Historic Village Herberton

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Today we’re off to Far North Queensland to visit Historic Village Herberton, a museum with multiple event spaces offering immersive, unique experiences.

Located 90 minutes from Cairns, Historic Village Herberton features:

  • 60 original buildings, each housing an extensive display of memorabilia.  With quirky Australian collectibles, olden day machinery, vehicles and thousands of genuine antique items, the Village is regarded as one of the most significant outdoor museums in Australia as well as antique motor vehicles, turn of the century machinery, small engines, rare John Deere tractors and more.
  • Opportunities for groups to enjoy live demonstrations, camp cooking, train rides, see working machinery and more.
  • Historic Village Herberton offers a variety of unique event spaces.
  • The village is part of the township of Herberton, formerly the richest tin mining field in Australia.

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More about Herberton

The first European exploration of this area, part of the traditional land of the Dyirbal, was undertaken in 1875 by James Venture Mulligan. Mulligan was prospecting for gold, but instead found tin. The town of Herberton was established on 19 April 1880 by John Newell to exploit the tin find, and mining began on 9 May 1880. By September 1880, Herberton had a population of 300 men and 27 women. Herberton Post Office opened on 22 November 1880.

The town’s name is attributed to John Newell. It is believed he named it after the Herbert River whose northern tributary (Wild River) flows through Herberton and/or after Robert George Wyndham Herbert, the first Premier of Queensland(after whom the Herbert River is named).

In July 1881 the residents of Herberton had raised £115 for the construction of a school. Herberton Provisional School opened on 12 December 1881 with 35 students in the Herberton Hall; the fee was one shilling per week for the first child of a family with an additional sixpence a week for each additional child. In October 1882 the Queensland Government reserved five acres and two roods for a state school and called for tenders to erect a state school and teacher’s residence. In November 1882 the contract for the buildings was awarded to James Pasley to construct the buildings using hardwood in nine months for £2,040. In April 1883 the Queensland Government officially announced that there would be a new state school in Herberton. The actual opening date of the new state school is unclear but Thomas Peter Wood was appointed headmaster of Herberton State School from 1 January 1884, so the school was operational at that time. In 1912 the school was one of the first five schools in Queensland to receive a secondary department, commencing operations on 15 February 1912 with the arrival of the teacher Miss Ramsay B.A. who would teach two languages, English history, mathematics, and science. In 1994 a new primary school campus was established with the secondary department remaining on the original school site.

In January 1882 the Queensland Government called for tenders to construct a telegraph line to Herberton. In March 1882 they called for tenders for a post and telegraph office.

In the late 19th century the Mulligan Highway was carved through the hills from Herberton and passed through what is now Main Street, Atherton, before continuing down to Port Douglas. This road was used by the coaches of Cobb and Co to access Western Queensland.

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