Noosa History Facts and Timeline

(Noosa, Queensland - QLD, Australia)

The scenic area known as the Shire of Noosa is one of Australia's most popular destinations along the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. It is best known for recreation, beaches and a superb quality of life.

Though the modern history of Noosa began with the exploitation of natural resources in the area, Aboriginal groups had been previously enjoying its special qualities for many thousands of years. Today, this is mainly a tourism centre known for its lovely national park, spectacular coastal scenery and excellent surfing conditions.

The Kabi

Long before the first Europeans settled down in the Shire of Noosa, that is to say some 40,000 years earlier, the Kabi Aboriginal people had inhabited the area. Their territory extended from Redcliffe in the south near Brisbane, north to Noosa and west to Nambour. The name 'Noosa' is derived from the Aboriginal word 'noothera' or 'gnuthuru', meaning 'shadow' or 'shade'. It is thought that this might refer to the shade and shadows cast by the tall trees in the area.

History of the Aboriginal Festival Spot

The bounty of nature made life fairly easy for the Kabi, who established the Bunya Festival, regarded by many as the world's oldest festival. This event celebrated the harvest of the Bunya nut and attracted Aboriginal tribes from far and wide for its annual festivities.

Rush for Resources

The legendary British explorer Captain James Cook made note of Noosa as far back as 1770, but European settlement in the area did not occur until nearly a century later. Timber was the first resource to be exploited from the region, followed by a gold rush at Gympie, some 67 km / 42 miles to the north-west of Noosa. These early miners and loggers eventually discovered the beauty of local beaches and excellent fishing, thus opening the doors for the concept of tourism in the area.

A Town is Born

By 1877, Noosa's history was beginning to take shape as the land was surveyed and laid out as an official town. In its early years it had two hotels, a school, a police station and a telegraph office. Fishing was the main source of income here, along with continued mineral and timber extraction. However, the remote location of Noosa prevented the town from really growing until the modern era.

From Fishing Village to Tourist Hot Spot

It has only been in the last five decades that Noosa has emerged as a popular Australian tourist destination. The local government knew that there was something special about this place and set aside just over 30 percent of the land for national parks and protected areas.

Noosa Heads is the centre of activity here, having built up a solid infrastructure of restaurants and hotels. Its excellent surfing conditions are celebrated each year with the Noosa Festival of Surfing, while others come for the sheltered beaches or prolific population of koalas in the Noosa National Park, or perhaps the lively calendar of events that gives this spot a real cosmopolitan flair. As the local government seems intent on keeping the region green, its future looks secure for solid tourism growth in the coming decades.