Herberton, in Queensland's Atherton Tablelands, was established in 1880 as part of the Herbert River tin mining field (the richest tin mining field in Australia at the time) and mining activities continued until 1978. It was probably developed as an agricultural area in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Registers of grazing and agricultural farms and other types of selection under the Crown Lands Act are dated 1886-1897 for the Herberton agricultural area, suggesting the area was developed for farming during these decades.

Atherton officially became a town when the first lots were sold in 1886. European settlers (British Isles, Northern Italy, Germany, Middle East, Greek, Albanian, Sicilian, Swiss, French) were generally involved in either mining for tin or gold, or lumbering. Along with Europeans, many Chinese, Malaysians and Indians came to work the land. The Chinese, mostly market gardeners, found prime conditions for maize growing in the Atherton Tablelands. Until 1919 Chinese were responsible for approximately 80% of all maize harvested in the region. Atherton had a Chinese population of more than 1000, with its own Chinatown and Chinese temple.

The timber industry grew into a major force throughout the Atherton Tablelands, with Kauri Pine and Red Cedar being the prized timbers.

Today farming is still the major industry at the Atherton Tablelands. Sugar cane, corn, maize, beans, strawberries, macadamia nuts and lettuce have replaced tobacco farms as primary industries. Cattle grazing and chicken rearing are also major industries.

Herberton is located in the rolling hills of the Atherton Tablelands, in far north Queensland.

Queensland State Archives http://www.archivessearch.qld.gov.au/

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