The first European 'holiday maker' to arrive in the Maroochydore area was the Irishman John Graham who was taking a break from his convict duties at Moreton Bay. Graham was sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing six pounds and a quarter of hemp. He arrived in Sydney in April 1825. In October 1826 he was sentenced to another seven years for petty theft and the following January he was shipped to Moreton Bay. In July, labouring under the delusion that he could row to China, Graham escaped from Moreton Bay. He tried to avoid the Aborigines on the coast who had a fierce reputation. However, he eventually walked into a camp near the present site of Maroochydore and was immediately accepted as the ghost of one woman's dead husband. She herself died within a year but Graham continued to live with the Aborigines for another six years. In 1833 he returned to Moreton Bay and gave himself up. Three years later he featured prominently in the rescue of Eliza Fraser from Fraser Island. He was given his ticket of leave the following year and nothing is known of his later life.
Timber-getters were in the area by the early 1850s and a depot handling timber had been established on the river by 1856. The explorer Andrew Petrie passed through in 1862 and named the Maroochy River. Maroochydore was probably named after the local Aboriginal word 'marutchi' meaning 'black swan' or 'marutchi dora' meaning 'water where the black swan lives'.
The township of Maroochydore came into existence in 1900 but it wasn't until the 1960s that the area really developed as a major tourist destination.
Today there is little of historical interest in the area unless you want to experience the incongruity of passing from a lazy Australian beach culture to a medieval castle with dungeons and armour (look under 'Things to See').
Maroochydore has two markets each Sunday morning: one at the corner of Fishermans Rd and David Low Way from 6.30 a.m. to midday, and an art and craft market is being trialled from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. in Ocean St. An arts and crafts market is held every Friday and Saturday at Nostalgia Town, in Pacific Paradise, offering everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to childrens' clothing and arts and crafts. The Cotton Tree Markets are held on Cotton Tree Parade every Sunday from 7.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m.
The Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival is held at Mooloolaba Beach every year in April.