Stanthorpe Shire, an area of about 2700 sq km, south-west of Brisbane, adjoined the New South Wales border. Its administrative centre, Stanthorpe, is in the north-east of the Shire, 170 km from central Brisbane. In 2008 Stanthorpe Shire was amalgamated with Warwick Shire to form Southern Downs Regional Council.
Stanthorpe was a rich tin-mining area named Stannum, and in 1872 the name was changed by blending it with the Middle English 'thorp', meaning village.
The Stanthorpe local-government division was proclaimed in 1879 at a time when tin prices were fluctuating but deciduous fruit growing was found to be profitable. The opening of the railway line to Brisbane in 1881 was a stimulus to both mining and fruit growing.
During 1911-21 the shire's population more than doubled to over 6800. Much of the growth came from soldier settlement, orcharding and the creation of local fruit-processing industries. The solder settlement areas are identifiable by their World War I names west of Stanthorpe: Fleurbaix, Pozieres, Passchendale, Bapaume and Amiens, all served by a branch railway line (1920-74). There is also orcharding along the New England Highway at Thulimbah, Applethorpe (formerly Roessler, but changed in name in 1915 because of anti-German feeling), Glen Aplin and Ballandean. By the 1990s all these places also had vineyards. In 1949, when the shire was described in the Australian Blue Book, there was no hint of wine or gourmet tourism:
In 2002 the shire was identified with 'Granite Belt' tourism (a registered protected name), with 40 wineries and a well defined heritage trail from Cottonvale to Wallangarra on the state border. The Girraween and Sundown National Parks also adjoin the border. The Shire's census populations have been:
Jean Harslett and Mervyn Royle, They came to a plateau: the Stanthorpe saga, Stanthorpe, International Colour Productions, 1980
Stanthorpe and Wallangarra entries