Texas, a rural town of 700 people, is on the north side of the Dumeresq River (the border with New South Wales) 230 km south-west of Brisbane. It was named after the Texas pastoral station.
Several pastoral runs were taken up in the Texas district in 1840, among them Cullybullan by J. McDougall. The landholding came under dispute, in which McDougall was successful, and he renamed it Texas in 1843, apparently a reference to land disputes common in the American range lands. The Texas station ran cattle, but adjoining holdings grazed sheep.
Parts of the large leaseholds were resumed for free selection in 1875, and the Texas township was surveyed. Further selections were made in the late 1880s, and the agricultural economy diversified into maize, dairying and tobacco. The fertile river flats grew good quality pipe tobacco, and a tobacco factory was opened. Later, a State Experimental Tobacco Farm was opened five km from Texas, and the industry continued until the early 1940s. A provisional school was opened in 1891.
Further farm lots were offered and settled in 1910 and again to soldier settlers in the 1920s. Dairying developed to a point where a cheese factory was opened (1909), changing over to butter in 1912. The factory was rebuilt in 1928, continuing in operation until 1955. A town hospital was opened in 1913.
Proximity to river flats proved unfortunate when the river flooded the town in 1921, and rebuilding occurred on higher ground. The change of location did not rectify the problem of transport to a major regional centre. The nearest railway station was Inglewood, and an imported road train carried goods there, but at low speed and with some unreliability. Freight included ore from the Silver Spur mine east of Texas, rabbit meat and skins from the Texas freezing works, dairy produce, livestock, tobacco and wheat. Agitation for a railway from Inglewood (approved 1914) culminated in a line being opened 16 years later.
Closer-settlement after the World War I, dairying, tobacco and rabbit processing resulted in a population of about 700 people. Pugh's Queensland directory (1925) recorded three hotels in Texas, five storekeepers, three blacksmiths and several other shops. Three of the storekeepers were Chinese, as were several market gardeners on the river flats.
Rabbits were a plague in the 1930s, providing a source of labour for trappers and processors, and meat for farm tables. Texas was spared the scourge of prickly pear except for a couple of lightly infested places.
Increased tariff protection led to an expansion of tobacco growing after 1930. By 1953 Queensland produced just over half the total Australian crop, and nearly half of the Queensland crop came from the Texas district. Irrigation shifted production to the Mareeba district, which by 1973 had about 80% of the Queensland crop, and Texas about 5%. By 1993 Texas had under 1%; farming by then was predominantly sheep, lamb and cattle grazing.
Another flood in 1956 saw most of the remaining low-ground habitations abandoned or moved to the present town site on the hill.
Texas has local shops, swimming, bowling and golf facilities, a showground, a racecourse, a hotel-motel, a primary-secondary school, a Catholic primary school, a hospital, a museum and a cultural centre. The rabbit-freezing works have been restored as a heritage place.
In January and February 2011 the Dumaresq River flooded the relatively narrow river flat adjacent to the town. A number of field crops were lost. Downstream, after the Dumaresq joins the McIntyre River, Goondiwindi was at risk of flooding, but it was protected by levee banks.
Texas census populations have been:
Merlene Coates-Freeman et al, Texas on the Dumaresq, c1840-c1940, Texas, Texas Historical Society, 1994
Geoffrey Harding, Across the Dumaresq: a history of the Inglewood Shire, Inglewood, Inglewood Shire Council, 1988