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Tablelands - Herberton district trail

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The southern part of the tablelands has a history of grazing and mining. In 1877 cattleman John Atherton established a grazing property on the Barron River. In 1879 he guided a group of prospectors to Wild River, a tributary of the Herbert River, to investigate the tin deposits identified by James Mulligan in 1875. In 1880, John Newell and William Jack discovered the rich tin lode at what was to become the Great Northern Mine. The settlement around it was named Herberton. Jack and Newell’s store remains in the main street, and their business expanded to include a chain of stores throughout North Queensland. The Herberton Mining Museum operates tours of the Great Northern Mine site, and the nearby Historical Village provides an insight to the tin mining days.

The significance of tin mining led to the construction of the railway from Cairns, which began in 1887. The Cairns to Kuranda section opened in 1891; now known as the Kuranda Scenic Railway. The railway reached Mareeba in 1893 and Herberton in 1910, but by that time the tin boom was over.

The region south of Herberton includes remnants of a number of tin, silver, copper and zinc mining ventures at Coolgarra, Mt Garnet and Nettle Creek. The significant cattle breeding station of Wairuna lies further south, from where you can take the road down to Ingham and Cardwell on the coast.


Listing 9 places within this trail.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023