South of Gladstone's built-up and rural/residential areas there are four localities distributed around the intersection of the Bruce and Dawson Highways. Beginning north-west of the intersection they are Beecher, Burua (north-east), Benaraby (south-east) and River Ranch (south-west). River Ranch and Benaraby touch Calliope, the administrative centre of the former Calliope Shire. Many access roads to these towns were damaged in the 2011 floods.
Beecher is named after Mount Beecher, apparently inspired by the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Surveyor Francis McCabe also named Mounts Tom and Stowe (1853). Beecher had a primary school (1874-1943), originally named Calliope River until named Beecher in 1919. It also had a railway station on the line to Many Peaks (1910).
Beecher's census population has been:
Burua is on the Dawson Highway and the railway line (1910) from Gladstone to Many Peaks. Its first school was known as Clyde Creek from 1882 to 1911. Later schools were Burua West (c1925-1940) and Theresa (1927). Burua's census populations have been:
Benaraby is perhaps named after an Aboriginal expression for the Boyne River, but that is doubtful. The Boyne River is east of the Benaraby village on the Bruce Highway, and the Boyne River school opened in 1886. The area was also known as Annandale, the name of the local railway station on the North Coast line until 1908. The Benaraby school, named thus in 1909, had about 110 pupils in 2015. Benaraby has a general store, a hall, a caravan park and motel, a sawmill and the Benaraby motor raceway. Lake Awoonga (regional storage for domestic and industrial water) is south of Benaraby. It has fishing facilities and a caravan park. In 2011 council approved a 256 unit workers camp at Benaraby to cater for workers on the gas pipeline. Low on a priority list, some roads around Benaraby, damaged by flooding in 2011, were repaired in 2013. Benaraby's census populations have been:
River Ranch, west of Calliope, was formally named in 1999, and appears to be the most recent locality around Calliope. It extends west to the Calliope River, and across the river there is the Calliope Historical Village. River Ranch's census populations have been:
South of Benaraby and River Ranch there is the much larger area of Boyne Valley, with the Boyne River and several tributaries meeting at Lake Awoonga. A quarter of its employment is in grazing and cereal growing. Dairy farms in the district have contracted from 80 in the 1970s to one in 2015 following the supermarket chain milk discounting wars. Its census populations have been:
Gladstone Suburbs entry