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The name “Nambour” is derived from the Aboriginal word "naamba", referring to the red-flowering tea-tree (Callistemon Viminalis). The town was originally called Petrie's Creek. It was renamed after the Nambour cattle station in 1891.

The first settler at Petrie's Creek (Nambour) was Mathew Carroll who in January 1870 selected 100 acres (40 hectares), which included the present showgrounds. The family lived in a bark hut where the Nambour Bowling Club is now located, before moving to a house on what became known as Carroll's Hill, & years later, Showground Hill. In 1884 he opened the area's first business, the Tullababa Hotel, on the showground hill. In 1885 a Post Office Receiving Office was opened at Carroll's Hotel with Mathew Carroll in charge.

In March 1870, William Samwell selected 1625 acres in the area of Crescent Drive & called his cattle run "Nambour" & it is from this selection that the Town of Nambour takes its name.

In the same year a third selection was taken up on the south bank of Petrie's Creek, an 80 acre homestead selected by Henry Hootan. It was forfeited in 1872 & re-selected by Thomas Howard in 1877.

In 1878, William Perren selected 338 acres of land along Petrie Creek. Daniel Currie in 1881 took up land on Lamington Terrace in the vicinity of the present Catholic Church. The remainder of the Petrie Creek valley was selected by the early 1880s. In 1886, the Sylvannia (Rosemount) School was opened & children from around Petrie Creek attended the school.

By 1885, 2 sawmills were in operation on the south bank of Petrie's Creek in the Rosemount area, one operated by George Etheridge & the other by James Mitchell & Sons.

The Maroochy Divisional Board was established in 1890, with its headquarters at Nambour. That same year, the railway connection from Brisbane was completed. When it was officially opened in January 1891, Petrie's Creek (the settlement) was renamed Nambour after the cattle run, blocks were subdivided & new settlers commenced clearing the land to grow fruit, sugarcane & farm produce.

After the railway opened, Carroll built a new hotel where the Commercial Hotel now stands & the town started to take shape. The hotel's name was changed from Carroll's Petrie Creek Hotel to Currie's Nambour Hotel. The Currie family, who also gave their name to the main street, were Commission Agents, owned the first general store in Nambour, a butcher shop & later the pub.

Nambour was not surveyed as a Town by the Lands Department. It was established by the subdivision of freehold land by H. Raff in 1889. Mathew Carroll Junior, Bridget Currie & John Currie took up early lots in 1890, which is when the development of the Town began.

In the 10 year period from 1890, the following were established in Nambour: St Joseph's Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Nambour State School, St John's Anglican Church, the Salvation Army Centre, the Moreton Mill, the Police Station & Court House.

The Moreton Central Sugar Mill Company was formed in Nambour in 1894. The mill was built in 1895-96 & commenced operations in 1897. It drew an increasing number of mill & cane workers to Nambour & made it a centre of industry & business. It also brought the introduction of services such as a doctor, chemist & a solicitor.

In the early 1900s, Nambour acquired the Royal Hotel & Alhambra Hall, the "Nambour Chronicle" newspaper, Whalley's Store, Lowe's butcher's shop, a new Post Office, & its first medical officers in Dr Penny & Dr Malaher.

Nambour Railway Station 1920

The district show was held in the Nambour Showgrounds for the first time in June 1909 & has continued to the present day. (Sourced from Maroochy Shire Council)


Riding bikes in Currie St Nambour 1920

Nambour may at first seem to be a semi-sleepy rural town where not much excitement happens, but behind the everyday facade lies a rather colourful & firey history. Back in the last century circa 1913, the first Nambour Town Library was built, followed in 1917 with the building of the first Rural School in Queensland.

Prince Edward visits Nambour 2 Aug 1920
Nambour Town Hall 1917

The town hub blossomed over the ensuing years as a focal point for shopping & business until the disastrous day in January 1924 when a raging fire consumed 17 businesses in Currie Street destroying the town centre.

After the fire in Currie St Nambour 1924

Later, in 1927, electric power was connected to Nambour making life a lot easier for business owners & residents alike.


As fate would have it, in October 1929, Nambour township was devastated by yet another fire, this time demolishing the Town Library, Town Hall (& with it the community picture show) & other businesses including a bank.

Sugar Train heading past the Royal George Hotel Mill St Nambour  1929

In January 1930, the growing town & surrounding region was fortunate to have a hospital constructed, The Maroochy District Hospital, which now dominates the skyline  up on the hill on the left hand side as you drive into Nambour & is now the major public hospital in this area known as Nambour General Hospital. This has been extended over the past years & houses a wide range of services to suit a variety of needs, making it Queensland’s largest regional hospital.

The Club Hotel Nambour 1938

Down on the beachfront at Maroochydore in 1915, Queensland’s second Surf Life-Saving club was established. The club is still an important part of our beautiful coastal strip looking out for the safety & wellbeing of beachgoers on a regular basis. During the 2nd World War, the beaches from Noosa to Caloundra hosted a series of Military Camps to guard our coastline from attack & keep us safe from any lurking enemy.

Once again in 1948, fire in the main Nambour township, this time the Maroochy Shire Chambers in Station Square were severely damaged causing more upheaval & disruption to the CBD.

In 1960, the title ‘Sunshine Coast’ officially came into being & in 1961 Maroochydore was connected to the water supply the area was growing up, maturing & coming of age. The same year, Maroochy Airport opened, tourism was alive & well, we were truly on the map as a desirable holiday destination.

The census of June 1976 showed the population of the Maroochydore, Mooloolaba area to be 10,283. It is hard to imagine how it must have been back then to how the whole area has developed into the tourist mecca it is today.

For hopefully the last time, in 1986 fire struck again, the Nambour Civic Hall & old Council Chambers were irreparably damaged, &  in 1989 they were demolished to be replaced by the New Civic Hall & Centenary Square complex we use & enjoy today.

Nambour Alive Festival Lowe St Nambour 2009

Nambour on the Sunshine Coast is now a thriving, growing, diversified & laid-back-lifestyle area where almost anything you require can be found.



Did You Know?

Did you know that Nambour is the 5th town mentioned in the 1st verse of the original Australian song
‘I’ve been everywhere ’ written by Geoff Mack in 1959 & first made popular in 1962 by Lucky Starr? The song has since been rewritten for numerous countries throughout the world using local placenames.

The original verse starts with…I’ve been to Tullamore, Seymour, Lismore, Mooloolaba, Nambour, Maroochydore, Kilmore, Murwillumbah, Birdsville, Emmaville, Wallaville, Cunnamulla, Condamine, Strathpine, Proserpine, Ulladulla, Darwin, Gin Gin, Deniliquin, Muckadilla, Wallumbilla, Boggabilla, Kumbarilla, etc.