The explorers Charles Throsby and Joseph Wild traveled through the Yass River valley in 1820. The Aborigines called the valley Candariro, meaning "blue crane". This name may have been the origin of Gundaroo, or it may mean "big waterhole". Governor Lachlan Macquarie granted the first white settler, Peter Cooney, 30 acres (12 ha) in 1825. Settlement proceeded fairly quickly and there were about 400 residents in the 1840s. The first non-residential building in Gundaroo was the Harrow Inn, built in 1834. A post office was built in 1848 and an Anglican church, St Luke's in Upper Gundaroo (now part of a pottery business), in 1849. The first school opened in 1850 and a Police Station in 1852. A major impetus for the growth in the middle of the nineteenth century was the discovery of gold in the district in 1852.