Beerwah is a thriving a rural town on the North Coast railway line, approximately 70 km north of Brisbane.
It is named after Mount Beerwah, the tallest of several volcanic plugs comprising the Glass House Mountains. The mountain is located in a national park of 245 hectares, 8 km south-west of the town. The name is believed to be that of the Aboriginal mother in a legend told of the peaks comprising the Glass House Mountains. Mount Tibrogargan signifies the legendary father.
The name Beerwah comes from the Kabi language (Turrbal dialect) word birrawaman, with birra meaning sky and wandum meaning climbing up.
Beerwah is situated on Coochin Creek, one of several streams that flow from the Glass House Mountains into the Pumicestone Channel. European settlement began around where Peachester Road crosses the creek. The Coochin Creek Provisional School (1888), the nearby church (1916-57) and the Coochin Creek Hotel, on Old Gympie Road, in the direction of Mt Coochin, were the main features. The North Coast railway (1890) shifted the focus of settlement eastwards where there were a sawmill (1901) and a hotel (1914, replaced by a super market). Motoring levels along the road known as the Bruce Highway, which later became the Glass House Mountains Tourist Road, confirmed the change. Soldier settlement farms were established after World War I. The Coochin Creek Provisional School became Coochin Creek State School in 1909, and then in 1928, it was renamed Beerwah State School.
The post office directory of 1924 recorded 25 farmers and selectors, seven fruit-growers and two poultry farmers. Timber production was important, employing four teamsters to bring logs to the sawmill. There were also two storekeepers, two butchers, a newsagent and a blacksmith and the Coochin Creek Fruit Growers’ Cooperative had the local cool store. Beerwah was a farming and timber community until the 1980’s when residential development quickly grew and then the establishment of Beerwah High School (1992) and Glass House Country Christian College (2000) further Beerwah’s role as a significant town in the Caloundra hinterland.
The opening of Australia Zoo raised the public profile of the town, and the attendant publicity of Steve Irwin and his infamous stunts with crocodiles gained international interest. Following the untimely death of Steve Irwin in 2006, the main next to Australia Zoo was renamed the Steve Irwin Way in his honour, and the following year a bronze statue of Irwin was unveiled at the zoo. Beerwah has bustling shopping precinct, community hall and meeting spaces, sports ground, golf course, swimming complex, pub and the Glass House Visitor Information Centre, just off Steve Irwin Way at Glass House Mountains township, opened in 2009.