Location: 94Km South-West of Cairns.
Elevation: It is 753M above sea-level.
Major service centre for the Atherton Tablelands.
- Atherton has a population of approximately seven thousand people and is the bustling centre of a farming district.
- It is home to well known attractions such as Fascinating Facets and the Crystal Caves.
- The town offers good shopping opportunities with 'Woolworth's' Supermarket open seven days a week for all food requirements.
- One may eat at the café's on the main road, at KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) or at the Pagoda Chinese Restaurant found upon entrance to the town coming from Yungaburra.
- Various activities are offered for many interests.
- There is a Golf Club for golfing, also, bowls, indoor cricket and ten pin bowling is available.
- Steam Train Rides are offered by the restored 1920's D17 steam loco which takes visitors on a run from Atherton to Herberton.
The town was named after John Atherton.
Atherton was first settled by Europeans in the early 1880's as a camp for cedar-cutters.
It was originally named 'Prior's Pocket' after a family of timber getters.
In 1885 it was surveyed and renamed Atherton.
Atherton was established as a stopover point on the roads from the coast to the Herberton tin fields.
At it's peak, a population of around 1100 Chinese people lived in Atherton.
They worked for the timber-cutters and farmers producing vegetables for the miners.
Many of the Chinese people left Atherton after 1907.
Much of the land was taken over by soldier settlers after World War 1.
Due to the rich, red volcanic soils of the area (approximately 30M deep) the land is very useful.
It produces maize, potatoes, peanuts, macadamia nuts and avocados.
It is also a well established dairy area with its own butter factory, which was opened in 1909 and a dairy co-operative, which was established in 1914.