There’s a compact but impressive heritage museum behind the visitor information centre at Mareeba and we spent a couple of hours looking around (and having lunch) as the reality was that we weren’t going to to get to the historic village at Herberton, further down the road.
The museum offers an informative and interesting coverage of the area’s history, yet is free (although donations welcome). In particular, there’s a comprehensive display about tobacco growing in the area, which started in the 1920s. Growing tobacco isn’t easy, it seems, starting with very small seeds, susceptibility to disease, careful picking of the leaves at just the right time and curing and grading. Tobacco was also grown in other parts of Australia, including at Myrtleford in Vitoria, but ended in the early 2000s when political correctness caught up with it.