Australian Towns & Cities
Queensland: Marburg
Incorporating photos and Information from Michael Greenslade's former Australian Towns, Cities and Highways site

German settlers arrived in the region around the 1860s. Reportedly, when the station master of the nearby Walloon railway station asked the settlers where they lived, the settlers responded with 'ober dar'. He felt that 'ober dar' should have a proper name and since he had read an article about a town in Germany called 'Marburg' he decided to register their produce as coming from 'Marburg'. The settlers liked this solution and the name stuck. The timber, sugar cane and dairy industries became major industries for Marburg.

In 1900 Marburg had a courthouse, police barracks, a post office, two hotels, five churches, a State school, a School of Arts, several stores, a blacksmith, a butter factory, a sugar factory and a rum distillery. At that time nearly 80 percent of Marburg's population came from Germany or were of German descent. 1 Marburg Post Office opened on 1 October 1879 (a receiving office named Frederick had been open from 1878), was renamed Townshend in 1917 during World War 1 and reverted to Marburg in 1919. 2

Marburg grew rapidly in the first half of the twentieth century, as the main road from Brisbane to Toowoomba passed through the town's centre. Marburg became popular as a stopover for travellers.

In 1912 the Marburg branch line from Rosewood to Marburg was opened 3 but only a few years later the railway began to suffer from the competition of highway traffic. It still survived until 1965 when the line was closed.

Because of an anti-German sentiment of some State politicians the name of Marburg was changed during the First World War into Townshend, 4 a name change the locals did not support. 5 Dr. Sirois, the local General Practician at the time, was instrumental in having the name Marburg be re-introduced after the war in 1920, 6 which created a storm of protest but to no avail.

When the Warrego Highway was built in the 1960s, most of the traffic from Brisbane to Toowoomba bypassed Marburg, and subsequently the town has become less populated.

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Preview: Description:
Town Centre:
Edmond Street passing through the Marburg town centre, June 2009. Edmond St once formed part of the main road between Brisbane and Toowoomba.

Image © Michael Greenslade

Town Centre:
Edmond Street passing through Marburg, June 2009. Edmond St once formed part of the main road between Brisbane and Toowoomba.

Image © Michael Greenslade

1 Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2000). Heritage Trails of the Great South East. State of Queensland. p. 71. ISBN 0-7345-1008-X
2 Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions.
3 Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, December, 1960 pp195-197
4 "The Passing of Marburg". The Brisbane Courier. 16 June 1917. p. 4.
5 "Townshend or Marburg?". The Brisbane Courier. Qld.: 4 September 1917. p. 6.
6 "Back to German Name ". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 January 1920. p. 14.
7 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016 Census QuickStats

Last updated: 21-May-2019 11:35

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