- Atherton Tableland
The Atherton Tableland is a fertile plateau which is part of the
Great Dividing Rangein Queensland, Australia. It is located west to south-south-west inland from Cairns, well into the tropics, but its elevated position provides a climate suitable for dairy farming. it has an area of around 32,000 km² with an average altitude between 600 and 900m AHD.
The principal river flowing across the plateau is the Barron River, which was dammed to form an irrigation reservoir named
The area was originally explored for its mining potential where deposits of
tinand a little goldwere found.
This area is a distinct physiographic section of the larger
North Queensland Highlandsprovince, which in turn is part of the larger East Australian Cordilleraphysiographic division.
Towns on the Atherton Tableland
Originally a pioneering pastoralist, John Atherton was the first to find
tindeposits in Northern Queensland. Local legend has it that Tinaroo Creek received its name from Atherton who shouted, "Tin! Hurroo!" when he first made his discovery. Atherton and his friends, William Jack and John Newell, discovered the famous lode, which became the Great Northern Tin Mine. A rush of miners from the Hodgkinson’s Goldfieldsfollowed. The construction of a dray road through the Tableland brought a secondary rush, this time timber cutters to mine the red gold (redcedar) of the rainforest. Redcedar cutters camps were at Rocky Creek, Prior Pocket, Oonda Swamp (Carrington) & Ziggenbein’s Pocket. Although tin was a major part in the Tablelands, timber is what Atherton owes its existence to with large areas of redcedar, kauri, maple, black bean, walnut, white beechand red tulip oakbeing milled for buildings.
Before the town of Atherton developed, a full-blown
Chinatownsprang into existence. The Chinese had moved from the Palmer River Goldfieldsto the Atherton area, where the big timber stands had been cleared to make way for farming. The Chinese were considered pioneers of agriculturein North Queensland as 80% of crop production on the Tablelands was grown by them and they played a vital role in opening up the area for settlement. After the crops, they turned to dairying. As the population of Chinatown increased, small shops appeared, wells were sunk to supply water, there were cooks, herbalists, doctors and merchants etc. The rough straw huts were replaced by sawn timber houses with verandahs and corrugated ironroofs. By 1909, Chinatown had become the largest concentration of Chinese on the Tablelands with a population on 1100. Today, the Hou Wang Templeremains as one of the few reminders of the former Chinese population of the Atherton Tablelands.The attack on Pearl Harbour changed the world for many and Atherton felt the full thrust of this event’s far-reaching impact. Panic-stricken coastal dwellers began to arrive in large numbers and then moved further inland. Fortunately, the only invasion to reach Atherton was by the Australian Armywho considered the Tablelands an ideal staging post for the war in the Pacific.
Second World War, Australian troops were camped around the district prior to being sent to the front and then again on their return. Many soldiers were interred at the war cemeteryin Atherton.
Crops grown in and around Atherton include
sugarcane, corn/ maize, avocados, strawberries, macadamia nutsand mangoesand citrus. Tobaccowas also grown for many years. Dairying, grazing and poultry are also present on the Tableland.
Tourism also contributes to the Tableland economy, with
Tinaroo Dambeing the focal point. Yungaburrais also becoming a tourist destination with a number of restaurants and Bed and Breakfasts.
Places of interest
Curtain Fig Tree- turnoff is located 1km before the township of Yungaburra.
Undara Volcanic National Park
Hann Tableland National Park
Mount Hypipamee Craterand Dinner Falls- are located approx 23 km south west of Atherton on the Kennedy Highway.
Regions of Queensland
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Look at other dictionaries:
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Atherton Tableland — /æθətn ˈteɪbəllænd/ (say athuhtn taybuhlland) noun a plateau in the Great Dividing Range in northern Qld west of Cairns; tobacco and maize production. 32 000 km2 … Australian English dictionary
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