Gowrie Shire (1879-1913) was immediately north-west of Toowoomba. It was named after the Gowrie pastoral station (1847). The name is thought to have derived from an Aboriginal expression referring to Gowrie Creek or indicating freshwater mussels. The creek's headwaters are in Toowoomba's northern suburbs and it flows westwards through Gowrie Junction to the Oakey Creek.

When the Gowrie local government division was formed in 1879 it had an area of 67 sq miles. The 1881 census recorded 2038 residents. Although reduced to 24 sq miles in 1887, the division's population surpassed its original figure by 1901 as Toowoomba expanded beyond its borough-size 6 sq miles. The Gowrie Council's offices were in Toowoomba. Gowrie Junction was in the division's rural part, and was the intersection of the Western and Wallangarra railway lines until 1915 when the more direct Drayton deviation line was opened.

In 1913 Gowrie Shire (it had been a shire since 1902) was abolished. Its rural part was added to Jondaryan Shire and the urban part placed in the newly created Town of Newtown (1913-17). Newtown is now an older suburb of Toowoomba.

Gowrie division/shire's census populations were:

Census Date Population
1881 2038
1891 1665
1901 2697
1911 4064