Kenilworth is the next town along the Maleny-Kenilworth Road about 20 minutes drive from Conondale, and about 50 km from the coast.
The Aboriginal name Hinka Booma is all but a memory with the town renamed ‘Kenilworth’ after the title of a book that was being read at the time by the wife of the first cattle farmer in the area, Richard Smith.
The major industry in the town has remained cattle farming, although it does boast the popular Kenilworth Cheese Factory.
The Kenilworth district originally formed part of a large cattle run established in 1850 by Richard Joseph Smith. Kenilworth Run was also referred to as ‘Oobie Oobie’, or a variation of it, by different owners.
The Queensland Government passed Land Acts from the 1860s that were intended to break up large pastoral runs and encourage closer settlement, particularly the establishment of farms. Selections were taken up in the district from the 1890s, focused on the area that became known as Gheerulla. The settlement was originally named for the creek on which it was located, Yahoo Creek. Local residents then referred to the community as Kenilworth. By 1910 the name ‘Gheerulla’ was proposed for the creek and the new post office by the Kenilworth Farmer’s Association after consultation with local Indigenous people, allegedly a contraction of two local Aboriginal words meaning ‘dry creek’ (Kenilworth Farmer’s Association Meeting Minutes, 13 November, 1920). Landowners engaged in mixed farming and grazed dairy cattle, producing cream for butter production.
By the turn of the twentieth century there was a sufficient number of settlers to prompt the establishment of a school and the formation of the Kenilworth Farmers’ Association. The Association oversaw the creation of cemetery and recreation reserves, and a co-operative buying scheme for its members. The Farmers’ Assembly Hall, the settlement’s public hall, was opened in 1907 – an important community milestone. It was constructed from pit-sawn beech, weatherboard walls and Crow’s Ash timber floor. The Association also opened a Co-operative store in Eumundi in 1917, from which the produce of the district was sold (Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, Saturday 6 April 1918:6).
Despite the progress of the community, there was not yet a town. Indeed, local postal services were still handled at a number of receiving offices in the area including Kenilworth Run. However, a new town was surveyed in 1921, over six kilometres from Gheerulla, and officially named ‘Kenilworth’. For a time, the two settlements were referred to as Kenilworth and Kenilworth Lower (Gheerulla). Kenilworth grew rapidly in the 1920s and 30s and prospered as a town.
History Source - 'Thematic History of the Sunshine Coast', Sunshine Coast Heritage Study, Sunshine Coast Council, August 2019