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Sunshine Coast, Queensland
|Population||1,564 (2016 census)|
|Location||113 km (70 mi) from Brisbane|
Mapleton is a small town in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland. It includes one of Queensland’s largest Outdoor Education Centres (QCCC Mapleton), the Lilyponds, the Mapleton Tavern and historic Seaview House (St Isidore's Farm College), and is well known for its 180 degree panoramic views of the Sunshine Coast.
The town is located high on the Blackall Range, 10 minutes drive from Nambour, 25 minutes from Maleny and 30 minutes from Maroochydore. At the 2016 Australian Census, the town recorded a population of 1,564.
Early settlers of the area grew fruit, vegetables and ceral crops. The first timber cutters extracted red cedar and beech timber taking it to Nambour. Initially the settlement was known as Luton Vale until 1899 when the name was changed after the English town.
In 1906 the road from the Mary Valley to Mapleton was complete. By 1909 a sawmill was operating in the town. It closed in 1972. From 1915 through until 1944, Mapleton was served by a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge tramway which ran nearly 18 kilometres from Nambour. It was worked by two shay locomotives. Pineapples, dairying and small crops were the towns major industries until the late 1950s. The scenic beauty of the area has allowed tourism to dominate in the decades since.
Mapleton has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
Mapleton has many community services, associations and clubs including the Mapleton & District Community Associations (MADCA), a bowls club and community gym, the Mapleton Community Library which is run by volunteer staff, a tourist information and arts centre, a choir, tennis club, kindergarten and rural fire service and post office. There is also a medical centre which provides primary health care for the community.
The Mapleton State Primary School was 100 years old in 1999 and caters for around 200 local children. The school grounds are large and include Baxters Creek and a new covered multi-purpose area, administration offices and resource centre which opened in December 2009. The school is home to the Mapleton Observatory open to the public once a month as an open night but can be booked on most evenings weather permitting for a $50 fee for up to 10 people .
Visitors and facilities
Mapleton attracts visitors following the Blackall Range tourist drive who visit the shops on Obi Obi Road and Post Office Road. These shops include a fish and chip shop, country pharmacy, cafe and delicatessen, bakery, two coffee shops, a gallery,art & gift shop, Roger Loughnan Real Estate and a pizza and pasta restaurant. Further along Post Office Road is a leadlight workshop. There is also a tavern with bottle shop. The Katie Rose second hand clothing shop, located in the Old School House raises money for the Sunshine Coast Community hospice. Next door is the local Tourist Information Centre. There is an art gallery located in the same building as Mapleton Realty on Flaxton Drive 200m from the IGA. Mapleton also has a hardware, IGA, BP service station, three real estate agents and a number of massage services, alternative therapists, physiotherapist and hairdressers. The Zonta Club of the Blackhall Range produces a business directory including many of these. There are public toilets in the park between the tavern and the school and also at the Lilyponds play park.
The largest attraction of visitors to the town is the Queensland Conference and Camping (QCCC) Outdoor Education Centre which was built in 1983. The facility hosts 30,000 guests annually, most of them school children The 55-acre property has more than 20 activity options and employs 80 locals.
Forests and parks
Mapleton Forest Reserve protects rainforest remnants with bunya pines, piccabeen palm groves, tall open blackbutt forests and picturesque mountain scenery. Picnic tables, toilets, barbecues, firewood and drinking water are provided.
The Lilyponds area was for many years a swamp and underwent an $800,000 makeover to turn it into a community park. There are free BBQ's, children's play park and covered seating areas.
Delicia Road Conservation Park is a small park protecting remnant forest communities. It is a refuge for wildlife and a place where visitors can enjoy the native forest. The land was donated by Linda Garrett and so locals refer to it as Linda Garrett Park. There is a 2.2 kilometre walk called the Linda Garrett circuit which passes through rainforest, a palm grove and tall, wet, eucalypt forest. The great barred frog may be seen along Gheerulla Creek and birdwatchers may hear the melodic, drumming call of the endangered marbled frogmouth.
Mapleton Falls National Park marks the point just west of Mapleton where Pencil Creek cascades 120 metres over an escarpment. This small, day-use-only park, shelters many bird species, including the peregrine falcon, eastern whipbird and wompoo fruit-dove. From the carpark there is a short walk to Mapleton Falls lookout with wheelchair access to toilet and lookout. The panoramic view takes in the waterfall and Obi Obi Valley. From the open, grassy picnic area, the Wompoo circuit winds through eucalypts and rainfores where visitors may hear the fruit-dove’s booming calls, wallock-a-woo and book-a-roo. Near the causeway pool frogs may be heard and distinctive hexagonal volcanic rocks seen.
Mapleton is home to two caravan parks, several self-catering units, bed and breakfasts and some romantic and luxurious accommodation. QCCC Mapleton currently offers 300 beds.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Mapleton (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland) (2000). Heritage Trails of the Great South East. State of Queensland. p. 133. ISBN 0-7345-1008-X.
- "St Isidore's (entry 601467)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- Mapleton travel guide from Wikivoyage
- University of Queensland: Queensland Places: Mapleton