Goombungee, a rural town, is 110 km north-west of central Brisbane and 35 km north-west of Toowoomba. It is situated in the eastern Darling Downs, approaching the hilly dividing range and the headwaters of Oakey Creek. Much of the original vegetation was ironbark forest and brigalow scrub.

The name was derived from the Goonbungee pastoral run, taken up by Charles Pitts in 1847, east of Rosalie Plains. The origin of the name of the pastoral run, although possibly Aboriginal, is unrecorded. Part of the Goonbungee run's 16,000 ha was resumed in 1874 and a township reserve was gazetted in 1885. Surveyed town blocks were offered for sale in 1888. A school was opened in 1881, shortly after the formation of a progress association. The association organised the building of a public hall (1893). The town was briefly described in the 1903 Australian handbook:

By 1908 the Goombungee area was substantially cleared, with the numerous farms concentrating on dairying and fodder crops. There were two dairy factories, one in the township, and the larger of them producing both cheese (2.5 ton/week) and butter (8 ton/week) by the 1920s. A railway line through Goombungee, from Kingsthorpe to Haden, was opened in 1910. There were also numerous civic and business facilities: Lutheran (1890), Catholic (1902), Methodist (1903), Congregational (1903) and Anglican (1908) churches, a Show society (1907), four hotels, a hospital and several shopkeepers and tradespeople.

Goombungee's population steadied at around 500-600 people in the prewar years, but by the 1960s fell to below 300. The butter factory, destroyed by fire, was rebuilt in 1935 and continued until closure in 1973, marking a time when dairying was contracting and factory facilities centralised in larger units. The railway line closed in 1964.

A population upturn began in the late 1970s as district residents were attracted to Goombungee's rural/residential lifestyle. The former Rosalie Shire offices, resident in Toowoomba since 1903, were transferred to Goombungee in 1985. Goombungee has a local shopping centre, the Goombungee-Haden showground, a primary school, a golf club, a public hall, four of its original five churches and one remaining hotel. Goombungee's census populations have been:

Census Date Population
1901 125
1911 774
1947 550
1966 289
1981 344
1991 589
1996 654
2001 652
2006 1197
2011 1032

Karen Handford, The history of Goombungee and district, K. Handford, 2003



Copyright © Centre for the Government of Queensland, 2018. All rights reserved.

UQ Logo