The Southern Downs Regional Council area is located in south-east Queensland, about 160 kilometres south-west of the Brisbane CBD. The Southern Downs Regional Council area is bounded by the Toowoomba Regional Council area and the Lockyer Valley Regional Council area in the north, the Scenic Rim Regional Council in the north-east, the New South Wales border in the south-east and south, and the Goondiwindi Regional Council area in the west.
The Southern Downs Regional Council area includes the localities of Allan, Allora, Amiens, Applethorpe, Ballandean, Bapaume, Berat, Bony Mountain, Broadwater, Canningvale, Cannon Creek, Cherry Gully, Clintonvale, Cottonvale (part), Cunningham, Dalcouth, Dalveen, Danderoo, Deuchar, Diamondvale, Elbow Valley, Ellinthorp, Emu Vale, Eukey, Fletcher, Fleurbaix, Forest Springs, Freestone, Girraween, Gladfield, Glen Aplin, Glen Niven, Glengallan, Glenlyon, Goldfields, Goomburra, Greenlands, Greymare, Hendon, Junabee, Karara, Killarney, Kyoomba, Leslie, Leslie Dam, Leyburn (part), Loch Lomond, Lyra, Maryvale, Massie, Mingoola, Montrose, Morgan Park, Mount Colliery, Mount Marshall, Mount Sturt, Mount Tabor, Mount Tully, Murrays Bridge, North Branch, Nundubbermere, Old Talgai, Palgrave, Passchendale, Pikes Creek, Pikedale, Pozieres, Pratten, Rodgers Creek, Rosehill, Rosenthal Heights, Severnlea, Silverwood, Sladevale, Somme, Spring Creek (part), Springdale, Stanthorpe, Storm King, Sugarloaf, Sundown, Swan Creek, Swanfels, Talgai, Tannymorel, Thane, Thanes Creek, The Falls, The Glen, The Head, The Hermitage, The Summit, Thorndale, Thulimbah, Toolburrra, Tregony, Upper Freestone, Upper Pilton (part), Upper Wheatvale, Victoria Hill (part), Wallangarra, Warwick, Wheatvale, Wildash, Willowvale, Womina, Wyarra, Wyberba and Yangan.
The Southern Downs Regional Council area is predominantly rural, with numerous small townships. The largest townships are Warwick and Stanthorpe, with smaller townships at Allora, Killarney, Wallangarra and Yangan. The Council area encompasses a total land area of about 7,100 square kilometres. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, particularly sheep and cattle grazing, orcharding, and vegetable and grain growing. Forestry and viticulture are also important industries.
The Southern Downs Regional Council is named for its location; the southern part of the Darling Downs.
The original inhabitants of the Southern Downs area were the Githabul Aboriginal people.
European settlement dates from the 1840s, with land used mainly for sheep and cattle grazing and timber-getting. Numerous small townships were established from the late 1850s. Growth took place during the late 1800s and early 1900s, spurred by mining from the 1850s, the opening of railway lines from the 1870s, and the establishment of many orchards. Expansion resumed in the immediate post-war period, particularly in the main townships of Stanthorpe and Warwick. The population declined during the 1970s and early 1980s, largely due to changes in agricultural practices. The population of the Council area gradually increased from the early 1990s, rising from about 28,300 in 1991 to about 33,400 in 2011.
Major features of the Council area include Girraween National Park, Main Range National Park, Sundown National Park, Mount Dumaresq Conservation Park, Morgan Park Regional Park, Warwick Saleyards, the Warwick CBD (including Rose City Shoppingworld), TAFE Queensland South West (Warwick Campus), University of Southern Queensland (Queensland College of Wine Tourism and USQHub@Stanthorpe), numerous wineries, Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre, Glengallen Homestead & Heritage Centre, Southern Downs Steam Railway, Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, Warwick Art Gallery, Pringle Cottage, Connolly Dam, Glenlyon Dam, Leslie Dam, Storm King Dam, Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre, Queens Park, Carnell Raceway, Morgan Park Raceway, Sandy Creek Raceway, Stanthorpe Golf Club, Warwick Golf Club, Strawberry Fields Stanthorpe, Stanthorpe Hospital, Warwick Hospital and various state forests.
The Southern Downs Regional Council area is served by the Cunningham Highway and the New England Highway.
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