Doonan, Lake Weyba

The Doonan area was first settled in the late 1800s

Doonan, Lake Weyba
Donald Campbell in front of his home at Doonan, 1903. Image credit: Picture Sunshine Coast.

Origin of name

The meaning of Doonan is unclear. It was given by the Officer in Charge of Police of Nambour and is thought to mean "leaf of a tree".

Weyba - an older spelling for this name was "Weiba" and it is considered to be derived from an abbreviated form of the Yugumbir word "waiam" which can mean either 'flying squirrel' or 'stingray'. In the early 1900s, Lake Weyba had a large number of stingrays, which would have been easy targets for the spears of the Aboriginal people.

Early history of settlement

The Doonan area was first settled in the late 1800s. Many of the early settlers had land on what is now known as Cash Road. They included Neils Bierregaard in 1889 and William Stuart-Russell,1910-1930.

Also Thomas Robinson, who selected in 1898, and was granted deeds in 1906 to 159 acres. He transported all his goods from Eumundi railway station by packhorse and earned a living by felling timber mainly from his own property. After he was killed by a falling tree in 1910, his family stayed on the property.

His eldest son Joseph married Marie Stuart-Russell and they settled on their own property, further down Doonan Road below the steep hill. This hill was often called "Misery Hill", presumably because of its bogginess in wet weather.

William Cash and family selected in 1898. They built a house of cedar slabs and were the first to bring banana plants in by pack horse. Timber felling was their main occupation and to assist them they had their own bullock teams. Cash Snr was a master of most trades - carpenter, builder, blacksmith, wheelwright, slaughterman- butcher.

Michael and Mary Burke settled on 200 acres of rainforest. They cleared the land for dairying, had pigs, grew cane, as well as growing arrowroot and sweet potatoes for pig feed.

Further along Doonan Road, Joe and Marcella Bowden and their nine children settled in 1927. They cleared the land and planted a banana farm.

William and Edith Duke settled in what is now called Duke Road in 1917. They began dairying and growing bananas on the slopes with some farmers working on a share basis. There was a tennis court on the property and dances were held in the homes of the residents.

Further along towards Tewantin, Bill and Esther Bedington settled in what is now called Bedington Road in 1909, and kept a dairy farm. Esther had been the gatekeeper and postmistress at the Eumundi Railway Station.

Local children had gone to Eumundi School, but as more children came to the district, the parents applied for a school at Doonan. Tom Stevens donated the land and permission was granted to build a school. Doonan Provisional School was opened in 1919. In 1920 it became a State School until its closure in 1954.

A railway link from Eumundi to Tewantin, which would run through Doonan, was proposed in 1915. A survey was undertaken, but the project was shelved during World War 1 and abandoned.

The Lake Weyba area was explored by William Pettigrew in 1862, by Marine Surveyor Heath in 1869, and E.P. Bedwell of the Royal Navy took soundings of the Lake in 1876. It had become part of the 29,000 acre Pooreema cattle run leased by Daniel and Zacharias Skyring in 1857, and pastoral activities continued in the area until the 1990s.