STEP BACK IN TIME
The Atherton Tablelands has become known for its fascinating history that saw the region in Tropical North Queensland boom on the back of its rich mineral deposits at the turn of the century. Today, its history can be explored from Mareeba through to the Southern Tablelands of Yungaburra, Atherton and beyond to Herberton. It all began in 1880 when tin was discovered in what is now the small town of Herberton. This gorgeous country town still retains all its charm and the Historic Village Herberton, a museum with over 60 lovingly restored period buildings that highlights Australia’s pioneering history, is an absolute must see. Yungaburra is another quaint town on the Atherton Tablelands with its lovely streetscape largely unchanged since 1910. With 18 heritage-listed buildings, it is the largest National Trust village in Queensland. In Atherton, a visit to the Hou Wang Temple recalls the history of the Chinese who settled in the region in the late 1800s. The Hou Wang Temple was the social and religious heart of Atherton’s Chinese community. Apart from the temple itself, there was also a community hall, kitchen and a pig oven. The Chinese were considered pioneers of agriculture and by 1909 were responsible for 80% of the crop production on the Atherton Tablelands. Nowadays, the Hou Wang Temple is the only remaining structure of the original town. It is highly significant as a rare example of temples in overseas Chinese settlements. This unique building houses elaborate carvings and has an intriguing past. It was donated to the National Trust of Queensland by the Fong On family in 1979. Few people are also aware of the importance of the Atherton Tablelands region during World War II, when it became the largest military base in Australia. Rocky Creek, a memorial park located between Atherton and Mareeba, hosted between 100,000 and 300,000 troops from 140 different units between 1943 and 1945 when it was a field hospital. Today, dedication ceremonies are held in the park each August on the Sunday nearest VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day. To fully connect, follow up your visit with a trip to the Mareeba RSL, which has excellent historical displays. While in Mareeba, be sure to visit the Mareeba Heritage Museum.
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Historic Village Herberton Mareeba Heritage Centre Rocky Creek Memorial Park Yungaburra Village Hou Wang Temple Malanda Dairy Centre Ravenshoe Visitor Centre Herberton Township Herberton Mining Museum Atherton / Herberton Railway Chillagoe Smelters
See the full Pioneering History Trail on the Discover Atherton Tablelands App.