Urangan, a coastal town 35 km north-west of Maryborough, is part of the urban area of Hervey Bay extending west to Pialba and Point Vernon. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal expression describing local white beach shells.
European settlement of Urangan began in the early 1880s, with sugar cane farming and the occasional foreshore shack or house. The Doolong sugar plantation was incorporated with the Urangan Sugar Company's mill (1884), but within a few years it closed. The steady area of growth was marine residences erected by Maryborough residents, numbering up to 80 according to the Maryborough historian, George Loyan, in 1897. The Urangan summer resort was 'unsurpassed in Australia' with three well-appointed hotels, boarding houses and several stores plentifully supplied by local farm produce.
In 1913 the Maryborough-Pialba railway was extended to Urangan, and on to the pier when it was completed in 1917. The pier went into deep water, resolving an inadequacy that had held back Maryborough's harbour facilities. Sugar, timber and coal (from Howard and Burrum) were shipped from the pier, but by the 1930s the coal trade fell away and decay of the timbers required costly upkeep. The pier was best for holiday promenading, and after its closure in 1975 part of it was restored with that in mind. There is an annual Pier Festival.
The railway line's decreasing traffic ended with its closure back at Takura in 1994. The change to motor cars had been noticeable from the early postwar years, and an aircraft landing strip south of Urangan was opened in 1961. It was upgraded to the Hervey Bay Airport (1979), and a new terminal was built in 1996. Tourism became a growing industry, and retirees found the district an attractive residential destination. There are eight caravan/camping parks. The bowling club is a large facility with a licence and gaming machines. There are a golf club (near the airport) and the Hervey Bay Boat Club at the Urangan harbour.
Urangan has both a primary school (1916) and a high school (1992), and increasing pressure on the shopping centre led to its enlargement in 1996. A second State primary was opened next to the high school in 1995 and a community centre was opened in the botanic gardens in 1999. The Peppers Pier resort of 132 apartments (2007) sold well in expectation of a direct air service from Sydney to Hervey Bay airport. The original Urangan primary school building (1916) is listed on the Queensland heritage register. Urangan's census populations have been:
Further demographic data is found under Hervey Bay. The census population in 2006 was 8009.
Frances Chan, Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast, Rockhampton, Central Queensland University Press, 1999