Friday, 10 February 2012

Tablelands on Friday: Yungaburra, part 1

The town of Yungaburra (population 1030) grew from a rest stop for miners on their way up to the tin and gold fields to the north and west. Today it is a farming community and a popular hill station for visitors from the coast, who want to escape the summer heat.

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Originally called Allumbah, the name was changed in 1910 to avoid confusion with Aloomba, a town near Gordonvale. (Not long before, a cargo ship bound for Geraldton, Western Australia, had docked at Geraldton, Queensland. The latter was renamed Innisfail to stop that sort of thing happening again.)

European settlement began in a serious way in the 1890s.  The first permanent residence went up in 1903. Five years later, it was demolished to make way for the railway line, permanence having a looser meaning in those days. Many of the buildings from that early wave of settlement are still in use.

I'll take you on a tour of town. This will have to spread over two posts, because there are a lot of pictures.  (Apologies for the quality of some of the images.Today was very overcast. And then it rained. And I got very wet.)

A: The Country Women's Association (CWA) Hall is one of the newer buildings in the centre of town. It was constructed just before World War II.

B and C: The Whistle Stop Cafe is in the former Bank of New South Wales (1912). The Lake Eacham Hotel (Yungaburra Pub) opened in 1910 and expanded in 1926. (The figs in front of the pub are a good place to spot fig parrots, but don't park under them when the trees are in fruit.)

D: Cedar Street is lined with many of the older buildings. The stores date back to the mid 1920s. The pharmacy occupies what was once a tailor's shop. The pump and irrigation store (surely the most picturesque in Australia) is in the old billiards saloon and hairdressers. If there is a better combination of uses, I'd like to know about it. (Regulars to the Tablelands will remember it as the Burra Inn, which was also a very fine use of the building.)

E: Further along Cedar Street are the former auctioneer's office and the cafe that serviced the Tivoli Cinema. These are single skin buildings with exposed framework, a common construction technique in tropical Queensland.

F: The Community Hall was built in 1910 on the other side of the pub. It was moved to Cedar Street in 1925. The stone fire wall was constructed when the cinema opened in the Hall in 1928. (The writing on the car says I hope I get to heaven B4 the Devil knows I'm dead.)

G: The Post Office went up in 1926. (Sorry about the bins.)

H: Police stations all over rural and regional Queensland look like this. The current police station once doubled up as a cop shop and a courthouse. Despite a constable being appointed in 1913, there was no dedicated justice building until 1921. The government had decided that there were simply not enough people in the area to justify forking out for a brand new courthouse. They could all go to Atherton and be happy about it. This incensed the locals. As a compromise, the old Yungaburra school (built 1909) was dismantled and reconstructed on site. The copper, the clerk of petty sessions and the dairy inspector all had their offices in the building.

There are many other lovely timber buildings along Cedar Street, but most of them are private residences, so I didn't take photos. You can look at them on Google Street View. Next week, I'll take you for a stroll along Eacham Road, Yungaburra.

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