Origin of name
The name is derived from the Aboriginal word "naamba", referring to the red-flowering tea-tree (callistemon viminalis). The town was originally called Petrie's Creek. It was renamed after the Nambour cattle station in 1891.
Early history of settlement
The first settler at Petrie's Creek (Nambour) was Mathew Carroll who in January 1870 selected one hundred acres (40 hectares), which included the present showgrounds. The family lived in a bark hut where the Nambour Bowling Club is now located, before moving to a house on what became known as Carroll's Hill, and years later, Showground Hill. In 1884 he opened the area's first business, the Tullababa Hotel, on the showground hill. In 1885 a Post Office Receiving Office was opened at Carroll's Hotel with Mathew Carroll in charge.
In March 1870, William Samwell selected 1625 acres in the area of Crescent Drive and called his cattle run "Nambour" and it is from this selection that the Town of Nambour takes its name.
In the same year a third selection was taken up on the south bank of Petrie's Creek, an 80 acre homestead selected by Henry Hootan. It was forfeited in 1872 and re-selected by Thomas Howard in 1877.
In 1878, William Perren selected 338 acres of land along Petrie Creek. Daniel Currie in 1881 took up land on Lamington Terrace in the vicinity of the present Catholic Church. The remainder of the Petrie Creek valley was selected by the early 1880s. In 1886, the Sylvannia (Rosemount) School was opened and children from around Petrie Creek attended the school.
By 1885 two sawmills were in operation on the south bank of Petrie's Creek in the Rosemount area, one operated by George Etheridge and the other by James Mitchell & Sons.
The Maroochy Divisional Board was established in 1890, with its headquarters at Nambour. That same year, the railway connection from Brisbane was completed. When it was officially opened in January 1891, Petrie's Creek (the settlement) was renamed Nambour after the cattle run, blocks were subdivided and new settlers commenced clearing the land to grow fruit, sugarcane and farm produce.
After the railway opened, Carroll built a new hotel where the Commercial Hotel now stands and the town started to take shape. The hotel's name was changed from Carroll's Petrie Creek Hotel to Currie's Nambour Hotel. The Currie family, who also gave their name to the main street, were Commission Agents, owned the first general store in Nambour, a butcher shop and later the pub.
Nambour was not surveyed as a Town by the Lands Department. It was established by the subdivision of freehold land by H. Raff in 1889. Mathew Carroll Junior, Bridget Currie and John Currie took up early lots in 1890, which is when the development of the Town began.
In the 10 year period from 1890, the following were established in Nambour: St Joseph's Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Nambour State School, St John's Anglican Church, the Salvation Army Centre, the Moreton Mill, the Police Station and Court House.
The Moreton Central Sugar Mill Company was formed in Nambour in 1894. The mill was built in 1895-96 and commenced operations in 1897. It drew an increasing number of mill and cane workers to Nambour and made it a centre of industry and business. It also brought the introduction of services such as a doctor, chemist and a
In the early 1900s, Nambour acquired the Royal Hotel and Alhambra Hall, the "Nambour Chronicle" newspaper, Whalley's Store, Lowe's butcher's shop, a new Post Office, and its first medical officers in Dr Penny and Dr Malaher.
The district show was held in the Nambour Showgrounds for the first time in June 1909 and has continued to the present day.