Koumala is a town 50 km south of Mackay. It was named after a local property owned by a sugar grower, and the name was derived from a Fijian word meaning yam or sweet potato. The name dates from about 1884, but so too does the name Kelvin Grove (the name of a cattle station). Both were used, 'Koumala' for a provisional school (1889) and 'Kelvin Grove' for the railway station when the line was extended from Sarina in 1915. 'Kelvin Grove', however, was discarded in a few months.

Pugh's Post Office Directory used 'Koumala' from the early 1890s, when the district was mainly pastoral. A few selectors were recorded after the district was cut up for selections in 1896, but the absence of a railway inhibited farming. There was a sawmill by 1912, and farm activity intensified after the railway connection in 1915, enabling sugar cane to be transported to the Plane Creek mill in Sarina.

The railway goods shed and associated huts doubled for school purposes from 1922 to 1923 when a proper school house was built, as well as for social functions until a hall came into being. Population peaked in the 1930s and 1940s, and the hotel dates from the first of those decades.

Koumala's population slipped below 300 in the 1960s, but in the early 2000s it rose to over 700 when it was within comfortable commuting distance of Sarina. Koumala has a general store, a hotel, a motor garage and a community hall. Its census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

Historical review of Koumala and district 1859-1874, Koumala Presbyterian Women's Guild, 1974


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