Kandanga, a rural town in the Mary Valley, is 20 km south of Gympie. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal expression describing a bend in a creek or referring to a mountain ridge.
Occupied by farm selectors in 1884, the first township in the area was Bunya Creek. The opening of the Mary Valley railway to Kandanga in 1914 led to the formation of a township around the station. Before then there existed only a basic rural community; a school (1900), a Union church at Bunya Creek (1905), a blacksmith, a store and the Kandanga Farmers Association.
Town blocks were sold in 1912, and in the year when the railway was opened the Kandanga Hotel was built and a progress association was formed. Timber was cut at the Upper Kandanga sawmill and sent to Gympie by rail, along with cream, bananas, cattle and pigs. Farming later diversified into citrus and peanuts, and a fruitgrowers' association was formed in 1923.
A Catholic church was opened in 1918 and a war memorial hall was built in 1924-25. The old hall was converted to a store, adding to Kandanga's butcher, baker, bank and tea room. After several years of travelling cinema shows in the hall, the Kandanga Talkies picture palace (400 seats) was opened in 1942.
In the 1930s pineapples were increasingly grown, and in 1956 the first Kandanga Pineapple Festival was held. Additional postwar facilities were opened, a bowling club (1949) and a swimming pool (1980). Local stores, however, were closed as shopping in Gympie became more convenient by car. The railway line was closed in 1995, but reopened as a tourist line in a short time.
Kandanga has sports facilities, a State primary school (1915), swimming pool, bowls club, a hotel, a community information centre, tourist outlets in the main street and a fruitgrowers' association. Its census populations have been:
(including rural surround)
Pat Towner, Kabi country: the story of Kandanga, Kadanga, PA Towner, 1989
Pat Towner, Rock 'n' rails: the history of the Mary Valley railway line, Kadanga, PA Towner, 1998