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Mareeba is located in Queensland
Coordinates16°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
Population11,079 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation400 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 rural town and locality in the Shire of Mareeba in Far North Queensland, Australia.[3][4] 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]


The town is 417 metres (1,368 ft) above sea level on the confluence of the Barron River, Granite Creek and Emerald Creek.

The town's main street is the Mulligan Highway which branches off from the Kennedy Highway when coming in from Cairns (63.3 km; 40 miles) away passing localities such as Speewah, Kuranda and The Barron Gorge.

The Lotus Glen Correctional Centre is located in Arriga, 14 km; 9 miles outside Mareeba.[6]


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.[7]

Mareeba State School opened on 28 August 1893.[8]

St Thomas of Villanova Catholic School opened on 1 January 1909.[8] St Thomas' celebrated their centenary in 2009.[9] The Mareeba parish of the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of Cooktown (now the Roman Catholic Diocee of Cairns) was established in 1911.[10]

From 1942 to 1945 during World War II, up to 10,000 Australian and US service personnel used Mareeba Airfield as a staging post for battles in New Guinea and the South West Pacific theatre. 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 included No. 5 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), No. 100 Squadron RAAF, the Australian 33rd Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, the 19th Bomb Group of the United States Army Air Forces ( USAAF), the 43rd Bomb Group USAAF and the 8th Fighter Group USAAF. For a period of two years during World War II, Mareeba State School was taken over by the army, so St Thomas’ Catholic School accommodated the entire school population of Mareeba.[8]

Mareeba Library opened in 1958. It underwent a major refurbishment in 1985.[11]

Mareeba State High School opened on 25 January 1960.[8]

Mareeba is also home to an Albanian Australian community that dates from the interwar period.[12][13][14] Built by local Albanian Australians, the Mareeba Mosque was opened on Anzac Day, 1970 and is dedicated to Australian soldiers who lost their lives in war.[15][14][16]

On 24 January 2006 St Stephen's Catholic College opened after a nearly 10-year approval process regarding the provision of Catholic secondary education.[17]

At the 2006 census, Mareeba had a population of 6,806.[18]

In the 2011 census, Mareeba had a population of 10,181 people.[19]

In October 2011, most of the land (209 hectares; 516 acres) of the former state farm / research station at Kairi was sold by the Queensland Government, retaining only 26 hectares (65 acres). 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.[20] The hub opened on 16 December 2011.[21]

According to the 2016 census, Mareeba includes the largest Italian Australian community of any suburb in Queensland,[22] numbering 1,608 individuals and making up 10.8% of the town's population.[23]

Heritage listings[edit]

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


Mareeba has a tropical savanna climate (Aw). Mareeba township's tagline reads "300 sunny days a year" because the town is in what is called a rain shadow and is sunnier than the wetter surrounding areas. Though despite its reputation as a sunny place, it only receives 61.8 clear days annually and 59.5 cloudy days.

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 10.8 100.0
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[26]


Numerous crops are grown throughout Mareeba Shire, including avocados, mangoes, lychees, longans, sugar cane, cashews, macadamias, bananas, pineapples, tea tree oil, coffee, cotton 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.

Tourism also contributes to the local economy.


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 Parish School
  • Mareeba State 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, pediatric, outpatient, emergency and x-ray facilities.[27]


Mareeba Gladiators are the local rugby league team. The Gladiators participate in the Cairns District Rugby League competition. They last won the Premiership in 2007.[28]

The Mareeba United Football Club (soccer), 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 they exited 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.[citation needed]

Both the Mareeba Karting Club and the Far North Queensland Motorcycle club hold monthly motor racing meetings at the Makotrac International Racetrack which is located five kilometres from Mareeba.[citation needed]


Mareeba Shire Council operates a public library at 221 Byrnes Street.[29] The library facility opened in 1958, with a major refurbishment in 1985 and minor refurbishment in 2013.[30]

The Mareeba branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at the CWA Hall on the corner of Dempster Street and Wilkes Street.[31] The Cairns Aerial Outpost branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at 15 Wilson Street.[31]

St Thomas of Villanova's Catholic Church is at 59 Constance Street. St Stephen's College at Lot 3 McIver Road also has a Catholic Church. Both are within the Mareeba Parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cairns.[10]

The Mareeba Mosque is at 108 Walsh Street.[32]


Mareeba is serviced by the following radio stations:


The Peninsula Hotel.

Mareeba has three hotels:

  • The Anthill
  • The Graham
  • The Gateway (previously known as The Peninsula Hotel after new owners purchased and renovated the building in 2015)[33]


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, Emerald Creek Falls, and Davies Creek Falls.


The Mareeba Rodeo and Festival is held annually, with the first Affiliated Mareeba Rodeo held in July 1949 (which is now the home ground of the Gladiators Rugby league team).[34] 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.[citation needed] A parade through the town is held, and the Rodeo Queen is crowned (the first Princess was crowned in 1959). A ute muster is often staged over the same weekend as the rodeo. In 1999 Mareeba District Rodeo Association Inc. celebrated their 50 years Golden Jubilee of the foundation of the Association and 20 years of the opening of "Kerribee Park".[34]

The FNQ Country Music Festival and Talent Search is held annually at Kerribee Park Rodeo Grounds. The event is hosted by the Walkamin Country Music Club.[35]

Each year on the third Sunday of January, St Thomas's Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Santo Nino which celebrates Jesus as a child. The event is of special significance to the Filipino Australians. After the Mass, there is a celebratory meal of Filipino cuisine.[10]

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.[36]

Photo gallery[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Mareeba (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 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. ^ "Visitor Information" (PDF). Department of Justice and the Attorney General. Retrieved 3 February 2018.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Phoenix Auctions History. "Post Office List". Phoenix Auctions. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  9. ^ St Thomas's Parish School (Mareeba, Qld) (2009), St Thomas's Parish School Mareeba : centenary 100 years, Rena Ceola, ISBN 978-0-646-51350-8
  10. ^ a b c "Mareeba Parish". Roman Catholic Diocese of Cairns. Archived from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Public Libraries Statistical Bulletin 2016-17" (PDF). Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. November 2017. p. 14. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 January 2018. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  12. ^ Volz, Martin (2009). "Tropical tapestry - North Queensland is home to a diverse range of communities of people who choose to live amid the forests and fruit". Big Issue Australia (342): 19.
  13. ^ Davis, Sam (28 April 2010). "Keeping the faith". Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  14. ^ a b Haveric, Dzavid (2019). Muslims making Australia home: Immigration and Community Building. Melbourne University Publishing. ISBN 9780522875829.
  15. ^ Carne, J.C. (1984). "Moslem Albanians in North Queensland" (PDF). In Dalton, B. J. (ed.). Lectures on North Queensland history. University of North Queensland. pp. 191–193. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  16. ^ Barry, James; Yilmaz, Ihsan (2019). "Liminality and Racial Hazing of Muslim Migrants: Media Framing of Albanians in Shepparton, Australia, 1930-1955". Ethnic and Racial Studies. 42 (7): 1178. doi:10.1080/01419870.2018.1484504. S2CID 149907029.
  17. ^ "History of the College". St Stephen's Catholic College. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  18. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mareeba (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  19. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Mareeba". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 February 2016. Edit this at Wikidata
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "2016Census_G_QLD_SSC - Census DataPacks - General Community Profile". Australian Bureau of Statistics – Census 2016. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  23. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Mareeba (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 18 July 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  24. ^ "Mareeba Shire Hall (former) (entry 601553)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Assay Office & Store, Mareeba (entry 601692)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  26. ^ "MAREEBA QWRC". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  27. ^ "Mareeba Hospital Homepage". Queensland Health. 1 April 2016. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Sports Facilities/Clubs". Queensland Health. 1 August 2013. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  29. ^ "Mareeba Library". Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. 3 February 2016. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Queensland Public Library Statistical Bulletin 2016-17" (PDF). Public Libraries Connect. November 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  31. ^ a b "Branch Locations". Queensland Country Women's Association. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Mareeba Islamic Society". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  33. ^ "About us". Mareeba's Best Pub. 8 March 2019. Archived from the original on 4 December 2019. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  34. ^ a b "History". Mareeba Rodeo and Festival. 2018. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  35. ^ "Festival". Walkamin Country Music Club. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  36. ^ "Special Celebrations and Feast Days". Catholic Diocese of Cairns. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  37. ^ Bruce, Mike (8 January 2012). "Passions on the Field". The Sunday Mail. Retrieved 20 September 2015.

External links[edit]