Gympie is a regional town in the Wide Bay-Burnett region of Queensland, Australia. It is about 160 kilometres (100 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane. The city lies on the Mary River, which floods the town periodically. Gympie is the administrative centre for the Gympie Region area. At the 2011 census, Gympie had a population of 18,602.
Gympie is famous for its gold field. It contains a number of historic buildings registered on the Queensland Heritage Register.
Gympie's name derives from the Kabi (the language of a tribe of Indigenous Australians that historically lived in the region) word "gimpi-gimpi" (which means "stinging tree"), which referred to Dendrocnide moroides. The tree has large, round leaves that have similar properties to stinging nettles. The town was previously named Nashville, afterJames Nash, who discovered gold in the area in 1867. The name was later changed to Gympie in 1868.
Graziers were the original European settlers. Subsequently, James Nash reported the discovery of 'payable' alluvial gold on 16 October 1867. At the time of Nash's discovery, Queensland was suffering from a severe economic depression. Nash probably saved Queensland from bankruptcy. A memorial fountain in Gympie's Park honours Nash's discovery. The Gympie Gold Rush Festival celebrates the event today. The Gold Rush Festival holds 10 days of cultural events in October. Gold mining still plays a role in the area's fortunes, along with agriculture (dairy predominantly), timber and tourism. The gold rush's rapid development led to streets that are in an irregular fashion.
Gympie Creek Post Office opened on 1 December 1867. It was renamed Gympie in 1868.
The railway from Maryborough completed in 1881. The North Coast railway linked Gympie to Brisbane in 1891. A fire brigade was in operation in 1900. The state declared Gympie a town in 1903. A powdered milk factory began operations in 1953.
There are many attractions in and around Gympie. The Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum houses memorabilia from the early gold mining era, as well as displays showcasing military, rural, transport, communications and steam development in Australia. The WoodWorks Museum provides an insight into the timber industry & social history of yesteryear through displays and demonstrations. Features include a large selection of pioneering handtools, 1925 Republic truck, bullock wagons and blacksmith shop.
The Valley Rattler -- steam train winds its way through the backyards of the southern side of Gympie and then continues west into the scenic Mary Valley where it crosses and then follows the Mary River to negotiate the valley and the Mary's main tributaries. The tourist train began operations in 1996. It provides a spectacular journey through the valley beginning at the Old Gympie Railway Station in Tozer Street. This station is the original railway station for the track that passed through Gympie in the 1900s gold rush. Unfortunately the 'Rattler' is currently out of commission due to concerns of Track Safety. Local Community, Business and Council people are all working together to find funding for track repair work and formulate plans for the ongoing management and maintenance of the operation.
Gympie also hosts the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival in March. The festival is five days of fun, inspiration and stimulation. Highlights include short films from all corners of the planet, special features and documentaries, parties, seminars, intimate Q & A sessions with filmmakers and an award Ceremony.
15 minutes south-east of Gympie subtropical rainforest & spectacular rocky creeks make the Mothar Mountain rock pools a popular retreat for locals and visitors. Crystal clear water gently cascades over ancient granite outcrops at Woondum National Park. Facilities include picnic tables, barbecues, firewood, fresh water, amenities and bush walking tracks. Access is by dirt road and requires a four-wheel drive vehicle.
30 minutes drive east of Gympie is Tin Can Bay where you can hand feed rare Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphins in their natural environment. The feeding is regulated for the protection of the dolphins. Tin Can Bay is the Southern access point to the Great Sandy Strait, a stunning aquatic playground protected by World Heritage listed Fraser Island. The Strait is an important ecological area with marine turtles, dolphin pods, dugongs also known as mermaids, migrating Humpback whales and valuable roosting area for migratory birds.
Gympie, Mary Valley, Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach and Cooloola are part of the Great Sandy Biosphere which gives world wide recognition of the outstanding natural beauty and high levels of biodiversity in this region.
The alleged Gympie Pyramid is also a minor attraction.