Before white settlement Guran was home to the Gubbi Gubbi people. The name means ‘high up or tall” and is their word for Moretan Bay Ash Tree. The Cooran area was first settled in the l860s by timber getters. With the discovery of gold in Gympie, a road was made from Gympie to the port at Tewantin as alternative to shipping to the established settlement at Maryborough. From 1874 Casey’s (later Martin’s) Halfway House & Stables catered to the coach services, with selectors taking up land to farm along the new road. Rail from Maryborough to Gympie in 1881 and subsequent rail construction from Halfway House to Gympie completed in 1889 brought continued expansion and development. The school opened in 1890 and by the 1930s, Cooran was a thriving commercial centre boasting two man police station (& jail), two hotels, large sawmill, joinery, blacksmiths, bakery, butcher, bootmaker, 3 churches , various stores, auctioneers and stock agents. Until 1909 Cooran was part of the Widgee Shire when the move was made to form the new shire of Noosa. The first shire meetings were held in the Cooran Hall. In 1910 as a result of a ratepayers referendum Pomona was chosen as the Administrative centre of the Shire ahead of Cooran and Cooroy.
By the 1920’s, Cooran’s hills were covered in banana trees and produced in the vicinity of 130,000 cases of bananas for transportation. Settlers came to the area once the railway was established to take advantage of the timber and fertile soil. Timber, dairy and livestock industries flourished. The depression came and went without much affect to the thriving Saw Mill, Joinery Works, Toy Factory, Blacksmith, and the Dairy and Farm industries. However, this prosperity was not to last. By the 60’s and 70’s timber and dairy were declining and with cutbacks to the railway works and closure of the Sawmill, and many families were forced to leave the area. By the 90’s there was still Nut, Beef, Pineapple and Dairy industries, and the engineering associated with these, but by 2004, even these had ceased to operate.
Today Cooran is an interesting residential village, surrounded by farms and other growing communities.
If you would like to know more about the history of Cooran and its surrounds, visit the Noosa Museum for more information.