Toowoomba Regional Council was formed in 2008 by the amalgamation of seven shires with Toowoomba City. Toowoomba Regional Council's area extends west from the Dividing Range to just beyond Cecil Plains. Northwards it reaches beyond Yarraman, and southwards beyond Clifton. Toowoomba City is on the eastern edge of the Toowoomba Regional Council (12,973 sq km). The following table summarises the constituent local government areas of the regional council, beginning with Crows Nest Shire in the north and proceeding clockwise:
|Local Government Area||Area
|Crows Nest Shire1||1631||West of Toowoomba||Crows Nest||12,701|
|Cambooya Shire||638||South of Toowoomba||Greenmount||5885|
|Clifton Shire1||867||South of Cambooya||Clifton||2583|
|Pittsworth Shire||1090||West of Cambooya||Pittsworth||5059|
|Millmerran Shire||4521||West of Pittsworth||Millmerran||3454|
|Jondaryan Shire1||1910||North-west of Toowoomba||Oakey||14,731|
|Rosalie Shire1||2,199||North-west of Toowoomba||Goombungee||9339|
1 Original local government areas, formed 1879-80. Crows Nest was known as Highfields.
2 Toowoomba municipality formed 1860.
(A fuller history of local government is in the Darling Downs entry.)
Toowoomba Regional Council's area is about 17% of the area of the Darling Downs. The other Downs regional councils are Dalby (38,039 sq km), Southern Downs (7120 sq km) and Goondiwindi (19,294 sq km).
The shires adjacent to Toowoomba had relatively high population densities: Cambooya, 9.2 persons/sq km; Crows Nest, 7.8 persons/sq km; and Jondaryan, 7.7 persons/sq km. The higher population densities were mostly the result of urban overspill from Toowoomba.
Downs soils of high fertility encouraged closer-settlement in the nineteenth century and many towns had dairy factories. The intensity of agriculture provoked numerous branch railway lines from the main Western Line (1868) from Toowoomba. Northern branches comprised Toowoomba to Crows Nest (1886); Kingsthorpe to Haden (1910); and Oakey to Cooyar (1913). These three short lines have all closed. Southern branches comprised Gowrie Junction to Warwick (1871); a branch from the foregoing branch, Wyreema to Pittsworth (1887) and Millmerran (1911); and Oakey to Cecil Plains (1919). All these lines survive, as grain growing and grazing have outlived dairying, and the Warwick line serves a large hinterland.
Although Toowoomba is on the eastern side it exercises a strong influence in the services sector. Greater Toowoomba (ie Toowoomba plus the urban parts of the former adjoining Cambooya, Crows Nest, Jondaryan and Rosalie Shires) had the following proportions of employed residents for the Toowoomba Regional Council. The figures are from the 2001 census:
|Health and community services||88%|
|Wholesale and retail distribution||86%|
In addition, Greater Toowoomba had 82% of employment in manufacturing. Residents of the western part of the Toowoomba Regional Council also have the option of visiting Dalby for shopping.
Darling Downs, Toowoomba, and Cambooya, Clifton, Crows Nest, Highfields, Jondaryan, Millmerran, Pittsworth and Rosalie Shires entries