The Shire of Noosa was a Local Government Area forming the southern boundary of the Wide Bay Electorate. The shire covered an area of 868.7 square kilometres and existed as a local government entity from 1910 until 2008, when it was forcibly amalgamated with the Shire of Maroochy and City of Caloundra to form the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
The Noosa area was originally home to several Aboriginal groups. These primarily include the Undumbi tribe to the south, the Dulingbara to the north, and the Gabbi Gabbi to the west.
The name Noosa comes from the local Aboriginal word (Noothera or Gnuthuru in the Kabi Kabi language) for shadow or shady place.
Although reports of the area can be traced back to Captain Cook’s voyages in May 1770, European settlement in the region did not proceed for almost a century. This early settlement was primarily driven firstly by timber logging and then secondly a gold rush in the Gympie area. The difficulty of transport in the region, which persisted to the 1920s and beyond, was one major reason for this.
In 1871, the Government laid out a port at Tewantin, which was duly surveyed and by 1877 contained two hotels, a boarding house, school, police station and telegraph office. In 1872, the Noosa Heads and coastal region north to Peregian Beach was set aside as an Aboriginal Mission, however this was cancelled in 1878 and land was opened for selection on 15 January 1879. With the advent of the railway, Tewantin declined in importance.
In the last 50 years Noosa has been transformed from an isolated fishing village to a popular tourist destination. Although this has had its costs the shire is known for its generally greener approach to development. Most development in Noosa has been restrained. Noosa has no high rise buildings, due both to local community pressure and to council planning action, and much remaining native forest. 34.8 per cent of the Noosa district consists of National Parks, Conservation Parks, State Forests, and other generally protected land.
The area was originally incorporated as part of the Widgee Divisional Board on 11 November 1879 under the Divisional Boards Act 1879. Noosa was created as a separate shire under the Local Authorities Act 1902 in 1910, with an initial population of 2,000. The first elections were held on 22 April 1910 and resulted in James Duke becoming the first shire chairman. The original headquarters for the Shire were constructed in Pomona in 1911 on a site now used (since 1985) by the Cooroora Historical Society and Noosa Museum.
In the early 1970s, development commenced with Queensland Government backing in the area around Noosa Sound. Following the election of Noosa’s first green mayor Noel Playford in 1988 Noosa’s first strategic plan was gazetted, and in 1990 development was limited to four storeys.
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