History of Kinaba

Kinaba information centre         From the early 1960’s, Noosa Parks' Association and the Cooloola Committee conducted a vigorous and heated campaign to prevent sand mining of Cooloola which eventually led to a widespread change of public opinion and forced the Queensland Government to declare the area a National Park.

Sir Thomas Hiley KBE 1905 – 1990, Treasurer of Queensland 1957 – 1965 Founder and President Bird and Wildfowl Association of Queensland In 1970, Sir Thomas Hiley offered the Government financial assistance for ‘a project to promote the preservation and public observation of native bird species in natural environments’ and between 1970 – 76, comprehensive surveys were made for suitable locations. However, some commentators have suggested that members of the Bird and Wildfowl Association may have been more interested in shooting wild birds than observing them.

With the declaration of Cooloola as a National Park, the opportunity presented itself for the Government to save face over its previous policies to mine the area by building the Sir Thomas Hiley Information Centre as a gateway to the protected Upper Noosa River.

With $70 000 from the Bird and Wildfowl Association, a $50 000 grant from Treasury and a further $180 000 from Government, the project was commenced. Robertson Brothers of Gympie successfully tendered for the Construction of the Centre.  Work commenced May 1978 and was completed ahead of schedule in September.

34 workers on the project first built a barge to ship materials across Lake then 168 piles were sunk for building and walkways.  Spotted gum was used for the frame, steps and seating with cypress tongue and groove used for cladding, all unpainted.  (Gympie Times, Saturday September 16, 1978.) Kinaba opened in March 1979 amid much self-congratulation by Queensland National Party Ministers on its building and the recent declaration of the Cooloola National Park. 

No mention was made of the heated campaign of the previous years to protect the area and no-one involved was invited to the opening.  (see ‘The Cooloola Conflict’, Dr. Arthur Harrold, Noosa Parks Association) The Centre had two QPWS staff permanently when it opened and 50,000 visitors in its first year. Rangers cleaned and maintained, met tour boats and school groups, delivered key conservation messages, made nature notes, took weather recording and visitor counts. Regretfully, Kinaba has not been permanently staffed by QPWS for more than a decade. Visitor Numbers to Kinaba continue to be high, approximately 55 000 campers between 2005 and 2010.  Day trippers and tours far outnumber campers.

In July 2011, residents of Boreen Point held a public meeting to form a Steering Committee to produce a proposal to the Department of Environment and Resource Management, to restore, re-invigorate and voluntarily staff the Kinaba Information Centre to educate and inform visitors to the area about its unique values. The Friends of Kinaba made their proposal, and were informed to wait for an Expression of Interest to be advertised, to establish the future management of the building.  They were adament the assett remain open to the public, and in public hands.

In August 2013, some members were inducted as National Park volunteers, and with our own Workplace Health and Safety Officers inducted, we were then able to proceed with taking our volunteers through this process, thus allowing them access to the restoration work which began in October 2013.  First, a big clean-up, which will be followed by construction maintenance, oiling and painting the building and walkways, and finally making information panels for the display area.   A 'Friends of Parks Small Grant' application for funding for materials for the project was unsuccessful.


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