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Herberton, Queensland facts for kids

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The main street of Herberton
Herberton is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Population 855 (2016 census)
 • Density 36.70/km2 (95.1/sq mi)
Established 1880
Postcode(s) 4887
Elevation 918 m (3,012 ft)
Area 23.3 km2 (9.0 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s) Tablelands Region
State electorate(s) Hill
Federal Division(s) Kennedy
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
25.4 °C
78 °F
14.4 °C
58 °F
1,152.7 mm
45.4 in
Localities around Herberton:
Watsonville Moomin Moomin
Kalunga Herberton Wondecla
Kalunga Wondecla Wondecla

Herberton is a rural town and locality in the Tablelands Region, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Herberton had a population of 855 people.


The first European exploration of this area 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. By the September of that year, Herberton had a population of 300 men and 27 women. Herberton Post Office opened on 22 November 1880. In December 1881 a State School was established.

StateLibQld 1 135881 Cosmopolitan Hotel, Herberton, 1888
Cosmopolitan Hotel in Herberton in 1888

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.

At its apogee, Herberton was the richest tin mining field in Australia, and was home to 17 pubs, 2 local newspapers and a brewery.

Tin mining ceased in Herberton in 1978.

At the 2006 census, Herberton had a population of 974.

Heritage listings

Herberton has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Geography and climate

Herberton is situated 918 m (3,012 ft) high on the Great Dividing Range south-west of Atherton. Vegetation ranges from tropical rainforest to the east, wet schlerophyl forests to the north and east and open schleorphyl forests and woodlands to the north and west.

Herberton is notably drier than the area around Atherton with average rainfall for Herberton of 1,155 mm (45.5 in). Herberton is the most northerly location in Australia to have recorded a temperature at or below −5 °C (23 °F), and also the only location in Tropical North Queensland to have done so. The average minimum temperature ranges from 10 °C (50 °F) in winter to 18 °C (64 °F) in summer, while maximums range from 21 to 29 °C (70 to 84 °F).

Climate data for Herberton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.2
Average high °C (°F) 28.0
Average low °C (°F) 18.2
Record low °C (°F) 9.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 241.5
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 16.5 16.5 16.6 13.9 11.9 8.5 7.0 5.4 4.7 5.2 8.4 11.7 126.3
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Tourism and attractions

The Herberton Mining Museum and Visitor Information Centre opened in 2005, and caters to the needs of the tourism industry. There are several caravan parks, hotels, motels and B&Bs located in the town. Herberton is the oldest town on the Atherton Tablelands and is often referred to as the Village in the Hills.

A Heritage Walk for tourists that takes in some of the old buildings and historical features of the town is a popular attraction. Herberton Historical Village is a 16-acre, re-creation of the town during the tin mining era, with exhibits such as vintage machinery, cars and Australian antiques. It has more than 50 restored period buildings.

The Spy and Camera Museum houses antique spy cameras, a photographic gallery and photographic memorabilia with guided tours through the museum and a working photographer and photographic studio.

Most recently, a Railway Museum has been established by volunteers in the former Herberton Railway Station building. This is operated by volunteers and only open part-time.

The Tepon Equestrian Grounds just out of Herberton have recently been upgraded with a large undercover pavilion for equestrian and other sporting events such as cycling and mountain biking. Local markets are held on the 3rd Sunday of every month at the Wondecla Oval.


Herberton State School is a government primary and secondary (Prep-10) school for boys and girls at Elwyn Phillips Memorial Drive in Moomin (17°22′20″S 145°22′44″E / 17.3723°S 145.3790°E / -17.3723; 145.3790 (Herberton State School)). In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 176 students with 20 teachers (17 full-time equivalent) and 17 non-teaching staff (12 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program. The new primary school campus constructed in 1994 is not within Herberton but within the neighbouring locality of Moomin. However, the secondary (7-10) campus remains at the original school site in Grace Street, Herberton (17°22′50″S 145°22′57″E / 17.3805°S 145.3825°E / -17.3805; 145.3825 (Herberton State School - Secondary Campus)).

Mount St Bernard College is a Catholic secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at 15 Broadway Street (17°22′45″S 145°22′57″E / 17.3793°S 145.3826°E / -17.3793; 145.3826 (Mount St Bernard College)). In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 191 students with 34 teachers (32 full-time equivalent) and 31 non-teaching staff (26 full-time equivalent).

For government secondary education to Year 12, the nearest school is Atherton State High School in Atherton to the north-east.

Notable people

Notable people associated with Herberton include:

  • Bunny Adair, Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Cook who attended Herberton State School.
  • Alice Bonar, founder of the Australian Red Cross in Herberton, now the oldest continuously operating branch in Australia. In 1914 reconvened the branch as a member of the Australian Red Cross. Eldest son David Welbourn Bonar a tunneller at Hill 60 and daughter May was a nurse in World War I.
  • Nancy Francis, journalist and poet known as 'Black Bonnet'. Wrote extensively on life in the Daintree area including recording indigenous culture. Wrote poetry published in North Queensland papers and The Bulletin.
  • James Douglas Henry, mining engineer, served in 4th Queensland Imperial Bushmen contingent. Member of the Mining Corps then Commanding Officer of 1st Australian Tunnellers involved in Hill 60. Retired to Tepon near Herberton and ARP warden for Wondecla area in World War II.
  • John Ledlie, one of the founders of North Queensland firm Armstrong, Ledlie and Stillman. Brought the first electric street lights outside his Herberton store. Shire Chairman of Herberton Shire Council, member of Cairns Harbour Board and Cairns Regional Electricity Board. Teamed with Robert Ringrose to establish Herberton State High School in 1912.
  • John Newell, Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Woothakata , Chairman of Herberton Shire Council, Mayor of Herberton Municipality. One of the discoverers of payable tin and the establishment of Herberton Gold and Mineral Field. Founding member of the Tinaroo Division Board.
  • Robert Ringrose, barrister, geologist, naturalist, fellow of Royal Geographical Society of Queensland who established the conservation area now known as Mount Hypipamee National Park. Worked to establish the Charters Towers School of Mines and one of the first 12 state high schools in Herberton in 1912.
  • Tom Risley, artist and sculptor. Trained as an electrician then worked in rainforest ecology in CSIRO. His work is held in New York Museum of Modern Art, gallery in Japan, pieces in National Gallery of Australia and Queensland Art Gallery, private collections and one of his largest sculptures is situated in the Gordon Gardens in the Herberton Mining Museum & Visitor Information Centre.
  • Dallas Johnson played his junior rugby league for the Magpies, the local rugby league team the town has, and Atherton Roosters. He went on to play for NRL clubs such as Melbourne Storm, NQL Cowboys and represented QLD and Australia.

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