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Mareeba is located in Queensland
Coordinates 16°59′0″S 145°25′0″E / 16.98333°S 145.41667°E / -16.98333; 145.41667Coordinates: 16°59′0″S 145°25′0″E / 16.98333°S 145.41667°E / -16.98333; 145.41667
Population 10,181 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1877
Postcode(s) 4880
Elevation 400 m (1,312 ft)
LGA(s) Shire of Mareeba
State electorate(s) Cook
Federal Division(s) Kennedy
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
29.0 °C
84 °F
16.6 °C
62 °F
915.3 mm
36 in
Localities around Mareeba:
Paddys Green Biboohra Koah
Chewko Mareeba Lamb Range
Walkamin Tolga Danbulla

Mareeba /məˈrbə/[2] is a town on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia.[3][4] The town is 417 metres (1,368 ft) above sea level on the confluence of the Barron River, Granite Creek and Emerald Creek. It is within the local government area of Shire of Mareeba (between 2008 and 2013, it was within the Tablelands Region). The town's name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning meeting of the waters.[5] In the 2011 census, Mareeba had a population of 10,181 people.[1]


Prior to European settlement, the area around Mareeba was inhabited by the Muluridji people. They maintained a hunter/gatherer existence in the area between Mount Carbine, Mareeba, Rumula (near Julatten) and Woodville (near Canoona), mainly concentrated between Biboohra and Mount Molloy. In the local Aboriginal language, Mareeba means meeting of the waters - referring to the point at which the Barron River is joined by Granite Creek.

On 26 May 1875 James Venture Mulligan became the first European officially to see the future site of Mareeba when he rode up the eastern bank of the Barron River, and passed the junctions of Emerald Creek and Granite Creek.

The Mareeba area was first settled by Europeans in 1877 by John Atherton, who arrived with cattle at Emerald End, which is just north of the town today. Mareeba quickly became a busy coach stop for Cobb & Co on the road from Port Douglas to Herberton. When the railway arrived in 1893, Mareeba grew into a busy town.

Mareeba Post Office opened on 25 August 1893 (a receiving office named Granite Creek had been open from 1891). A Mareeba Diggings Post Office opened by 1893 and closed in 1905.[6]

From 1942 to 1945, up to 10,000 Australian and US service personnel used Mareeba Airfield as a staging post for battles in New Guinea and the Pacific. The Americans referred to it as Hoevet Field in honour of Major Dean Carol "Pinky" Hoevet who was killed on 16 August 1942. Units that were based at Mareeba during World War II included No. 5 Squadron RAAF, No. 100 Squadron RAAF, the Australian 33rd Light A-A Battery, 19th Bomb Group USAAC, 43rd Bomb Group USAAC and 8th Fighter Group USAAC.

At the 2006 census, Mareeba had a population of 6,806.[7]

In October 2011, most of the land (209 hectares) of the former state farm / research station at Kairi was sold by the Queensland Government, retaining only 26 hectares. The sale of the land was to fund the establishment of the Agri-Science Hub at Peters Street in Mareeba. The hub focusses on agricultural research and development, together with education and training. James Cook University is a partner of the hub, researching tropical agriculture, aquaculture and biosecurity.[8] The hub opened on 16 December 2011.[9]

Heritage listings[edit]

Mareeba has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Mareeba has a tropical savanna climate.

Climate data for Mareeba Airport (2001-2014)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37.8
Average high °C (°F) 31.0
Average low °C (°F) 21.3
Record low °C (°F) 16.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 229.0
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 16.1 18.3 14.8 10.2 6.6 5.1 4.4 3.7 3.3 4.1 6.9 10.8 104.3
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[13]


Numerous crops are grown throughout Mareeba Shire, including avocados, mangoes, lychees, longans, sugar cane, cashews, macadamias, bananas, pineapples, tea tree oil, coffee, and a variety of vegetables and tropical fruits. Poultry and cattle are also common. Tobacco was once the main grown crop of the local economy, but is no longer grown within the Mareeba shire.

The town's main street is the Mulligan Highway which branches off from the Kennedy Highway when coming in from Cairns (63.3 km) away passing localities such as Speewah, Kuranda and The Barron Gorge.

Tourism also contributes to the local economy. Tourist attractions in the Mareeba Shire include the Golden Drop Mango Winery, Jaques Coffee Plantation, Coffee Works, Mareeba Heritage Museum, Mareeba Rock Wallabies and Granite Gorge Nature Park.

Mareeba hosts a rodeo yearly attracting many spectators. The first Affiliated Mareeba Rodeo was held in July 1949 and since the Mareeba Rodeo & Festival has been a tropical celebration of all things country. The 2015 dates for the event are from 27 June to 12 July 2015. The rodeo is hosted at the Kerribee Park Rodeo Grounds, located slightly out of town on route to Dimbulah. In 2014, the attendance was 13 000, almost double the town's normal population.

The Lotus Glen Correctional Centre is located in Mareeba.


Mareeba has two primary schools, two secondary schools and a TAFE campus. There are also several day care centres in the town.

  • St Thomas of Villanova Catholic Primary School
  • Mareeba State Primary School
  • Mareeba State High School
  • St. Stephen's Catholic College
  • Tropical North Institute of TAFE


Mareeba Hospital is in the Tablelands Health District. It provides 52 beds, with surgical, maternity, paediatric, outpatient, emergency and x-ray facilities.

Sport and entertainment[edit]

Sporting teams[edit]

Mareeba's local sporting teams are:

  • Rugby league — Mareeba Gladiators: The Gladiators participate in the Cairns District Rugby League competition. They last won the Premiership in 2007.
  • Football (soccer) — Mareeba United Football Club

The Mareeba United Football Club, known as the Mareeba Bulls is based at Borzi Park, Mareeba: the Bulls have dominated the local football scene for the past decade. The Bulls were Grand Final winners in 2003, premiers, Grand Final Winners and NQ Champions in 2004, FNQ premiers and NQ Champions in 2005, FNQ Grand final winners and 2006 and FNQ premier and NQ Champions in 2008. The sustained success of the Bulls has brought the title for Mareeba as 'Football Capital of North Queensland'. Then in 2009, the Mareeba Bulls entered the Queensland State League, as the FNQ Bulls, incorporating the entire FNQ Football area, being based at the Bulls home ground at Borzi Park, Mareeba. The club then returned to the FNQ premier league in 2013 after the demise of the QLD state league. In 2013 the existed the QSL to focus back on their regional competition and junior base and the success again returned in 2014 the club returned to the status of "Football Capital of North Queensland" bringing to the club nine pieces of silverware including the treble in the Premier and Reserve divisions, plus the double in the 2nd division, plus the Mazda Cup. In 2015, the Mareeba Bulls Premier side staged one of the best comebacks seen in FNQ Football history with a come from behind 3-2 win. Down 2-0 with a handful of minutes to go, the Bulls did the unthinkable and scored 3 goals in the space of 7 minutes.

  • Motor Racing: Both the Mareeba Karting Club and the Far North Queensland Motorcycle club hold monthly race meetings at the Makotrac International Racetrack which is located five kilometres from Mareeba.


The Mareeba Rodeo takes place over a weekend each July. The first rodeo was held 1949 at Davies Park (which is now the home ground of the Gladiators Rugby League team). On the Friday night, there is a parade through the town, and the Rodeo Princess is crowned (the first Princess was crowned in 1959). Over the rest of the weekend the rodeo proper is held at Kerribee Park. A ute muster is often staged over the same weekend as the rodeo.[14]


Mareeba is serviced by the following radio stations:


The Walkamin Country Music Association Festival is held at Kerribee Park, annually in October.


The Peninsula Hotel.

Mareeba has three hotels

  • The Anthill
  • The Graham
  • The Gateway


Mareeba has representatives from a large number of religions and has as many places of worship.

Each year, on the second Sunday of September, St Thomas's Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Chain. The celebration begins with a procession through various streets of Mareeba and culminates in a fireworks display.

The Mareeba Mosque opened on 25 April (Anzac Day) 1970 by the Mareeba Shire Chairman. It was built by the Albanian Australian Moslem Society.[15]

Photo gallery[edit]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Mareeba". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 February 2016.  Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  3. ^ "Mareeba - town (entry 20937)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "Mareeba - locality (entry 48746)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mareeba (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Mulherin, Tim (24 October 2011). "$6.95 million for Mareeba agri-science hub". Media Statements. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 27 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Mulherin, Tim (16 December 2011). "$6.5 million Mareeba Agriscience Hub officially opened". Media Statements. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Cairns Railway, Section from Redlynch to Crooked Creek Bridge (entry 600755)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Mareeba Shire Hall (former) (entry 601553)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Assay Office & Store, Mareeba (entry 601692)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "MAREEBA QWRC". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Carne, J.C (1984-01-01), Moslem Albanians in North Queensland, James Cook University of North Queensland, retrieved 16 April 2017 
  16. ^ Bruce, Mike (8 January 2012). "Passions on the Field". The Sunday Mail. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 

External links[edit]