Place Names of South-East Queensland





The town derived its name from Naamba cattle station selected by William Samwells in 1870.  It was the Aboriginal name for the red flowering tea tree (callistemon viminalis) which grew plentifully in the area. The Aboriginal people used the paper bark for warmth. As early at 1872 Mr Samwells used the name Nambour in a communication with the Lands Department.  The settlement though was originally called Petrie's Creek after Tom Petrie who came with his Aboriginal timber-getters to collect timber in the area, but it officially became Nambour when the railway came through in 1891.


The name meant waterhole in the Aboriginal language. Jacob Goode established a hotel and hostelry by the waterhole in 1848, and the address for the district then became Goode's Inn. John Bright took over the hostelry after Goode died and called the establishment Burnett Inn. The waterhole was called Bright's Waterhole. This was on part of the Nanango run that was originally taken up by W.E.Oliver. Oliver and the Aboriginal people ran a virtual guerrilla war between them, but on one occasion, the Aboriginal leader, Old Nanango, saved Oliver's life by preventing him from diving into a spear-lined waterhole. The relationship with the Aboriginal people improved greatly when George Clapperton took over the station. It was Clapperton who promoted the laying out of a town by surveyor Hector Munro. The first sale of land in the township took place, 13 October 1870.  


Narangba in its Aboriginal origin meant small ridge, and that describes the area where the railway station with its associated township was situated. Earlier it was part of an area referred to as Stoney Creek. The railway station was first called Sideling Creek Station. Only later was it changed to Narangba.  


James Nash was born in Beanacre, Wiltshire, England, 1834, and migrated to Australia at the age of 22. For some years he prospected on and around the goldfields of southern Australia, but in 1867 moved to Queensland, going first to Calliope, near Gladstone, and then to the Nanango district. He crossed the Jimna Range to Yabba Station carrying his pick, pan and bedroll. The next night he stayed in a hut with a couple of young men who were working cattle in the area and they directed his attention to Bella Creek. He thought the area looked promising so after going to Brisbane to get a horse and supplies returned to pan there, but it proved disappointing. He went on to Imbil Station and the next morning after leaving there met up with a timber getting by the name of Denman on Amamoor Creek. Denman and his mate, Wannel, directed his attention to an area where he said gold was to be found. Soon Nash was working an area out on the edges of the Widgee run with mounting excitement as it became apparent that he was onto a very rich source of gold. He went to Maryborough to report his find and Police Magistrate Sheridan sent a police sergeant to check the claim and mark it out. Within three days the rush was on. People left Maryborough and Brisbane in their droves, many of them unemployed at the time, but, many giving up their businesses to try their luck on the new goldfield.

The diggings were called Nashville and an area of 25 square miles around Nashville was declared the Upper Mary Goldfields. The name continues as a suburb of Gympie today.

Nash made a fortune, but lost it in bad investments. He died in 1913, an embittered man, caretaker for an explosives magazine near Traveston. 


After a career in the British army, Royal Engineers, Matthew Nathan served as a colonial governor in Sierra Leone, the African Gold Coast, Hong Kong, and Natal as well as holding a number of public positions in England and Ireland. In 1920, as Sir Matthew Nathan, he became the Governor of Queensland, and during his five years in that position promoted British migration to Queensland and research into the Great Barrier Reef. He was Chancellor of the University of Queensland. He was sixty-three years of age when he left Queensland for years of semi-retirement in Somerset, England, and he died there in 1939. He never married, but it was well known that he had affairs with a number of women. He was Jewish.  

Natural Bridge

The area gets its name from the geological formation on Cave Creek known ever since its first discovery by the timber-getters Sandy Duncan and Din Guinea as Natural Bridge. 


The Aboriginal name for the river was Nerang, meaning little, but Robert Dixon of the Surveyor- General's Department did not like Aboriginal names so he called it the River Barrow after Sir John Barrow who was Secretary of the Admiralty in England for many years. Later the Aboriginal name was resumed and made official. The township grew up because of the coach and river traffic which passed that way. Later the railway came through. The first families came with the Manchester Cotton Company in the early 1860s. It also served as a centre for the sugar farming areas like Helensvale.  

Neurum Creek

Originally Neurum Neurum Creek.  Neurum Neurum meant sores, warts or pockmarks on the skin.

New Chum

This name, which refers to a recent arrival in the country, was the name of a coal mine. It was the mine then that gave its name to the Ipswich suburb.  

New Farm

The Aboriginal people called the area the place of the land tortoise and used to catch these freshwater tortoises there in a net or by hand. Then they roasted them on their backs with the carapace serving as a dish. The Aboriginal name was Binkin-ba, but Europeans altered the pronunciation to Pinkenba and gave it to another place. As the name suggests it was developed as a new farm for the convict settlement. It was surveyed by Dixon in 1839.  

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