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Coffs Harbour

New South Wales


Community, Business and Visitor Guide

Coffs Harbour Local History

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The region of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, Australia has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Prior to European settlement, the region was inhabited by the Gumbaynggirr people who were skilled hunters and gatherers. They collected shellfish and fished in the estuaries and along the coastline, and hunted kangaroos, wallabies, and possums in the surrounding forests.

The first European to discover the area was British navigator Captain James Cook, who sailed past Coffs Harbour in May 1770. However, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that Europeans began to establish settlements in the region. The first European to settle in the area was John Korff, a timber cutter who arrived in 1847. Korff’s name has been immortalized in the name of the town.

At first, the region was primarily used for agriculture and timber production. When gold was discovered in nearby areas in the 1850s, Coffs Harbour became an important hub for trade and transportation. By 1861, there were around 100 people living in the area and in 1867, the town was officially declared a village. The first post office was built in 1871.

The railway arrived in Coffs Harbour in 1915, bringing with it increased economic prosperity. The region became known for its banana plantations, which were established in the 1920s and rapidly expanded. By the 1930s, Coffs Harbour was the largest banana-growing region in Australia.

During World War II, the region played a significant role as a military training base and rest center for troops. After the war, the town continued to grow as tourism became an important industry. The opening of the Pacific Highway in the 1950s further boosted tourism, as it allowed easy access to the region from Sydney and Brisbane.

Today, Coffs Harbour is home to around 80,000 people and is a popular tourist destination. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, national parks, and marine reserves. The town has a rich cultural heritage, with a number of historic buildings and landmarks still standing in the area. One of the most famous landmarks in the region is the Big Banana, a large fiberglass banana that was built in 1964 and has become an iconic symbol of Coffs Harbour.

In conclusion, Coffs Harbour has a long and fascinating history that stretches back thousands of years. From the Gumbaynggirr people to the early European settlers and the boom of the banana industry, the region has seen many changes over the years. Today, it’s a thriving community and a popular tourist destination, with a rich cultural heritage that is worth exploring.

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