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Kingaroy

South Burnett Net

 Queensland, Australia.
 
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Kingaroy History

Kingaroy Home          Places to Visit         Accommodation          Dining Out         Services and Facilities
 

 Kingaroy was first settled by Europeans in the early 1840's with Henry Russell settling on the Burrandowan spread and followed closely by the Haly Brothers, Charles Robert and William O'Grady, on Taabinga Station. The Taabinga selection was over 300 square miles and stretched from the Bunya Mountains to Tingoora. Slowly over the years the area was reduced by government resumptions to less than 1000 acres as the property now stands today. The resumptions hit all the early settlers in a devastating way but made way for smaller allotments of land sales for newly arriving pioneers in the region.

The Kingaroy Township area was later settled by the Markwell Brothers in 1878. The Markwell Brothers selected an area of the Taabinga lease.

Arthur Youngman then acquired the Taabinga lease and later in 1889 sectioned off the area known by residents as "The Kingaroy Paddock".  Youngman was a most generous gentleman and had foresight well beyond his time. He donated land for all sorts of community purposes including a post office, police station and schools. Taabinga is still owned today by the Youngman descendents and the homestead which is still standing today is a must see destination on anyone's agenda touring the South Burnett.

Dan Carroll is credited with the beginnings of Kingaroy township itself, as early as 1891 he decided to ride over from Nanango, sparking the friendly rivalry between the two towns that still exists today. Apparently the townsfolk of Nanango at the time laughed at his idea of a township at Kingaroy but were soon astounded at the rapid rate of development in the Kingaroy area.

Kingaroy is believed named from the local Wakka Wakka Aboriginal tribal language of "king dhu'roi", which means "hungry ants". Some interpretations have Kingaroy as meaning "place of many ants" or "Place of Red Ants'. Taabinga is believed named from the same language,  dha be'ngga meaning "place of jumping ants. There are many different interpretations today of the Kingaroy name but all seem to stem around the "Ant" theme.

The first settlers in the region ran stocks of sheep and Horses on the leases. This proved to be difficult as labor at the time was scarce. Chinese and South Sea Labour were utilised by these early settlers for shearing and shepherding. The settlers soon found that with disease and the environment,  cattle was a much more viable stock to run on the spreads than sheep. Dairying, Beef cattle and crops soon grew in the area, along with the timber industry, which with the arrival of the railroad to Kingaroy in 1904 soon became a prime industry and impetuous for growth in the region.

The railway was heralded as the savior of the region during the harsh early years. It opened up the frontier for pioneer settlement at a rapid rate, bringing with it industry and small business merchants for the area.

Town allotments were soon measured for sale. Carroll's Cottage in Edward street Kingaroy was the first dwelling built in the and was soon replaced by the owner Dan Carroll by the dwelling that still stands today and can be viewed in it's original glory in Edward Street. Tours can be arranged by contacting the Tourist information service in Haly Street. Carroll also built the Carollee hotel on the corner of King and Haly Street in 1905 to service the new railroad and growing timber industry. This hotel was burned down by fire in 1913 and was replaced by the hotel that is still operational today in 1915.

Fire was a devastating fact of life in the early settling days. Towns like Kingaroy and the surrounding properties had no access to what we call today "A Fire Brigade". Fires were put out by a line of people serving as a bucket brigade. This crude method of firefighting was almost always unsuccessful with the fires easily taking hold of the wooden dwellings filled with combustible items such as kerosene stockpiles and destroying much of the buildings and contents.

By 1908 the town had four hotels and a butter factory and was a thriving community. On January 12th 1912 Kingaroy was proclaimed a shire and the council chambers in Edward Street became the centre for the region. In the late 1870's,

Chinese settlers were believed to be the first to try growing peanuts in Queensland around Cooktown and later around the turn of the new century the first of the white settlers were planting peanut crops. Peanuts were slow to take off as a crop with only 11 acres being planted total over  Queensland in 1900. By 1910 the timber supplies had started to dwindle leaving the area without a major industry. In 1920 only 272 acres had been planted throughout the state which returned only 123 tonnes per year. At that time only one acre of peanuts were planted in the South Burnett. Production reached 246 tons in 1922 and the turnabout came with the Marrickville Margarine Company (Now ETA foods), purchasing the entire peanut crop. In 1924 the Peanut Marketing board was established and the growth of peanuts in the area was well under way.

 Today the huge peanut silos of the former Peanut Marketing Board (now the Peanut Company of Australia) tower over Kingaroy and dominate the landscape for miles around. The aroma of roasting peanuts often drifts through the town leaving a delicious "butter popcorny" scent in the air. The peanut industry today in the area consists of a crop on average of over 35,000 tons.

Another major Agriculture crop in the area is Navy Beans (baked beans) During world war 2 supplies of navy beans were in high demand and the area now produces two thirds of Australia's total Navy bean crop.
 

 
 Page Last Updated 26th Oct 2003
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Copyright 2002 - 2003.  Margaret Holborow.
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  Photo's By  Denise Keelan
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