Kenilworth Dairies lies in the heart of the Mary Valley. Rich in pasture and natural beauty – the Mary Valley and surrounds are a fine food destination.
The Mary Valley
Kenilworth is nestled within the rolling hills of the Mary Valley. It is about 60km west of Noosa and approximately 2 hours drive north from Brisbane. Kenilworth enjoys a history of agriculture, beef and dairy farming on rich fertile land. Not surprisingly, the Mary Valley has earned a reputation as a ‘food bowl’ in the south east corner of Queensland.
Today the Mary Valley is generally defined by the tourist railway that runs between Gympie and Imbil. However the Mary River itself originates on the slopes of the Conondale Range (west of Maleny). Collecting water from country with rainfall up to 2,500mm a year, The Mary flows north east to Maryborough.
The Mary River
The Mary River was named in 1847 by the New South Wales Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy, after his wife, Lady Mary Lennox.
The River was used for rafting timber during the early years of European land settlement. With the discovery of gold at Gympie in 1867, it brought an inflow of miners and pastoralists.
Alluvial flats along the Mary River and some of its tributaries then started to be used for cropping. There was small-time dairying from the 1880s and the region’s first butter factory opened in 1906.
A Valley Evolving
The Mary Valley was transformed as a result of the railway which was constructed in 1914-15. Towns followed in quick succession along The Mary, expanding from one-teacher schools to places with banks and schools of arts.
Between 1915 and 1924 butter factories were opened at Gympie, Pomona, Cooroy and Maleny. These all were supplied with milk from farms along the Mary Valley or its headwaters. The railway transported logs, livestock, vegetables, dairy and (later) students to school.
By the 1950s the Mary Valley was one of the most important dairying areas in Queensland. It contributed 15% of the State’s butter production (Queensland Agricultural Journal, Dec. 1952).
A Tourist Destination
During the 1970s-80s railway services were wound back. Eventually the goods service was replaced by the Mary Valley Rattler tourist train in 1996.
The Mary Valley, which is part of the Gympie Regional Council, is still a highly productive agricultural region. It supports a quality dairy industry, small crops, fruit and vegetable enterprises. Today The Mary Valley is flourishing as a popular tourist destination. It boasts beautiful scenery, national parks, historic towns, B&Bs and many fun activities.
It’s an easy day trip for visitors to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane and a great weekend destination in its own right.
Come and visit us soon!