Gympie History

Gympie 4570 Queensland Australia

James Nash discovered gold at near the Mary river at Gympie in 1867.
News of the gold lead to Queensland’s first gold rush.

James Nash 1868
James Nash 1868

Queensland was near bankrupt at the time that James Nash discovered gold, Gympie became known as the town that saved Queensland.

Mary Street Gympie Queensland 1925
Mary Street Gympie 1925

The Birth of Queensland

In 1859 Queen Victoria gave her approval to establish the new colony of Queensland. On the 10th December Queensland’s first Governor officially proclaimed Queensland to be a separate colony from New South Wales.

When James Nash found GOLD in Gympie, gold rush began over night and for a short time the town was known as Nashville.

In 1868 Nashville was renamed Gympie,  named after a stinging tree the local Aboriginals called ‘gimpi’. Within months of the name change, 25,000 people were on the goldfields of Gympie.

Gympie was proclaimed a municipality in 1880. Gympie became a town a decade later and was a city by 1905. The Gold mining boom continued until 1925.

Fast Forward to 2016 and their are currently 49 000 people living in Gympie.

Gympie is now the center of the Mary Valley agricultural district, in which beef cattle and pigs are raised, tropical fruit and vegetables are grown and an active dairy industry operates.

Gympie Floods

The first flood recorded in Gympie was in 1870.
Further flooding of the town of Gympie  was in 1893, 1955, 1968, 1974 1989, 1992, 1999, 2011.


Gympie Floods 1870
Gympie Floods 1870

The highest flood level ever recorded in Gympie was on 2nd February 1893, the river peaked at 25.45 meters

Most of the floods at Gympie occur between December and April.
During the 1999 floods of South East Queensland, The Mary river peaked at 21.9 meters.

gympie floods 1999
Gympie Floods 1999

Gympie Railway

What was called the “Maryborough railway” had its beginning as a result of the discovery of GOLD by James Nash, at Gympie in 1867.

The railway line between Maryborough & Gympie was not completed intill 1881. The rail link between Gympie &  Brisbane was completed 10 years later 1891.

The Original Gympie Railway Station
The Original Gympie Railway Station

The original Gympie railway station was demolished and the current station was constructed in 1912 for the thriving Gympie railway.

Queensland railway stations were predominantly built in timber. You will note a particular style of architecture of the new Gympie train station is referred to as the “Pagoda’ style.

Gympie Railway Station
Gympie Railway Station

One of the original steam trains used for the early years of the Gympie railway is sill in operation as a local tourist attraction, The Valley Rattler… What better way to explore the Mary valley region.

Mary Valley Rattler
Mary Valley Rattler

Find more information about the Valley Rattler

About James Nash

James Nash  was born on 5 September 1834 at Wiltshire England His father Michael Nash was a farm labourer. At 9 James left school for farm work and migrated to Sydney at the age of 23. He alternated between labouring work and prospecting on the goldfields in New South Wales.

Nash moved to Queensland in 1863. He found gold in 1867 near the Mary River and started the biggest rush in Queensland history.

It has been called the salvation of the depressed colony. The Bank of Queensland had closed, a financially embarrassed government had stopped work on the Ipswich – Toowoomba railway and unemployment was high. The government  offered a £3000 reward for the discovery of gold in Queensland.

For the discovery of gold which went on to produce £14,538,328 of gold,  Nash was granted only £1000 after twelve months’ debate with the Qld goverment. The gold field lost the name ‘Nashville’ and became ‘Gympie’. James Nash and his brother later won a further £7000 from their claims but unwise investments in mining stocks and an ill-fated drapery store soon dissipated their money.

After his death on 5 October 1913 granted an annual pension of £50 to his wife Catherine, née Murphy, whom he had married on 6 July 1868 at Maryborough. They had three sons and two daughters. One of his sons, Major A. Nash was killed at Gallipoli.

Despite the government’s forgetfulness, posterity has honoured him with a seven-ton granite block memorial fountain in Gympie’s Park.

Famous People from Gympie

    • John Francis (Frank) Barnes – politician
    • James Nash – prospector
    • John O’Connell Bligh – Native Police Commandant
    • Allan Boase – Australian Army Lieutenant General
    • Henry Ernest Boote – writer
    • Glen Boss – jockey
    • Archie Bradley – boxer
    • Jimmy Downey – football player
    • Thomas Dunstan – politician
    • Hugo William Du Rietz – gold miner, architect
    • Andrew Fisher – Australian Prime Minister
    • Sir Thomas William Glasgow – Australian Army Major General
    • Kaden Groves – professional cyclist
    • Darren Hanlon – Singer / Song writer
    • Peter Hanlon – sports writer
    • Kenneth Hayne – Supreme Court Justice
    • Trevor Housley – Postmaster-General
    • Angus Finlay Hutton – naturalist
    • Thelma Keane – businesswoman
    • James Kidgell – politician
    • Tracey Lewis – paralympic swimmer
    • George Mackay – politician
    • Barry McTaggart – rugby player
    • Mathew Mellor – politician
    • Francis Isidore Power – politician
    • Gregory Charles Rivers – actor
    • Marjorie Roche – Red Cross nurse
    • Christopher Scott – paralympic cyclist
    • Sir Christopher Sheehy – dairy industry administrator
    • Ann Caroline Sherry AO – businesswoman
    • Jacob Stumm – newspaper owner
    • Harry Sunderland – rugby administrator
    • Estelle Thompson – crime novelist
    • Vivian Tozer – politician
    • The Amity Affliction – musicians

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