Mareeba is a town on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia. The town is above sea level on the confluence of the Barron River, Granite Creek and Emerald Creek. It is within the local government area of Shire of Mareeba (between 2008 and 2013, it was within the Tablelands Region). The town's name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning meeting of the waters. At the 2006 census, Mareeba had a population of 6,806.
Prior to European settlement, the area around Mareeba was inhabited by the Muluridji people. They maintained a hunter/gatherer existence in the area between Mount Carbine, Mareeba, Rumula and Woodville, mainly concentrated between Bibhoora and Mount Molloy. In the local Aboriginal language, Mareeba means meeting of the waters - referring to the point at which the Barron River is joined by Granite Creek.
On 26 May 1875 James Venture Mulligan became the first European officially to see the future site of Mareeba when he rode up the eastern bank of the Barron River, and passed the junctions of Emerald Creek and Granite Creek.
The Mareeba area was first settled by Europeans in 1877 by John Atherton, who arrived with cattle at Emerald End, which is just north of the town today. Mareeba quickly became a busy coach stop for Cobb & Co on the road from Port Douglas to Herberton. When the railway arrived in 1893, Mareeba grew into a busy town.
Mareeba Post Office opened on 25 August 1893 (a receiving office named Granite Creek had been open from 1891). A Mareeba Diggings Post Office opened by 1893 and closed in 1905.
From 1942 to 1945, up to 10,000 Australian and US service personnel used Mareeba Airfield as a staging post for battles in New Guinea and the Pacific. The Americans referred to it as Hoevet Field in honour of Major Dean Carol "Pinky" Hoevet who was killed on 16 August 1942. Units that were based at Mareeba during World War II included No. 5 Squadron RAAF, No. 100 Squadron RAAF, the Australian 33rd Light A-A Battery, 19th Bomb Group USAAC, 43rd Bomb Group USAAC and 8th Fighter Group USAAC.