Timeline of Noosa: 1900-1949 Timeline of Noosa: 1900-1949


The new Tewantin hotel with 14 bedrooms on two levels was opened on an acre of land close to the river. It was owned by Daniel Martin. For many years thereafter Tewantin had only two hotels: the Tewantin and the Royal Mail. The Royal Mail Hotel, built in 1881, was destroyed by fire in 1939, and was replaced by a brick building in 1941. The Tewantin Hotel burnt down in 1940 and was not replaced.



On 8th June the Lands Department opened 6,000 acres at Kin Kin for selection. The majority of the interested buyers came from the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. They began clearing scrub systematically in order to create grazing land for dairy cattle. Within six weeks 2,000 acres of scrub had been cleared. By August ten bullock teams were busy hauling logs from Kin Kin.

John Slade erected a store at Kin Kin.


Kin Kin experienced a construction boom. The surveyors were working at Sister Tree and Wolvi in order to prepare further selections.

The settlers planted Paspalum at the places where they had burnt fallen timber.

H. Nash, the son of James Nash (who had discovered Gympie’s goldfield), was bitten by a snake on his selection.

C. Hetherington set up a sawmill at Wahpunga.



The population of Kin Kin had reached about 350, of which 80 were farmers. Ten of the farmers were sending cream by rail to Gympie.Cooroy Estate was made available for selection under the Closer Settlement Act. 

The land was sold quickly. The buyers petitioned for mail and rail services. The first building on the estate was a bark humpy on skids. It was used as a camp by James Duke, who later became the first Shire Chairman. Subsequently, the humpy housed the office of the Bank of New South Wales. When the estate became heavily built-up it was simply towed off by bullock to a new site.

The land surrounding Cooroy was originally a timber lease owned by Dath, Henderson & Company Limited. It was purchased by the Government on 29th July, surveyed and made available for buyers.


The Shire of Noosa was created out of an area previously belonging to Widgee (now Cooloola Shire) and a small strip along the northern border of Maroochy (now Sunshine Coast). Noosa's population at the time was about 2,000.

At the first local government election on 22nd April nine Councillors were elected. James Duke became the first Shire Chairman. The bridge at Gympie Terrace, Noosaville, is named after him, in his memory. The first Shire Clerk was Mr E.A. Edwards who held office until 1946.

The majority of the Council members lived at the southern end of the Shire. Therefore one of first acts of the Council was to establish office at Cooroy. Those who lived in the northern and central part of the Shire though preferred Pomona to be the Shire centre. In an attempt to make the decision irreversible the town of Cooroy immediately began the construction of an office building for the Council. Almost overnight the frame of the building was erected. However, the Home Secretary ordered building to stop pending a referendum on the question. The result was that Pomona became the Shire centre. In 1911 the Council took up its duties in a newly constructed office building there.

In 1910 the Shire boasted about half a mile of gravelled road and only six bridges. The little traffic (mostly bullock teams) simply followed tracks through the scrub. The new Council took out two loans, each of £2,000, to open up roads in the district.


The Council purchased a road grader, drawn by a team of bullocks.


The Council started lobbying its counterparts between Brisbane and Gympie to combine forces for the construction of a "Great Northern Road". This project eventually resulted in the Bruce Highway.


Former Queensland Treasurer Sir Thomas Hiley once reminisced about transportation in the area during the 20s. At that time he had to travel from Brisbane to Noosa and he found that the journey had changed little since 1891 in mode and duration. The first leg by train to Cooroy alone took Hiley over four hours. It was followed by a bus transfer to Tewantin where he stayed overnight. The next morning he boarded a motorboat (groceries, fruit and vegetables having been loaded first) that took him down the winding river and dispatched him onto a sand bank from where he carried his luggage to Laguna House, his destination. In those days Laguna House offered full board and lodging for £2.15s a week.


Pomona's Majestic Theatre was constructed. It is still in use and reputed to be the longest continually operating cinema in Australia and the only original fully operational silent movie theatre in the world.

During the Second World War local Army camps practically took over the cinema seven nights a week to entertain troops thus depriving local residents of the amusement.

The original Bruce Highway passed in front of the Majestic Theatre in what is now Factory Street. As no lights were installed inside the cinema the patrons kept the doors open during the shows. This attracted huge crowds trying to watch the movies from the outside which at times completely blocked the highway traffic. One enterprising Kin Kin resident would equip his truck with garden chairs, fill them with paying customers and cart them over the range to the movies.


The construction of the Cooroy-Tewantin Road began.


Charlie Freeman started a banana plantation on Noosa Hill. Despite a long legal battle, this site has been developed.

The Council discussed a proposal to provide the townships of Cooran, Pomona and Cooroy with electricity. However, the offered tariffs were deemed too heavy to proceed. The supply of electricity was finally agreed to in 1939.


The Noosa Heads Surf Club was founded. It began its activities with a tent on the beach only. In 1928 it moved to a wooden clubhouse, nearly 100 metres in front of the present Clubhouse. Twice over the years it had to be moved back to save it from encroaching seas. The original old Clubhouse has been moved and is today home to the Brite Side recycling group's very popular Tip Shop at the Council's Eumundi Road Landfill.

Australian Paper Manufacturers were felling native forest to introduce pine plantations.

Open season was declared on koalas and consequently most of them were slaughtered. However, some sources claim that the koala population had already been decimated between 1918 and 1920 by the so-called Spanish Flu, which had killed more than 40 million people in Europe and England as well as many aboriginals. Nevertheless, the koalas also had friends. In the 1930s, young members of the Monks family used to feed the local koalas milk out of saucers at their dairy in the Weyba area. In the 1960s a new koala population was introduced to Noosa at the instigation of conservationist Dr Arthur Harrold A.M. and local conveyancer Max Walker. As a result of their lobbying, the State Government's Department of Agriculture and Stock built special carrying cases and brought six koalas from Caboolture and one joey to Noosa which Dr Harrold and Mr Walker released into Noosa National Park.


The Noosa Council succeeded in selling a big estate to developer T.M. Burke & Co. The reports differ in the details as to the size of the estate (447 or 700 acres) and the price per acre (£28 or £43). However they agree that the total selling price amounted to £12,500. All but five per cent of the acquired sum was to be spent immediately for the construction of pile bridges over Lake Doonella and Weyba Creek and of the road from Tewantin to the estate. The estate was subsequently called "Noosa Beach" and is now known as the area between Peregian and Sunshine Beach.


The new "humpback" bridges over Lake Doonella and Weyba Creek were completed. T.M. Burke also upgraded and metalled the road between Tewantin and their new estate. In return, the Noosa Council sold them another 470 acres of land at Coolum Beach (now Sunshine Beach).



By the 1930s J.H. (Harry) Johns owned a shop on the dunes in Hastings Street, opposite Laguna House. Soon he added a kerbside petrol pump to his business and later a café. His residence next door became the non-official post office in the beginning of 1935, exchanging mail daily between Tewantin and Noosa. A telephone office was justified in 1937, the sale of postal notes approved in 1938 and in 1948 money orders were added to the dealings as well as the sale of wireless licences.

Harry Johns' brother Cyril also opened a shop in Hastings Street in the 1930s a few of allotments along from his brother. This shop became known as the Noosa Store. A small narrow post office was later built next door, the two becoming the post office store until in 1969 the post office agency moved to the Noosa-Tewantin Road, below Halse Lodge. It may have changed physically over the years, but the Noosa Store still continues in business on the same site.


The Boreen Point Estate was up for sale at the beginning of the year. The lots sold slowly because of the effects of the depression. The estate had originally been selected by Mr Goodchap, a partner in McGhie, Luya And Co., for residential use and occupied by ‘dummy’ resident, Mr Breen. In 1908 Mr Herb Page purchased the bulk of the estate and began transforming it into a commercial holiday destination with a boarding house.


The first section of the Bruce Highway opened in December. It connected Brisbane and Landsborough. The name of the highway does not refer to Prime Minister Stanley Bruce but to the Hon. H.A. Bruce, Queensland Minister for Public Works who had strongly supported the project.

Pig and Sheep Islands were declared wildlife sanctuaries in response to public demand to protect the prolific birdlife there.


The first co-ordinated rail/motor service between Cooroy and Tewantin/Noosa Heads was arranged by Lionel Donovan.

The area of Noosa Woods was included into the jurisdiction of the Noosa Council.


The Noosa area was used as an Artillery Range, leaving for future residents explosive mementos known as UXO (unexploded ordnance).

The supply of electricity to all areas between Brisbane and Gympie was agreed to and introduced over the ensuing decades. The scheme was completed in 1965 with Cootharaba being the last town connected.


An aerodrome with three all-weather runways was constructed by Council workmen on the Noosa North Shore. The project had first been proposed in 1937 and had been subject to extensive consultation with the Commonwealth Government. However, the only licence granted in 1949 was for light aircraft.

The Department of Defence hired J.H. Johns' cottage near Noosa Woods in November 1942.

In 1943 the Royal Australian Artillery, 3 Australian Division HQ, set up a recreation centre for its soldiers on the beach side of Hastings Street on a property housing several flats. Owner of the property was Pansy McKane, a widowed nurse.


Noosa boasted the first tennis court in Queensland with electric light after Ben Thatcher had installed lighting around the tennis court at Laguna House.