tableland Heritage Centre describes itself as "a fun journey into our farming history'. It has such wonders as old tractors, a 1910 peanut thresher, horse drawn carts, heavy horses, early milking machines, a corn picker, water pumping equipment and a Noah and his Ark playground. It is an ideal place for children. Open seven days a week from 7.00 am - 5.00 pm, tel: (07) 4095 4128.

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History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was occupied by the Yidinji Aboriginal people.

* James Venture Mulligan explored the area in 1875.

* John Atherton found tin and gold in 1878. Atherton is credited with naming the creek Tinaroo.

* The area's location near Tinaroo Gorge and the headwaters of the Barron River saw it chosen for a dam after World War II.

* Tinaroo Dam was started in 1955 and completed in 1958. The dam was built specifically for irrigation of the local area.

* The town was built in the 1950s to house 700 employees involved in the construction of the dam.

* In 2003 farmers stopped growing tobacco in the local area.

* The Tinaroo Hydro Power Station became operational in 2004.

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Visitor Information

There is no Visitor Information Centre in Tinaroo. For information check out the Atherton Tablelands Visitor Information Cetnre, cnr Main and Silo Roads, Atherton, tel: 1300 366 361 or (07) 4091 4222.

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Useful Websites

There is a useful local website. Check out http://www.tablelands.org/laketinaroo.

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