The Village of Montville is the “jewel in the crown” of the iconic Sunshine Coast Hinterland. It is ideally located 430m above sea level with stunning views east to the Sunshine Coast.
Living in Montville is by no means some form of country isolation. Located just 35 minutes by car to the beaches, 45 minutes to Noosa, 40 minutes to the Sunshine Coast airport and one and a half hours to the Brisbane CBD it is a great location. To drop down to the coast, up to Noosa or a day in Brisbane is all within easy reach. The real secret of the Montville is its proximity to all the fun, excitement, events, markets, shopping and pleasures of an urban life yet it delivers the tranquillity of the ultimate escape to come home to.
The famous early 20th century author Axel Munthe could almost have been talking about Montville when describing the purchase of his home, “I bought a house in this little village, in reach of friends but not in the path of time wasters”.
The population of the village of Montville is about 430. If you include the neighbouring areas it increases to approximately 750. However Montville punches significantly above its weight. It has a long and interesting history of being a wonderful getaway location for those in the know from Brisbane, the Coast and South East Queensland.
For over one hundred years the sheer beauty of the area with its views, walks, parks and waterfalls has provided a cherished escape for those seeking something truly unique.
You can blame its popularity on the farming community back in the early 1900’s. They were unhappy that when it rained it was virtually impossible to get their produce to market. Rich red volcanic soil is brilliant for growing fruit, flowers and vegetables (gardeners take note!) but a disaster to plosh thru with a cases of avocados! Thus they persuaded the local Council to extend the cane train line from Nambour up to Mapleton. So in 1915 you could wheeze your way, by a tough little steam train, up into the hinterland.
Almost by accident the good folks of Brisbane realised they could now travel to the hinterland by train. This made villages like Montville easily accessible to the weary city dweller. Extraordinary guest houses sprang up. They would collect you from the station and offered tennis, croquet, bowls, swimming, fine food and (one suspects) some riotous nights around the piano! Possibly even a gramophone with the latest ‘His Masters Voice’ 78’s! (Younger readers may need some help with this!) The legend of Montville’s style, relaxation, fine food and great places to stay was born and remains to this day.
The weather is a significant bonus. In summer the average temperature ranges from 21c to 28c. You won’t perish in winter as the temperature range is on average 10c at night time and 24c through the day. It tends to rain in short sharp bursts through January, February and March with an average annual rainfall of 1700mm. The winters are dry and sunny.
Montville is 3 to 4 degrees cooler than Brisbane and the Coast through summer. Yet Montville enjoys a warmer winter night and is essentially frost free. A log fire is however a cosy winter benefit of many who enjoy the peace and tranquillity the area has to offer.
Before white settlement the original Australians would pass through what is now Montville on their way to the Bunya Nut Festival at Baroon Pocket. This was a significant Aboriginal gathering and event. They would climb up from the coast on a track that is essentially the Razorback road today. The lagoons in what is now called the Russell Family Park at the back of the Montville village provided a resting place. Refreshed they then made their way along the Western Avenue ridge and on down to Baroon Pocket.
In the earliest days of white settlement the area was opened up by timber-getters. The hinterland offered rich timber resources. To this day you can find the remains of massive ancient trees that were harvested yet still bear the marks of the axeman’s cuts for his perilous plank stand high off the ground. The timber-getters built “shutes” to get their lumber down the mountain to bullock teams waiting below. The Montville area still carry’s the names of some of these “shutes” that were in use in the very early days.
As the timber harvesters departed so came the farmers. Early crops included bananas, citrus, pineapples macadamias and avocados. Though most are no longer commercially grown in the area the climate and soil combine to provide the local people, so inclined, with abundant fruit and vegetables. Roadside citrus and pineapple stalls still delight the visitor to this day.
Montville boasts an excellent Primary School which was established in 1896. The High School is in Maleny just 15 minutes away. The original school building can still be seen. There is a wonderful Village Green with its majestic trees planted to remember the fallen of the First World War. Neighbouring the Village Green you will find the Montville Village Hall. This was built in 1903 and in its earlier years was the Montville School of Arts. The Memorial Gates are unique in Australia as they recall those who served, those who fell and quite surprisingly those who were rejected. We believe that those who were rejected wanted the world to know that they had tried to do their bit.
There is a wonderful Heritage Walking Trail through Montville and details are available at the comprehensive Information Centre in the main street. Amongst some of the earliest buildings is “Wild Rocket @ Mistys” an excellent restaurant. This was originally the village store and had a cattle dip outside. In later years a Dutch Sea Captain built a viewing deck on the top and installed a telescope. The story goes he charged six pence to use the telescope on a clear day and a penny on a “Cloudy Day”. One can’t help thinking that the “Cloudy Day” rate was somewhat questionable!
Alfred Smith was one of the earliest settlers and came to the area in 1893. He chose the name “Montville” after an area in Connecticut USA where he had lived with his parents who had emigrated from the UK. The village today is a riot of small shops, chic cafes, restaurants and galleries. There are no national retailers or chain eateries. It is a refreshing change from the sameness of the major shopping centres and is a very popular ladies day out destination.
There is a medical practice, small supermarket, post office, newsagent and literally dozens of other stores from chocolate shops to clock shops, from fine food to formal wear. The banks, hardware and professional services are only fifteen minutes away in the township of Maleny. Architecturally Montville is a delight. It is famous for its walks, parks and stunning views, its fine food, exciting shopping, creative talent and wonderful places to stay. The only downside is that once you experience the magic of Montville….. you won’t want to leave!