History of Gympie

Gympie was originally named Nashville after James Nash, the first known explorer in the area that found gold in 1867. A short year later, the name for the town was then changed to Gympie. The name comes from the Kabi an indigenous tribe of Australians and means “Stinging tree." Gympie is located 160km north of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital. The town lies on the Mary River, which is historically known for floods.

James Nash discovered the first gold during a time that Queensland was in quite financial crisis because the only industry they really had was logging. Queensland was on the verge of bankruptcy all until James found the gold in 1867. There is a memorial fountain in Gympie Memorial Park to honour him and his discovery, which probably saved Queensland. Gold mining plays a roll today in the economy of Gympie along with timber as well.

As I previously mentioned Mary River is an integral part of Gympie but not for a great reason. Whilst the rainy season approaches typically between December and April, the river fills up fast and overflows. During historic floods in 1999, Gympie was declared a natural disaster in which the river peaked at a staggering 21 meteres. There was another disastrous flood in 2011, which destroyed most of the roads in and around Gympie.

Gympie being a history rich town is a bonus for tourists, there are museums galore for visiting. At the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum, you can even learn how to pan gold just like James Nash did back in 1867. There is also a Woodworks museum that takes you around the steam-powered sawmill and demonstrates how it works.

The Valley Rattler is a steam train that takes people on tours of Gympie via traveling alongside the Mary River. Currently, the Valley Rattler is out of commission due to many concerns with track safety. When the issue is resolved I highly recommend taking a lovely once in a lifetime ride steam powered locomotive.

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