Barolin Shire (1879-1917) was immediately east of Bundaberg. It was named in 1862 after the Barolin Plain, an area between Burnett Heads and Elliott River. It is thought that the name derived from an Aboriginal word denoting kangaroo. The Barolin sugar estate was about 12 km east of Bundaberg.
When established as a local government division, Barolin had an area of 251 sq miles. Bundaberg borough was just 1.5 sq miles. In 1885 the area of densely populated cane lands on the former Woongarra scrub was excised from Barolin to form the Woongarra division. Although its area was only 35 sq miles, its population was over 2000. Barolin division (226 sq miles) was left with about 1000 people, possibly fewer, because published census figures suggest that Barolin was in denial about its loss of importance.
The Barolin estate was acquired by a land syndicate in the early 1880s with ambitions for a Barolin Marine township with seaside allotments. The venture failed, but in the 1950s the new Bundaberg port was established at the site of the proposed township.
By the 1910s Bundaberg had expanded beyond its borough-size 1.5 sq miles. In 1917 the urban spill-over into Barolin was absorbed by Bundaberg and the rural balance of about 220 sq miles was added to the smaller Woongarra Shire. The minor name survived, and Barolin ceased to be a local government name.
Barolin division/shire's census populations were: