Maleny is a small, scenic town 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Brisbane on the Blackall Range overlooking the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia. Nearby towns include Landsborough, Montville, Peachester,Palmwoods and Hunchy. Nearby places of geographical significance include the Glass House Mountains and Baroon Pocket Dam.
Main street of Maleny
Maleny is situated approximately 450 metres (1,480 ft) above sea level, among the characteristic rolling green hills of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Prior to European settlement, the area was covered in thick sub-tropical rainforest with huge hardwood trees. Timber-getters in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries opened up the area seeking valuable timber, which was prized locally and in Europe. Heavy logging led to the almost complete denuding of the rainforest clad hills in the district around Maleny. Pockets of forest remain in steeper terrain and in one large remnant patch (around 40 Hectares or 100 Acres) which now forms Mary Cairncross Reserve.
The area around Maleny was originally populated by two aboriginal groups, the Nalbo people and the Dallambara group. The area was known for its bunya feasts which happened every third year when the giant bunya tree was in fruit.
The first European to document Maleny was the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt who describes the area in his travel diary in 1844. The first European settlement followed in the wake of the Gympie gold rush of 1867. A track linking Maleny to Landsborough was cut in 1880.
An official proclamation of Maleny as a town occurred in 1891. The Maleny Butter Factory began operation in 1904. Maleny was a timber town until the early 1920s and then was a centre of dairy production and fruit growing. Although a campaign to have a police station in the town was started in the 1920s it wasn't until 1952 that permission to convert a house into the current police station and residence was granted. Maleny Post Office opened by February 1906 (a receiving office had been open from 1889).
Maleny has replaced its timber-cutting and dairying past with tourism with a large influx of people who wanted an alternative lifestyle. As well as being on the Hinterland tourist drive, Maleny attracts day trippers from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast who are attracted to the various stores, art galleries and specialty shops.
Maleny is home to a large number of cooperative enterprises. There are art galleries, health food and organic produce stores, cafes, the Maleny Credit Union, thriving business centre, rural settlements, alternative schools, alternative medical treatment, organic farming, intentional communities including the internationally award-winning Crystal Waters Permaculture Village and the Fountainhead organic retreat and education centre which received an award from the federal government in 2011 for its contribution to finding holistic solutions for depression and anxiety.
Baroon Pocket Dam constructed in 1989 is fed by the Obi Obi Creek, a significant tributary of the upper Mary River, which drains the basalt capped Maleny plateau. Water runoff statistics have been kept in this area since the 1940s showing that the average annual rainfall is 2,037 millimetres (80.2 in) and the runoff into Baroon Pocket Dam receives annually about 64,000ML. Since its construction the dam has become an important recreation area for the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The Baroon Pocket Dam holds about 61,000 megalitres of water and the treatment plant supplies about 150 megalitres of treated water to the Sunshine Coast daily. There is a sailing club, naval cadet unit, fishing club, secluded accommodation, and picnic facilities.