Place Names of South-East Queensland





T. D. and W. J. Smith settled in the area in 1889, and when, a few years later, a meeting of the settlers was called to select a name for the settlement previously called Luton Vale or simply Blackall range, W.J. suggested Mapleton.
He had recently come across reference to "a pretty place on top of a hill called Mapleton"  in a book that he was reading, and that, he thought, would be an apt  name for the settlement. It became official when recognized by the Post Master General's Department, 13 April, 1894.  It is not known whether the book reference was to a real or to a fictitious town.  There are at least eight Mapletons in the United States.

Mapleton Falls was earlier known as Baroon Falls. It was changed at the request of Mapleton people, 30 January, 1915.  Pencil Creek which flows over the falls gained its name from the pencil pines which grew along its banks.  


The name of Marburg reminds us that German settlers took up land in what was called the Rosewood Scrub in the 1870s. It was named by J.L.Frederick, an early storekeeper, after Marburg in Germany. Prior to that the district had been known as Sally Owens' Plains. During the First World War the name was changed to Townshend after General Townshend of the British army, but after the war the residents urged that the German name be reinstated and so it was in 1920. 


The name for this beachside area between Maroochydore and Coolum is made up from the first syllables of those two names.  

Marcus Beach (See Peregian)


One of the reasons for the 1880s land boom on the Redcliffe Peninsula was that the area was free of mangroves. This made it a more attractive place to develop as a seaside resort than some other places around Moreton Bay. Add to this that surfing was not regarded by the upper crust as the proper thing to do. Bathing in still water was preferred. Then when the railway line was opened to Sandgate in 1882 it was anticipated that the next area on the northside to be serviced by rail would be Humpybong.

An 1878 map shows Redcliffe Point, Woody Point and Reef Point as physical features. They were not at that time residential localities. But it was not long before the developers started selling land around the peninsula foreshores, and they cashed in on the popularity of English seaside resorts in the names that they chose. Margate was one of these.

It is suggested that Margate in Kent got its name from a horse shaped rock off the shoreline for it means a gap in the cliffs near the mare.  

Maroochy, Maroochydore

The thing that struck Europeans about swans in Australia was that they were black. They were used to seeing white swans. What struck the Aboriginal people most was that they had orange-red beaks. So the Aboriginal word for the black swan used by the tribes around the early Moreton Bay settlement was muru-kutchi, sometimes written as marutchi, meaning red-bill.

When the early Brisbane builder, Andrew Petrie, came across a river populated by these birds on his 1842 expedition to the north of the settlement he had with him two Aboriginals from the Brisbane area and from them he borrowed the words from which he manufactured Marootchy Doro, the Black Swan River. The local name for the black swan was kuluin. Maroochy is today the name of the river and of a township in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Dha meant, place of, so Murukutchi-dha means the place of the black swan, but eventually this became standardized as Maroochydore, the thriving commercial and tourist centre of the Sunshine Coast.

Through Andrew Petrie's son, Tom, we learn that the Aboriginal people used to go out in bark canoes and catch the swans when they were moulting and could not fly. The women used to use the feathers for decoration in their hair, while the men kept the down in their dillies to use when dressing for a corroboree.  


John Rankin, the first settler on this run, called it Melcombe, but when in the hands of Captain Robert Collins and his son James Carden Collins the name Maroon, derived from the Aboriginal Wahl-maroon was used.  The name Wahl-maroon was used by the Aboriginal people for what is now called Mount Ballow.  In the 1860s Europeans called another mountain, Mount Toowoonan,  Mount Maroon, but eventually they used the name, meaning sand goanna, for the mountain that now bears this name.


Violet Marsden, whose name came to be given to the area, was active in the Kingston Park Progress Association when this area, formerly regarded as part of Kingston, was being given a new name.  

Mary River

Europeans first called this river Wide Bay River, but in 1847 it was officially named Mary after the wife of Sir Charles Fitzroy, Governor of New South Wales, who had been accidentally killed that year.


Surveyor Burnett sailed up what was then called the Wide Bay River in 1847 and expressed his opinion that it would one day become an important port. Mary, wife of the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Charles Fitzroy, was killed in that same year when the horses drawing her carriage bolted and it collided with a tree. When Burnett's report came in, the Governor decided the river should be renamed after his wife. So it became the Mary River. The Aboriginal people had known it by several names: Moonabula, Mooraboocoola, Numabulla, Goodna and Yabon.

White settlers came into the area almost immediately. George Furber opened a wool store on the south side of the river 1847, and Edgar Thomas Aldridge, with Henry Palmer, settled on the north side 1848. The town site was surveyed by Hugh Labatt 1849-50, it was gazetted a port of entry in 1859, the year that Queensland came into existence, and the municipality was declared 1861.

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