Burrum Heads, a coastal town, is at the southern entrance of the mouth of the Burrum River, 50 km north of Maryborough.

The town was named after the Burrum River where, about 30 km upstream, coal was found and mined in the 1860s. Known as the Burrum and Howard coal fields, they continued to be mined until the 1990s. The origin of the name of the river possibly signified the river's rocky bed in a local Aboriginal language.

European settlement at the river mouth began with Robert Travis, a selector of a homestead allotment in 1871. In 1888 a township was marked out and named Traveston (subsequently adjusted to Traviston). By the end of the nineteenth century residents of Howard and other inland areas visited Traviston for holidays, leading to a few beach cottages. Pugh's Almanac (1924) recorded Traviston as a grazing settlement.

In 1920 a swimming enclosure was built and the Torbanlea hall was transported to Traviston. Yet another hall, a dismantled packing shed, was constructed in 1935. Renamed Burrum Heads in 1950, the holiday spot reflected a preference for an out-of-the-way, ramshackle lifestyle, and its Anti-Progress Association (1966) achieved the exact opposite of its aim: Burrum Heads became a national news story. A short distance south-west of Burrum Heads a mature stand of cypress pine was identified in 1936 and placed in a reserve. It was the forerunner of the Burrum Heads national park (1620 ha), which is complemented by the Woodgate national park on the north side of the Burrum inlet.

Burrum Heads has a community hall (1977), a bowling club, a hotel-motel, a non-denominational church, two camping grounds and a general store. Its census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

Frances Chan, Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast, Rockhampton, Central Queensland University Press, 1999

China Johnson, Memories: Burrum Heads, Hervey Bay, Burrum Heads Bicentennial Publications Committee, 1988


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