Paroo Shire is located in south-west Queensland, between 600 and 800 kilometres west of the Brisbane CBD. Paroo Shire is bounded by Quilpie Shire and Murweh Shire in the north, the Maranoa Regional Council area and Balonne Shire in the east, the New South Wales border in the south, and Bulloo Shire in the west.
Paroo Shire includes the localities of Barringun, Coongoola, Cunnamulla, Cuttaburra, Eulo, Homeburn, Hungerford (part), Jobs Gate, Linden, Nebine, Noorama, Tuen, Widgeegoara, Wyandra and Yowah.
Paroo Shire is a predominantly rural area, with small townships at Cunnamulla, Eulo, Wyandra and Yowah. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 47,700 square kilometres. Rural land is used largely for sheep and cattle grazing, with some cotton growing and honey production. Opal mining is also an important industry.
Paroo Shire is named after the Paroo River, which was thought to be named from an Aboriginal word indicating small flat fish.
The original inhabitants of Paroo Shire were the Baakandji and Budjiti Aboriginal people.
European settlement dates from the 1840s, although population was minimal until the 1860s, with land used mainly for sheep and cattle grazing. Growth took place during the late 1800s and early 1900s as small townships were established and opal mining started, aided by the opening of the railway line. The population reached about 2,400 in 1911. Growth took place during the post-war years, with the population rising from about 3,500 in 1933 to about 4,100 in 1954. The population then declined, falling to about 3,000 in 1976, and then to about 2,800 in 1991. The population continued to generally gradually decline from the 1990s, falling to about 1,900 in 2016.
Major features of Paroo Shire include Currawinya National Park, Culgoa Floodplain National Park, Yowah opal fields, Yowah Artesian Bore Baths, Artesian Mud Baths, Eulo Belle Arts and Opal Centre, PowerHouse Museum Wyandra, Cunnamulla Fella Centre (including Art Gallery, Artesian Time Tunnel and Museum), Cunnamulla Hospital, Cunnamulla Golf Club, Centenary Park, Cunnamulla Racecourse, Cunnamulla Showgrounds, John Kerr Park, Allan Tannock Weir and the Warrego River.
Paroo Shire is served by the Balonne Highway and the Mitchell Highway.
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