Maryvale is a small community nestled on the edge of the scenic rim close to the eastern edge of the Southern Downs and is the first community encountered when travelling west along the Cunningham Hwy from Cunningham’s Gap.
The village of Maryvale gained its name from the original Maryvale Station, originally known as Strathmillar. The land around Maryvale was first occupied by white settlers in the early 1840’s and the land around Maryvale was acquired by Arnold Weinholt in 1849. In 1853 Maryvale is recorded as having an area of 20,000 acres and a carrying capacity of 6000 sheep. Weinholt also acquired the Gladfield run in 1852 and changed the name to Maryvale.
Weinholt set the foundation of the township of Maryvale in 1863 when he wrote to the Colonial Secretary suggesting that the town reserve should be placed in the vicinity of the “log bridge” on the Maryvale creek. The Government took up the idea and in May 1863 gazetted a town reserve of 640 acres at the log bridge.
Weinholt’s cousin, E.O.W Hill arrived in Queensland in late 1866 and came to work at Maryvale Station. Hill took over management of Maryvale and it became part of the assets of a company, Weinholt Bros. The company resisted the intentions of the 1868 Land Act and following Land Acts for 40 years. Hill continued on at Maryvale for 36 years and oversaw many changes in pastoral policies and methods. Maryvale then carried 11,000 sheep, 1,000 cattle and 150 horses. Late in the century, it was determined that Maryvale was unsuited for sheep and the station was converted to beef cattle production.
Surveying work for the proposed railway line, referred to as Via Recta, was carried out during 1885 and 1886 by surveyor C. B. Latham. The railway was to be a direct line from Warwick, through Maryvale, past Spicer’s gap to Mt Edwards, Ipswich and eventually Brisbane.
Maryvale’s Crown hotel commenced construction early 1912, as reported in the Warwick Argus on the 14 May “A start has been made with the township, as Mr Matt Keefe has commenced work on his two-storey hotel. The building is to be of reinforced concrete and the price is a few thousand pounds, so the first business place in the town should be one of note.” The hotel opened its doors to customers early in 1913.
The Maryvale school opened to 21 students on 21 April 1913 after many hiccups and delays to have the school built. The students were 10 girls and 11 boys ranging in age from 6 years 8 months to 13 years 4 months. By the end of 1913, the school had 40 children attending and conditions were crowded.
Source: Maryvale History Book “Narrative… the History of Maryvale District” 1988.