Millmerran, a rural town of 1200 people, is 75 km south-west of Toowoomba. Millmerran was the administrative centre of the Millmerran Shire (1913-2008).
The area was first occupied by the Yandilla pastoral run (1841) which was watered by Back Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River. Yandilla became the district's first village settlement with an Anglican chapel and a primary school (1874). It was the resumption of part of the Yandilla estate, however, which brought Edward Walpole to a farm selection on Back Creek in 1881, leading to the establishment of the Millmerran township.
Walpole almost immediately set about opening a store, and in 1882 a school was opened nearby, the place then being known as Back Creek. Also known as Domville, it was named Millmerran in the belief that the name was an Aboriginal expression for a lookout. By 1891 Millmerran had a store, a school, an Anglican church and the Domville Hotel, but significant growth came from a closer-settlement scheme in 1908, and the extension of the railway from Pittsworth in 1911.
In Darling Downs, the garden of Australia (1908) Yandilla was described as excellent wool and cattle country, but with soil depths of 40 to 100 feet it was thought to be eminently adaptable for dairying and mixed farming. The prospect of irrigation from extensive aquifers was mentioned. By the mid-1920s Millmerran had a population of about 100 people, and Pugh's Queensland Directory (1924) recorded two cheese / butter factories, a hotel, several stores, a sawmill and a bank. In 1932 scrub country on the western downs at Bringabilly and Millwood was cleared for more dairy farms. Two years later the Millmerran co-operative dairy factory was opened, and continued until 1978 when operations were transferred to Toowoomba.
The postwar years saw a surge in the town's population, with a 50% increase by 1961. Electricity supplied from Toowoomba was connected in 1946, and education expanded with a Catholic primary school (1959) and the addition of a secondary department to the State primary school the following year. Both the town and the shire experienced population increases between 1947 and 2001. In 2002 the Millmerran coal-fired power station began operation.
Millmerran has a hospital, a good range of sporting facilities including golf and swimming, a showground and an active local shopping centre. In 2003 a new shire civic centre was erected and a historical society maintains a comprehensive museum. The town is dominated by grain silos, and annual shows benefit from the district's breadth of primary production including wool, beef, pork, dairy and poultry.
Millmerran's census populations have been:
Nell Macqueen, Back Creek and beyond: Millmerran's story of change 1881-1981, Toowoomba, Darling Downs Institute Press, 1981