Cecil Plains, a rural town, is 180 km west of central Brisbane and 140 km south of Dalby. It is situated on the Condamine River in the western Darling Downs shire of Millmerran.

In 1841 Henry Russell took up his Cecil Plains pastoral run. In 1848 he employed as head stockman James Taylor who became a partner in 1856 and sole proprietor of Cecil Plains in 1859. Taylor made Cecil Plains a fattening and disposal centre for western sheep, and by 1880 the station comprised 147,000 acres. A central figure in the growth of Toowoomba and a parliamentarian by 1860, Taylor circumvented the land resumption laws of the period by alienating large parts of Cecil Plains to himself. The Taylor Estates company controlled Cecil Plains into the 1900s; in 1908 it was recorded (in Darling Downs: the Garden of Australia) that Cecil Plains was the finest sheep country in the Downs with 100,000 sheep shorn annually: along the Condamine the land was 'still as nature made it'.

In 1916 over three-quarters of Cecil Plains was resumed for soldier settlement. The railway was extended from Oakey in 1919, improving access to markets but not markedly advancing development. Despite the failure of many of the soldier-settler farms, the agricultural potential of the district did not go unrealised. Prickly pear infestation was avoided, and grazing and mixed cropping succeeded. The town of Cecil Plains was proclaimed in 1924. Cotton growing expanded postwar in the Central Downs, and the population climbed to nearly 600 by the mid-1950s. While the town experienced a population decline leading to the end of the twentieth century before picking up again, cotton remains a key industry, and there is a large cotton gin 5 km west of Cecil Plains.

Cecil Plains has a combined state primary-secondary school (opened in 1898), golf and swimming venues, a general store, the Victory Hotel (opened in 1938, after local teetotallers rebuffed several earlier attempts to establish a watering hole) and sundry other businesses. A railway museum opened in 2003, ten years after the line from Oakey closed.

The Lock the Gate Alliance and local community strongly opposed the development of coal seam gas in the area.

Cecil Plains' census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation


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