In 1842 the Burnett River system was discovered by Henry Stuart Russell. He together with William Orton and Jimmy, an Aboriginal from the Severn River District, had ventured out from their base in Cecil Plains. He wished to explore the area west of the Wide Bay district to which he had travelled in a party led by Andrew Petrie.
The government surveyor, J.C. Burnett carried our a survey of the river in 1847.
Reid, Humphrey and Herbert (along with others who settled further south) explored the area in 1846 and by 1848 Reid had settled Ideraway and Herbert and Humphrey had jointly settled Wetheron and Ban Ban.
In 1848 the Archer Brothers travelled through the area in search of grazing land. They are believed to have camped at Oakey Creek, not far from where Gayndah now stands but moved on and established Eidsvold and Coonambula stations between Mundubbera and Eidsvold.
Soon after, an influx of settlers followed, doggedly contending with the arduous task of hauling their supplies from Ipswich. No roads existed in the establishment-era of this district and only tracks (at best) lead to what was eventually know as Gayndah. The road to Maryborough was started in 1848 and finally surveyed in 1850.
The site of Gayndah was selected and named in 1849 by Maurice Charles O'Connell, Land Commissioner for the Burnett. The name of Gayndah became recognised in 1850 when the Post Office and Courthouse were gazetted. Gayndah was gazetted as a town in 1852 after the plan for the town was drawn.
The Port of Maryborough was established and opened in 1847. This provided a quicker means of access to the Burnett and Gayndah District and communication and freight started to flow to Maryborough from this area. Pack horses, bullock drays and wagons and horse drawn wagons were used to bring freight and mail to the town as of course were coaches and carts as the roads improved.
Sheep, cattle, dairying and agricultural crops started to flourish by the end of the century, and in 1892 the first of Gayndah's citrus crops was planted. These crops consisted of both oranges and mandarins. Early records show the first transaction for Gayndah citrus took place as early as 1863 when oranges were transported to the Port of Maryborough for shipment to Brisbane.
Our township grew rapidly, so rapidly, in fact, that at one time it was thought that Gayndah might become capital city of the State. That idea didn't persist for long however.
One of the significant advances for Gayndah was the extension of the railway to the town in 1907. This allowed improved freedom in the movement of goods, building material and people to and from the town. Around this time the dairying industry received a boost and butter and cheese factories were established to service local and coastal demand.
We think our pioneers would be proud of the progress we have made since they established our town in this beautiful spot. They showed great foresight in selecting this site for a town for it has proved a profitable and successful centre for a continuing grazing industry as well as the citrus orchards which now spread throughout the area. It took courage and determination to establish themselves in this region. Long hard days, weeks and years have been spent in developing the ideal cattle, appropriate crops and the right sort of orchards in the area. Without this effort it would not have been possible to grow to a shire population of approximately 3000 that are in the area today.
Gayndah and its surrounds is an area of which to be proud. There are excellent facilities for those who have their home here as well as for the holiday maker and tourist. With its wealth of history, Gayndah is the glamour of the citrus industry, and we show that every second year at Orange Festival time.
This section extracted from "Gayndah | Our Town and Our People" Booklet | Tom Hampstead 2004