Origin of name
Pomona was named in 1900, after the Roman goddess of fruit, following government rejection of the names Pinbarren and Karura (aboriginal spelling of Cooroora and most popular with the settlers). ‘Pomona’ avoided confusion with the neighbouring towns of Cooroy and Cooran and reflected the fertile nature of the area.
History of settlement
Pomona originally evolved as a railway siding soon after the opening of the Brisbane to Gympie rail line in 1891. Transport to the nearest stations of Cooroy and Cooran was extremely difficult due to the poor state of local roads. The timber cutters and farmers in nearby Ringtail, Tinbeerwah, Skyring Creek and Kin Kin began hailing trains as they slowed at a bend, and a siding, known as Pinbarren Railway Station, was officially established in 1895. This siding resulted in the expansion of industry, agriculture and population, and Pinbarren Provisional School opened in 1897. Pinbarren survived and can be found two kilometres north of Pomona.
Subsequent to the naming of Pomona, the first town lots were auctioned in 1900 and in the ensuing 10 years it changed from a ‘wayside village, possessing only a small store and a village smithy’ to ‘a township vying with other places for premiership along the North Coast Line’. In 1910, with a population of 450, Pomona became the centre for the newly established Noosa Shire Council despite competition from Cooroy and Cooran; the inaugural Noosa Country Show was held in the showgrounds, and its state school was the largest ‘along the Line’. As the land was cleared by the timber getters, dairying, sugar cane cultivation and fruit farming expanded to be later replaced by beef cattle grazing.
From being a town of importance early in the century, Pomona’s significance dwindled during the 1970s with the refocus of population to the coast and the collapse of the agricultural industries. The town remained the centre for Council meetings until 1980 and the Noosa Shire Council Chambers, built in 1911, today house the Noosa Shire Museum.
Various factors including better roads, subdivision of rural land and the technological ability to work from home, plus arguably the publicity generated by the annual King of the Mountain run up Mt Cooroora, are again bringing an increase in residents with the population tripling between 1976 and 2011 to 2,587.
As well as the Noosa Shire Museum, Pomona boasts a treasure trove of historically significant buildings. Among them are:
- The Majestic Hall, 1921, now known as the Majestic Theatre, built for such diverse purposes as dances, movies (originally silent), roller skating, boxing and church services. Complete with Wurlitzer organ, it now operates solely as a silent movie theatre;
- The Masonic Lodge, 1923, with classic murals painted by a member adorning the inside walls;
- The Pomona Hotel, serving patrons since 1913 after the original hotel was destroyed by fire;
- and the original, though relocated, railway station buildings.
Still echoing with the sounds of children, the former Pomona State School built in 1907, has become the Kindy and Childcare centre.
Despite its growth, Pomona remains a beautifully leafy, small rural town popular with day visitors or those seeking a quiet weekend away for rest and recovery.