Caboolture District history

Aboriginal history

The Caboolture area is the traditional home of the Kabi Aboriginal people. The name "Caboolture" is derived from Kabi words meaning "Place of the Carpet Snake". The Kabi people harvested bush food, fresh water mussels, oysters, fish and some game animals, moving around the land to take best advantage of seasonally available produce.

Each year in March, the Kabi people would hold Bunya Festivals, to feast on the plentiful and nutritious annual nuts of the Bunya Pine. These huge trees provided a food source which could sustain large numbers of people. Neighbouring clans were invited to the festivals, where singing, dancing story-telling, trading and arranging of marriages took place.

Early settlement

The area's first free European settlers, the Archer brothers, moved to the area from New South Wales in September 1841. The brothers took up 'Durundur Station', comprising the entire Woodford district, on the banks of the Stanley River. This was the northernmost settlement in what was then the Colony of New South Wales. The Archers and their employees lived off the land until they could grow crops such as potatoes, melons, pumpkins, and cabbages.

Timber was the principal industry of the area until the 1860's. The valuable red cedar, now very rare in the Shire, provided a good income for the timber getters. The massive logs were rafted down the Caboolture River to Deception Bay, from where they were taken by steamer to Brisbane. Settlers also made good use of the valuable timber, using it wherever possible for houses, barns and even fence posts.

The first Crown Land sold in the area was auctioned in 1864 for one Pound Sterling an acre. Soon, the area had a thriving agricultural industry. The first major crop was sugar cane, and soon wheat, maize and Indian corn were being grown on the river flats. Vegetables were grown for local consumption. After an early unsuccessful foray with a wool industry, damp-susceptible sheep were abandoned in favour of more hardy cattle.

Settlement in Caboolture was accelerated with the discovery of gold at Gympie. In 1868, the town was used as a stop-over point by the Cobb & Co coach service connecting Brisbane, Gympie and Maryborough. This function continued with the rail link established in 1888.

Local government

Local government came to the area on November 11, 1879 with the establishment of the Caboolture Divisional Board. In addition to present-day Caboolture, the Board was responsible for the areas now controlled by Redcliffe and Caloundra City Councils and Pine Rivers, Kilcoy and Maroochy Shire Councils.

In 1902, under the Local Authorities Act, the body's name was changed to Caboolture Shire Council and achieved statutory recognition.

In March 2008, Caboolture Shire Council was amalgamated with the adjoining Councils of Redcliffe and Pine Rivers to create the Moreton Bay Regional Council. This Council covers 2,011 square kilometres, has a population of 337,846 and is represented by a Mayor and 12 Divisional Councillors. The region's growth rate of 4% means the area will be home to almost 490,000 people in 2026.

Today, as many of Queensland's smaller towns decline, Caboolture is experiencing rapid growth. While agriculture retains its importance, it is becoming increasingly urbanised. Several thousand new residents move to the Caboolture district every year, taking advantage of an abundance of affordable real estate and a superb, relaxed lifestyle.