RDA Darling Downs and South West Region

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Quilpie Shire

About the area

Current area:

Key Statistics


Quilpie Shire is located in south-west Queensland, about 1,000 kilometres west of the Brisbane CBD. Quilpie Shire is bounded by the Longreach Regional Council area and the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council area in the north, Murweh Shire in the east, Paroo Shire and Bulloo Shire in the south, and Barcoo Shire in the west.

Included Areas

Quilpie Shire includes the localities of Adavale, Eromanga (part), Nockatunga (part) and Quilpie.

Land Use

Quilpie Shire is a predominantly rural area, with a small township at Quilpie. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 67,500 square kilometres. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, particularly sheep and cattle grazing, with opal, oil and gas mining also being important industries.

Name Origin

Quilpie Shire is thought to be named from an Aboriginal word meaning “curlew”.

Indigenous Meaning

The original inhabitants of Quilpie Shire were the Bunthamurra and Mardgany Aboriginal people.


European settlement dates from the 1860s, with land used mainly for pastoral purposes. Population was minimal until the late 1800s, with growth mainly in the township of Adavale, spurred by opal mining. The township of Quilpie developed during the early 1900s, then becoming the main service centre of the Shire, aided by the opening of the railway line in 1917. The population of the Shire rose from about 1,400 in 1911 to about 2,000 in 1933. From the 1960s oil and gas exploration and mining took place in Eromanga. The population declined from the 1960s, falling from about 2,400 in 1961 to about 1,700 in 1971, and then to about 1,400 in 1981. The population continued to decline from the 1990s, falling to under 900 in 2016, largely due to a decline in dwelling occupancy rates and the average number of persons living in each dwelling.

Major Features

Major features of Quilpie Shire include Hell Hole Gorge National Park, Idalia National Park, Mariala National Park, Lake Dartmouth, Eromanga Natural History Museum, Bulloo Park, John Waugh Park, Quilpie Visitor Information Centre Museum & Gallery, Baldy Top Lookout, Quilpie Multipurpose Health Service, Quilpie Golf Club and Eromanga Basin (oil and gas field).

RDA Darling Downs and South West Region

economic profile