A little about Nanango
Nanango is situated 190 kilometres north-west of the state capital, Brisbane. Nanango sits at the junction of the D’Aguilar and Burnett Highways. The name Nanango has evolved from the Wakka Wakka word “Nunangi”. There is dispute over the origins of the name Nanango – the word means “large watering hole” or was also the name of a local Aboriginal elder at the time of settlement. The original settlement was called “Noogoonida” by the Aboriginals, meaning “place where the waters gather together”.
The area around Nanango was first settled by Europeans in 1847 by John Borthwick and William Oliver from Ipswich who took up pastures for sheep farming. Oliver selected an area of more than 500 km² that comprised of four blocks – Coolabunia, Booie, Broadwater and Nanango.
The original inhabitants of the area were the indigenous people belonging to the Wakka Wakka (or Waka Waka) people, who used the area as a gateway to the bunya nut festivals, where the Aboriginal people would travel from as far away as the Clarence River in northern New South Wales and the Maranoa River to feast on bunya nuts from the bunya trees.
Nanango claims to be the fourth oldest town in Queensland which is based on the first establishment of a commercial premises being Goode’s Inn in 1848. However, Nanango was not surveyed for a town until 1861, and several other towns were surveyed before that.
The primary industries of early Nanago were beef, dairy and timber (in particular the valuable red cedar) The discovery of gold at the Seven Mile Diggings near Nanango in 1867 precipitated a gold rush, and consequently a local population boom, however the gold deposits were found to be meagre. At one time the population included 700 miners, many of whom were Chinese. A second population boom occurred when the Brisbane Valley railway line was extended to Yarraman in 1911. Nanango became the terminus of a branch off the South Burnett railway line at Kingaroy on 13 November 1911. The 22.5 kilometres missing rail link between Nanango and Yarraman, although planned was never built.
After World War I, however, growth levelled off until the early 1970’s when the development of the Tarong Power Station. McCauley Weir was used as the town’s water supply until three additional bores were drilled at the confluence of Barkers Creek and Meandu Creek.