Mapleton, a rural town of about 800 people, is at the northern end of the Blackall Range, 95 km north of central Brisbane and 25 km inland from Maroochydore. In 1892 a postal receiving office was opened at a local farm house when the area was known as Luton. Two years later it was decided to name the postal site Mapleton, possibly after a village in Derbyshire, England.
Farm selections for orchards and plantations were taken up in the 1890s, but the unique quality of Mapleton was its elevation, offering relief from the muggy conditions of the Maroochy coast. By the early 1900s Mapleton had the Ocean View hotel and several guesthouses. It was described as the gateway to the Blue Mountains of Queensland. In 1915 a tramway from Mapleton via Kureelpa to Nambour was opened to carry produce to the North Coast railway line, answering a long felt need by the Mapleton Fruit Growers and Farmers Association. With a population of about 250, Mapleton was described as a dairying and fruit-growing district in Pugh's Queensland directory in 1925, with a few stores, tradespeople and two sawmills. It continued in much the same rural environment for the next 60 years until Sunshine Coast tourism and the tourist route through Montville and the Blackall Ranges brought it to prominence. Its population doubled between 1986 and 1996, with the addition of numerous attractions and an annual writers' festival.
Mapleton Falls National Park is two km west of the township, and the Lilyponds in the town centre are a popular picnic spot. Mapleton also has a primary school (1899), a church, a local hall and library, a bowling club, a hotel and a caravan park. To the north of the town in Post Office Road is St Isidore's homestead, an elaborate house built in the early 1900s for a pioneer citrus orchardist. It is listed on the Queensland heritage register. Mapleton's census populations have been:
North of the town is Mapleton Forest Reserve which encloses the headwaters of the Belli and Gheerulla Creeks. Each flow through Belli Park to join the Mary River. It is thought that Belli is an Aboriginal word describing the casuarina tree. Belli Park had a primary school (1908-63), and has a store and a public hall. Its census populations have been:
Back to Mapleton celebrations January 30th 1967: souvenir booklet, Nambour, Nambour Newspaper Co, 1967
Lindsay Wareham, Mapleton - 100 years - A tribute to our pioneers, Mapleton, Lindsey Wareham, 1988