Tablelands Regional CouncilEconomic profile
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Tablelands Regional Council

About the area

Name origin

The Tablelands Regional Council is named for the Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands located in the area.

Location and boundaries

The Tablelands Regional Council area is located in Far North Queensland, about 1,800 kilometres north of the Brisbane CBD, and 100 kilometres west of the Cairns CBD. The Tablelands Regional Council area is bounded by Mareeba Shire in the north and west, the Cairns Regional Council area, the Cassowary Coast Regional Council area and Hinchinbrook Shire in the east, and the Charters Towers Regional Council area and Etheridge Shire in the south.

Included areas

The Tablelands Regional Council area includes the localities of Atherton, Barrine, Beatrice, Butchers Creek, Carrington, Danbulla, East Barron, Ellinjaa, Evelyn, Gadgarra, Glen Allyn, Glen Ruth, Gunnawarra, Herberton, Innot Hot Springs, Jaggan, Kaban, Kairi, Kalunga, Kirrama, Koombooloomba, Kureen, Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham, Lake Tinaroo, Maalan, Malanda, Middlebrook, Millaa Millaa, Millstream, Minbun, Minnamoolka, Moomin, Moregatta, Mount Garnet, Mungalli, North Johnstone, Palmerston (part), Peeramon, Ravenshoe, Silver Valley, Tarzali, Tinaroo, Tolga, Topaz, Tumoulin, Upper Barron, Wairuna, Walkamin, Wondecla, Wongabel, Wooroonooran (part) and Yungaburra.

Economic region

Land use

The Tablelands Regional Council area encompasses significant areas of national park and state forest, rural areas and growing rural-residential and township areas. The Council area encompasses a total land area of about 11,000 square kilometres. The primary regional centre is Atherton, with smaller townships at Herberton and Malanda, and villages at Millaa Millaa, Ravenshoe, Tinaroo, Tolga and Yungaburra. Rural land is used mainly for crop farming, beef farming, dairy farming and mining, with some timber production. Tourism is also an important industry.


The Tablelands Regional Council area is served by the Kennedy Highway, the Palmerston Highway and Maalan Road.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the 1870s, with land used mainly for grazing, timber-getting, farming, and tin and copper mining. Many townships were established in the 1880s and 1890s. Growth took place from the late 1800s through to the early 1900s, aided by the extension of the railway line from Cairns. Expansion continued from the post-war years, with the population of the Council area increasing from about 11,000 in 1947 to over 13,000 in 1954. The population then declined slightly to 12,000 in 1966, before increasing gradually during the 1970s to about 15,000 in 1981. Steady growth took place from the 1980s, with the population rising to about 20,000 in 1991, to nearly 22,000 in 2001, and then to nearly 26,000 in 2016.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Tablelands Regional Council area were various Aboriginal tribes.