The earliest non indigenous history of the Yarraman area is a pastoral one. During the 1840’s, vast pastoral concerns were established at Cooyar and Taromeo: the waterhole where stockman from both stations met was known as Yarraman Creek and ultimately Yarraman. Settlers began arriving in the area from the late 1870’s, but it was not until 1889 that large scale resumptions of these pastoral stations led to a more regulated form of intensive settlement. These settlers were farmers and their arrival heralded the beginning of large scale clearing and ringbarking of the massive timber resources of the region and clearing the land was usually a government requirement of selections.
Increasingly settlement led to the development of a township in the late 1890’s. A school was established at Upper Yarraman in 1905 and at Yarraman Creek in 1901. By 1908 The Millars Karri and Jarrah Company of Western Australia had opened a sawmill at Yarraman Creek. In 1909, the Queensland Pine Company acquired this mill from Millars Karri and Jarrah Company. In that same year Queensland Pine Company applied to the Minister of Lands for the timber rights to 25,000 acres of land in the area and undertook to clear the land at the rate of 8 million super feet per annum, thus making it suitable for sale for agricultural purposes.
In 1913 the first commercial wood pulping mill operation in Australia was established by Queensland Pine Company in Yarraman employing 70 men. At the opening, the visiting dignitaries were shown a demonstration by the famous Lynch sisters, four sisters who cut timber and worked bullock teams in the district.
The transport of logs and timber was by bullock team, difficult in times of drought when feed for bullocks was lacking, and difficult during rainy periods when roads became boggy and impassible.
After much negotiation, the railway line from Ipswich was extended to Yarraman in 1913 which opened up the area to new colonization and individual advancements as well as the timber industry to prosper for many years to come. The railway was also needed for transport of pulp from the mill to Sydney.
Yarraman established its own private electricity enterprise in the 1930’s. In December 1932, for the first time, sports and dancing were carried out in the open under lights at the newly opened Yarraman Recreation Ground and Memorial Park. The plant supplied reliable power to the town and neighbouring areas including Blackbutt until the mid 1950’s when the State Government took responsibility for power supplies. The Yarraman Power House was one of the last private electricity enterprises in Queensland, and remnants of the old station started by Charlie Budgen Snr still exist in the town today. The nearby Tarong Power Station supplies Queensland with one quarter of the State’s total electric power.
Over the years, Yarraman has prospered through its timber, grain, beef and dairy goods. In fact in the 1960’s our farms produced most of the maize (corn) that was used by the Kelloggs Cornflakes Company. However when the Brisbane Valley Rail Line was decommissioned in 1988 followed by the decline of the Yarraman Forestry department operations and then closure of the office in 2010. Its loss threw Yarraman into a temporary decline.
Today, the town draws most of its wealth through timber (the mill still operates after 100 years), agriculture, cattle and tourism.
Much of Yarraman’s history can be read and viewed at our Heritage Museum which is well worth a visit if you are travelling through Yarraman.