Canungra, an old saw-milling town, is a haven for artists and
craft-workers. Visitors can view their work at local galleries and
potteries and then sit back with a cup of coffee at one of the local
cafes. Canungra is nestled in the middle of the 3 major tourist
destination, and is the gateway to the Gold Coast Hinterland. Mount
Tamborine, Lamington National Park, O'Reilly's Guesthouse and Binna
Burra. The township is also a meeting place for motor bike club rides,
hang gliders, paragliders, birdwatchers and bushwalkers who visit the
area annually to take advantage of what the Canungra Valley has to
Location: Canungra is 25 km inland from Surfers Paradise and 65 km south of central Brisbane.
Canungra tunnelCanungra is the gateway to the Lamington National Park,
including the Binna Burra and O'Reilly's holiday resorts. There is a
link to the Gold Coast with the Kokoda Walk (2002) from the barracks to
Broadbeach. Canungra has annual shows and rodeos, golf and bowls clubs,
a swimming pool, a tourist information centre, Anglican, Catholic and
Uniting churches and a council library. An interesting walk is through
the sawmill's old tramway tunnel cut through sandstone, where the walls
show the scars caused by logs jamming against them.
Canungra is a horse-breeding and training centre. In 2002 the Wadham
Park training complex opened, a $10 million facility situated on 200
acres on the town's outskirts, which includes the country's largest
equine hospital. Canungra's fringes are increasingly coming under
subdivision and rural-residential development.
In 1942 a Land Headquarters Training Centre (jungle warfare) was
established at Canungra for training troops destined for combat in the
Pacific region, the building complex in the training centre later named
Kokoda Barracks. Closed soon after 1945, the centre re-opened in 1954,
and was used intensively for training of troops for service in Vietnam
during the 1960s. Further military activities were later concentrated
at Canungra, including intelligence training (1994) and the Command,
Staff and Operations Wing (1997). The military area occupies about 6000
ha, the barracks some 100 ha and the remainder used for field training.
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Much of the training centre is in the district known as Witheren.
The civilian part of Witheren is on the west side of the training
centre reserve. It was named after Mount Witheren, apparently based on
an Aboriginal expression referring to the mountain or a turtle.
Witheren had a primary school (1899-1965), opened 10 years after
Canungra's school. Its census population in 2006 was 769.
Ttimber was taken from the ranges around Canungra in the 1860s, but
the first intensive exploitation of the timber reserves came with the
Lahey brothers who had several timber leases in the 1880s. They
established a mill at the village of Canungra and for nearly ten years
obtained logs within close proximity.
One of the origin of the town's name comes from the Aboriginal word for
small owls, "Caningera" The most notable owl found in the area is the
Southern Boobook Owl, which appears in various logos & symbols
associated with Canungra. In 2005, the local Post Office released a
special limited-release frank featuring Canungra & the Boobook Owl.