Tinaroo Dam painting in Mareeba, Queensland by Tom Cosic Art, with a Suzie Q aeroplane
Maitland Madge in Mareeba, Queensland, a painting of an Indigenous soldier by Tom Cosic Art
Henry Dalzial. from Mareeba, Queensland, recipient of the Victoria Cross medal, a painting by Tom Cosic Art
Where Tom Cosic Art and AMK Art merge in Mareeba Centre Historical Mural


Painting of Aboriginal rock painting in the Mareeba region, Queensland, by Tom Cosic Art
Painting of a gold miner sifting for gold in a billabong near Mareeba, Queensland, a painting  by Tom Cosic Art
A painting of a fresh water crocodile and turtle in Mareeba, Queensland by Tom Cosic Art
This mural represents parts of the history of Mareeba, Queensland, by Tom Cosic Art




TOURISM     Tourism in the Mareeba Region revolves largely around many existing natural resources such as fresh water swimming holes, ancient lava tubes, and local wild life.  The above painting is an impression of the Mareeba Wetlands located just north of this site.  It is exceptional in that it is not a natural habitat.  It was established by the Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland in 1996 using the overflow water exiting the Mareeba-Dimbulah Area.  Today these waterbodies total approximately 120 hectares and provide a sanctuary for many terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, as well as rich and diverse birdlife.

FARMING & AGRICULTURE     Tablelands agriculture includes a large diversity of plant & animal industries & production of both tropical & subtropical crops.  As depicted above, the largest crop is that of bananas, then mangos.  Sugar cane, coffee, avocado & a variety of fruits are also produced in addition to beef, dairy & poultry.  A typical agricultural soil in the Mareeba area is derived from granite & has inherent low fertility.  Soil profiles for these soils often comprise a sandy loam/sandy clay loam over a red, structured, coarse sandy clay soil with a slightly acid pH.  Nevertheless, agriculture has thrived & is a significant contributor to the local economy.

THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY     Tobacco growing in the Mareeba became fully established in the 1920s driven mainly by immigrants. For the next 75 years or so it remained the most significant economic driver in the region & ruled the lives of most of the community. The Australian Government revoked all licenses & it is now illegal to grown tobacco anywhere in Australia.  In 2003 the last crop of tobacco was grown.  The above painting is a faithful reflection of life on a tobacco farm & is based on photographs provided by the local community.  Generally, women worked in the sheds tying tobacco leaves while the men tended the fields & harvested.

AVIATION & THE MILITARY    Built in 1942 as a US Army Air Force base during WW2, the Mareeba airfield had two runways.  It was the only air base not found by the Japanese.  As a major  base, Mareeba housed both heavy bomber & fighter squadrons of that Service in 1942 & 1943.  The above plane is a Suzi Q, a less common aircraft for the region.  After the war, much of the airfield reverted to agricultural use, while the southern runway remains as an active airfield.  Today, the airfield hosts a museum with several World War II vintage airplanes on display in a flyable condition, and a major maintenance facility for Mission Aviation Fellowship.

TINAROO DAM     Tinaroo Dam came about as the result of instense lobbying by tobacco farmers & the Tobacco Marketing Board.  In 1952, the Queensland Government approved construction of the dam.  It was the first dam built in Queensland solely for irrigation, & to this day it remains one of the region’s biggest infrastructure projects.  It took six years to complete at a price of 12 million dollars.  The Tinaroo Falls Dam supplied much needed water to the region’s tobacco farmers.  Irrigation channels were built to carry water from the dam to what became known as the Mareeba-Dimbulah irrigation area.

MAITLAND MADGE      was the first Indigenous soldier to be awarded the Military Medal in World War 1, and he also fought in World War 2.  He was born in Cooktown in 1894 to English and Aboriginal parents and registered for both wars in Mareeba.  In WW2 he was captured and died a prisoner of war in 1944.

MT MULLIGAN MINING DISASTER      West of Mareeba, the Mount Mulligan Mining Disaster is the biggest disaster in Queensland history.  On 19 September, 1921, there were explosions & all 75 underground workers were killed.  The explosions could be heard 30km away.  Because of the disaster legislation was introduced mandating the appointment of inspectors, the use of safety lamps, & banning the use of naked lights underground.  The mine was reopened 4 months after & eventually closed in 1957 when the Tully Falls Hydro Electricity Scheme was completed.  Locals claim the moss grew in the shape of “1921” on the escarpment above the town for years after.

Painting of young Italian girl holding a pineapple in Mareeba, Queensland, by Tom Cosic Art
Painting of banana picker in Mareeba, Queensland by Tom Cosic Art
Painting of banana pick and black cockatoo in Mareeba, Queensland by Tom Cosic Art
Painting of watermelon farming in Mareeba
Black cockatoo painting by Tom Cosic Art
La Spena famiy picking tobacco in Mareeba, Queensland, painted by Tom Cosic Art
Three children in rural lifestyle setting in Mareeba

HENRY DALZIEL     (1893 – 1965) was the only local recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest accolade available for gallantry in the face of the enemy.  Born in Irvinbank and serving in World War One, he returned to the Tablelands and made a living from farming, gold prospecting, factory work and the like.

WHEELBARROW WAY    is the route linking Mareeba and Chillago.  It honours the many pioneers that used wheelbarrows to carry their tools & possessions as they moved between prospecting sites .  While mainly men, families were also present with mothers & children walking behind, all living from what was carried in the wheelbarrow.  Today the Great Wheelbarrow Race is a community event that follows the same route.  The race is a fundraiser for local charities and is embedded in the social fabric of modern Mareeba.   Leading up to the race locals can be seen training as they run, wheelbarrows in hand, through the neighborhood.

ESTABLISHMENT OF MAREEBA     The Mareeba township is situated on the junction of the Barron River and Granite Creek.  The name originates from the Koko-Muluridji language; however, it was initially called “Granite Creek” by the settlers.  Mareeba was surveyed and renamed in the late 1800s and enjoyed a brief period as a gold rush town.  It also became an important railhead that linked Cairns to a number of mining communities on the Atherton Tablelands.  Above is an artist impression of gold prospecting as it would have happened at Davies Creek.

KOKO-MULURIDJI DREAMING     The Dreaming component of this mural fuses contemporary & traditional painting styles.  Each animal holds strong, culturally symbolic meaning for the local Aboriginal community.  For instance, the carpet snake is one of the Creation Spirits that is reflected by the use of children’s handprints within the snake.  The handprints are also a special acknowledgement of the generations of Indigenous people that are still to come.  While many of these symbols are shared with the non-Indigenous community, some of it remains exclusive knowledge for cultural reasons.

LIFE CYCLE OF MAREEBA    The above landscape represents the perpetual life cycle of Mareeba as it moves through the wet & dry seasons.  In the dry season many of the animals limit their movements.  Turtles hibernate and crocodiles cover themselves with mud as they wait for the rain.  When it finally comes it travels from the Cape (north of Mareeba) flushing out and cleaning up the interconnected river systems as it brings life back to the land.  Fruit and flowers provide a source of food for possums and bats, and the sacred Cadagi trees flourish again.





JUNE 2016


135 Byrnes Street, Mareeba, Queensland, 4890


Develop and complete a 70 square metre mural based on the local region’s history.  Include culturally relevant reference for the local Indigenous population and highlight important landmarks, and industry.   Use real-life people and events to inform the composition.





Tom Cosic Art

Warril Creative Pty Ltd

Murals, painting, & fine art

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