Originally called Middle Camp, then Cobb's Camp

Sunshine Plantation passenger train, Big Pineapple and Visitor Centre, Woombye, April 1976. Image credit: Picture Sunshine Coast

Origin of name

Originally called Middle Camp, then Cobb's Camp, Woombye derived its name from the local Aboriginal word "wombai", which refers both to the black myrtle tree (commonly known as the lily pilly , Eugenia Smithii) and the axe handle made from its wood.

Early history of settlement

Following the discovery of gold at Gympie in 1867, the Government built a road connecting Brisbane to Gympie. It was completed in October 1868 and by November, Cobb & Co. coaches were carrying passengers, mail, goods and gold between Brisbane and Gympie. Ten staging depots were established along the route, where horses and fodder were kept. One of these depots was 'Middle Camp', half way between Brisbane and Gympie. Here Cobb & Co. built the only accommodation for passengers along its route, and the inn and its surrounding buildings soon became known as Cobb's Camp Hotel.

In 1877, Karl Stumpf was granted a licence to sell liquor there. In 1880 the Brisbane to Gympie Road had become almost untrafficable and the alluvial gold in Gympie was almost played out, so Cobb & Co. withdrew their coach services.

In 1881, Frederick Schubert took charge of the hotel, and purchased 160 acres of land, which included all Cobb & Co.'s land and buildings and is the area on which the township of Woombye now stands. He built a store and a butcher's shop.

In the 1880s, the Court House was built near the Police Station. The existing name "Cobb's Camp" was considered unsuitable by the Government as there were already many places of that name. So the name Woombye was chosen, after the myrtle tree which grew locally.

The town was surveyed in 1890 and in 1891 the railway from Landsborough to Yandina was opened. From 1891 to 1914, Woombye became the rail centre to which Buderim farmers carted all their fruit and produce to rail to the markets, until the Buderim tramway connected Buderim and Palmwoods.

In 1894, Woombye State School was erected to replace the Provisional School.

In 1895, Thomas Bartholomew built a sawmill near the railway yards and it operated until 1965. Equally important, in 1895, Thomas Davey grew the first pineapples commercially in Woombye. Other growers quickly followed him and by 1903, there were 120 acres of pineapples in the district.

In 1897, Thomas McClintock set up a blacksmith's shop in the Police stables after the staff had been transferred to Nambour. In 1898, the Church of England church and the first Woombye School of Arts building were erected. Also John Tytherleigh established a branch store in Woombye, which operated until 1965.

In 1900, the Methodist church was built, Louis Willersdorf built the first bakery in Woombye. Frederick Schubert built the Criterion Hotel on the corner above the Railway yards where it still stands, and the Maroochy Pastoral, Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society was formed and the first Show was held in Woombye on 3 June 1900.