Marian is the gateway to the Pioneer Valley and is situated approximately 30 kilometres west of Mackay. This riverside town is home to the region’s largest sugar mill; all sugar cane grown in the Valley is now crushed at this mill. The crushing season extends from mid June to November each year.
Melba House is the Pioneer Valley’s Visitor Information Centre and also the house in which famous Australian Opera Singer, Dame Nellie Melba, lived during her time in the area. It is an excellent spot to stop off for local & tourist information, learn more about Melba and her time there, check out craft by very talented locals and buy local produce like Langdon Coffee, Honey and Dried Mango. Marian is also serviced by Orange Grove Caravan Park, a hotel, Convenience and Takeaway stores, bowls club and a service station.
Striking west from the sugar capital of Mackay in search of arable land in the 1860s, it was perfectly natural for the first settlers in Pioneer Valley to plant cane. The cane flourished around the village of Marian, and in 1881 a man named David Mitchell built the first crushing mill. The mill might have been a boon to the town and district, but Mitchell made an even greater contribution to Australia and to music through his daughter, Helen. The world came to know and adore Helen Mitchell as Dame Nellie Melba, one of the greatest operatic sopranos of all time. Marian is 38km out of Mackay and is one of a chain of small Mirani Shire towns on the road to Eungella and the Clarke Range which supports the largest rainforest reserve in Queensland. Every year thousands of visitors flock to the 49,000ha Eungella National Park and the Finch Hatton Gorge on the reasonable chance of spotting one of Australia’s most fascinating and elusive animals, the duck-billed platypus, in the wild. Even if the platypus eludes them, they’ll delight in the scenic wonders and wildlife glimpses from the park’s web of walking tracks.