Giru is a rural town of about 370 people in the Burdekin Shire, midway between Townsville and Ayr. It is in a sugar growing area, and the town was likely named after the Goru sugar cane variety, although some authorities state that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word describing a place covered with watercourses or lagoons.
Giru is in the Haughton River Valley, where cane was first harvested in 1906. In 1920 the Haughton River Farmers Association (1914) purchased an under-used Bunderberg mill, 'Invicta', and had it re-erected at Giru, originally a siding on the Townsville-Ayr sugar line. Sugar production was patchy with occasional drought limiting the supply of cane, and the cane trams were horse-drawn for many years. Nevertheless, a town formed, with a primary school opened in 1924 and a school of arts two years later. The post office directory (1929) also recorded a general store, butcher, baker and the Giru and Invicta hotels.
During World War II there was an airfield at Giru and the Giru picture theatre provided entertainment. The population climbed towards the 600s in the 1950s. St Joseph's Catholic Church had a primary school (1945-98), and the first annual show started in the early 1950s. A progress association was started and continues to the present day.
The Burdekin Dam provided extra water for irrigation in the mid-1980s, supplementing supplies from a large lagoon and underground aquifers. Irrigation guaranteed a reliable supply of additional cane, and CSR expanded the Invicta mill during this period, making it the largest in the region.
A downturn in the sugar marked led to diversification into small crops, mangos and beef. The town showed a strong determination to survive, taking pride in winning a tidy towns Bush Spirit award in 2004. It also has an annual folk festival.
Giru's census populations have been:
John Kerr, Black snow and liquid gold, Ayr, Council of the Shire of Burdekin, 1994