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Malanda Hotel, Malanda, Qld.1.jpg
Malanda Hotel
Population 2,052 (2011 census)
Established 1908
Postcode(s) 4885
Elevation 732 m (2,402 ft)
LGA(s) Tablelands Region
State electorate(s) Dalrymple
Federal Division(s) Kennedy
Localities around Malanda:
Kureen Peeramon Lake Eacham
Upper Barron Malanda North Johnstone
Upper Barron Jaggan Glen Allyn

Malanda is a town and locality on the Atherton Tableland in the Tablelands Region, Far North Queensland, Australia. In the 2011 census, Malanda had a population of 2,052 people. Malanda first developed in the 1900s after the discovery of tin and copper at Herberton saw a steady stream of miners and engineers moving over the mountains from the coast.


Malanda is located 85 kilometres (53 mi) from Cairns and 732 metres (2,402 ft) above sea level. The town is located downstream of the Malanda Falls on the North Johnstone River.

Malanda Milk

The name Malanda is synonymous throughout North Queensland with milk and cheese. Local promoters, noting that Malanda milk is sold in the Northern Territory and as far north as Weipa, declared Malanda to be 'the headquarters for one of the largest and longest milk runs in the world'. The milk is also exported to Indonesia and Malaysia. Malanda Milk is now a part of Dairy Farmers, but with a shorter milk run, only as far south as Mackay and as far north as Darwin.


In 1886 a decision was made to build a railway into the area but the problems of construction were enormous. Over 3,412 kilometres (2,120 mi) of railway was installed into the region in the next six years. By 1890 the Tablelands railway line had reached Kuranda. It pushed on to Mareeba in 1893 and Atherton in 1903 and did not reach Malanda until 1911. The line closed in 1964.

In 1908, James English (later the publican of the Malanda Hotel and father of Charles English) and James Emerson both moved into the area. Both saw the district's dairy potential. English brought cattle from Kiama and the Richmond River areas in New South Wales and Emerson had a herd of 1,026 cattle overlanded from Lismore. They took 16 months to reach Malanda and only 560 survived the journey. Despite this arduous start the industry grew and by 1919 Malanda had its own butter factory. In 1973 this amalgamated with the factory in Millaa Millaa to form the Atherton Tablelands Co-operative Dairy Association.

In 1910, in response to a developing local industry, John Prince established a sawmill in Malanda. It was from this mill that the boards for the Malanda Hotel (built in 1911) were sawn. Malanda Post Office opened by January 1912 (a receiving office had been open from 1911).

The northern entrance to the town passes the Malanda Falls. In comparison to the spectacular gorges of the escarpment the falls were created by the last flow of lava from the Malanda Shield Volcano with a cascade of only 4 meters. The town's swimming pool lies at the bottom of the falls. The name 'Malanda', according to some sources, was the local Aboriginal word meaning 'waterfalls'.

At the 2006 census, Malanda had a population of 1,009.

Heritage listings

Queensland State Archives 1283 Malanda Falls and Swimming Pool NQ c 1935
Malanda Falls and Swimming Pool, circa 1935

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


  • The Malanda Falls Conservation Park — just opposite the Malanda Falls the park offers a short walk through the rainforest and an opportunity to see a wide range of rainforest trees.
  • The Peeramon Hotel — 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) to the east of the town is the Peeramon Hotel, once a siding for the Tolga-Millaa Millaa railway. Today the solitary pub is the only reminder of a once-thriving town which was surveyed in 1907. The publican has a collection of antique telephones. The hotel suffered some serious damage from Cyclone Larry in March 2006.
  • The Malanda Art Trail starts at the town library. Nine vibrant artworks commemorate the rich history of Malanda's community - the Original Inhabitants, Hardships and Struggles, Transport, Commerce, Recollections, Early Settlers, the Dairy Industry, Recreation and Looking Ahead. Close study of the individual mosaics (each of which contains a blue butterfly) reveals many details camouflaged in the intricate designs, and the handmade ceramic border tiles tell more about the theme of the central mosaic. Mosaics were made by former resident Felicity Wallis.
  • Swim with platypus at the base of Malanda Falls in the crocodile-free North Johnstone river.
  • Drive right over the top of Malanda Falls, where tree-kangaroos have been noted crossing the road.
Majestic Theatre Malanda
Majestic Theatre
  • The Majestic Theatre is said to be the oldest continually-operating cinema in Australia and has potato sack seating on 14 December 1929 it was dedicated by Fred Browning, Superintendent of the Atherton Ambulance centre. Mr. Browning produced, stage managed and performed in the opening concert.
  • The Malanda Hotel has a grand ballroom and staircase and is claimed to be the largest wooden structure in Australia.
  • The Historical Resource Centre in Elizabeth Street is the meeting room and archival repository for all printed and photographic collections of the Eacham Historical Society. It houses a comprehensive library of books pertaining to the history of North Queensland. These books are available for perusal and study at the centre by students and members of the general public. Books can be borrowed by members of the society. The Land Settlement Registers, which contain the names of all the first settlers in the Atherton Land Agent's District, are available for perusal and research. The handwritten registers contain a wealth of information about the early settlement of the Atherton tablelands. The Resource Centre is open Tuesday evenings 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm, and Thursday mornings, 9.00 am to noon.
Malanda QLD Bromfield crater and swamp
Bromfield Crater, Malanda.
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