Origin of name

The first Europeans into the area named the headland Cape Bracefield or Bracefield’s Head, in recognition of the believed first European to visit the area David Bracefield (or Bracewell). The decision to name it Noosa Head was based on an understanding that the Kabi Kabi word written down as ‘noothera’ or ‘gnuthuru’ meant ‘shadow’ or ‘shadowy place’. The Aboriginal Kabi Kabi tribe had been in the Noosa area for 40,000 years before Europeans first arrived in the 1800s.

History of settlement

The first recorded arrival by white man on the beach at Noosa Heads was in 1842, when a group of men landed there to recover an escaped convict named David Bracewell (or Bracefield). This group were exploring as far north as Wide Bay.

In 1879 the Reserve for the Township of Noosa was officially gazetted, but it was not actually reserved for town purposes until 1930. Notable early pioneer of the district Walter Hay bought many of the allotments along Hastings Street, and built Bay View House (now Halse Lodge) in 1880 and Laguna House in 1906 – both properties were amongst the earliest boarding houses located in Noosa Heads.

Until the late 1920s Noosa Heads was only accessible by boat down the Noosa River from the west – but in 1929 Melbourne developer T.M.Burke agreed to build two humpbacked wooden bridges over both Lake Doonella Inlet near Tewantin and Weyba Creek near Keyser Island in exchange for Council land. As part of this deal he also constructed the road to the estate on the coast, which went on to be named Noosa Heads.

With road access now available, from 1930 onwards Noosa Heads started developing, at first slowly and then gaining momentum.    As tourism started to build cafes and tourist accommodation were developed along the beachfront and Hastings Street.  It became, and continues to this day to be popular as both a holiday destination and an idyllic place to live.

Noosa National Park had its beginnings in 1879 when the untouched green tract of forest on the Headland was declared the Town Reserve. In 1930 the preserved land was gazetted as a National Park, ensuring its protection into the future.