Kia Ora – What’s in a name?

How did the district of Kia Ora get it’s name?

Kia Ora area was still under the name Goomboorian (north Goomboorian) until around 1921 when the Kia Ora school was developed. The school and the northern area of Goomboorian was then named and officially known as Kia Ora, after the property name of two young farmers, brothers named George and James Elliott (who also donated 5 acres of land for the school site).

George and James Elliott came from the Hunter River district of New South Wales and became early residents on the eastern side of north Goomboorian. The brothers selected adjoining blocks on the boundary of Goomboorian and Neerdie parishes.

They were not the first to select the land. George Elliott’s portion 89V was first selected by Benjamin Shepherd 1902 and in 1908, there was a house and shed on the property (possibly a rough slab timber and iron roof house). James Elliott selected Portion 24, which was 74 acres and they arrived in 1910.

Early settlers were timber getters – cutting and selling the native hoop pine from their properties. The Elliott Brothers bought their properties, clearing and preparing the land for dairy farming. In 1911 and 1912, the brothers felled pine timber off their land and made income from sale to the sawmillers.

It was their sister, Agnes, who upon visiting and keeping house for some time for the brothers, insisted that their property have a name.

|  Agnes knew of a property name “Kia Ora”, which is the Maori language of New Zealand meaning “Good luck”. She thought the farming venture of her brothers would only succeed with good luck. Her brothers agreed to call their property “Kia Ora”   |

(Kia Ora State School 75th Jubilee)

The brothers introduced dairy cattle (Australian Illawarra Shorthorns) and their business name became “Kia Ora AIS Cattle Stud”.

Kia Ora AIS Heifers, Elliott Brothers
Queensland Country Life, Thursday 27 February 1941, page 15

The brothers married back in New South Wales around 1914 and their wives came to “Kia Ora”.

George and Daisy Elliott Wedding, c 1914
George and Daisy Elliott Wedding, c 1914

Meetings commenced on the need for a school in the area of “North Goomboorian”. The Goomboorian School near the hall had been in operation for the past 19 years. The brothers donated 5 acres of land for the school and the district’s parents bought an old cottage from Gympie which was dismantled and transported by bullock wagon to the site. The school was named “Kia Ora School” in reciprocation of the brothers land donation and thus gradually, north Goomboorian became known as Kia Ora.

Kia Ora State School 75th Jubilee “The District and its Pioneers”, Kia Ora State School Jubilee Committee, 1996.