Canungra

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 offer.

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.

Witheren

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.

Brief history

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.

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