Murweh Shire, south central Queensland, is located around Charleville and is generally 650 km west of Brisbane. It is bisected north-south by the Warrego River and the Mitchell Highway and has an area of 43,905 sq km. Murweh was the name of a pastoral run (c1865), reputedly an Aboriginal name for a waterhole.

The Warrego River region was explored by Edmund Kennedy in 1847 and by William Landsborough in 1862. Pastoral occupation began the following year, notably the Gowrie pastoral run (where Charleville was established), and several holdings gathered by Edward Flood (1805-88) into a vast station of 800 square miles on the Maranoa and Warrego Rivers. The district mostly consisted of large holdings, where striking shearers confronted pastoralists in the 1890s. The Melbourne-based Fairbairns, able successors to Flood, led the pastoral interests.

When Charleville was about 15 years old the Murweh local-government division was established (1879). It included Augathella (see separate entry), north of Charleville, and Morven to the east of Charleville. Morven was described in the 1903 Australian handbook:

Whilst Charleville was a regional centre, particularly when it was a railway terminus (1888-98), pastoral interests predominated, and the townspeople had the town severed from Murweh and made a separate municipality in 1894. Re-amalgamation came in 1961, with Charleville bequeathing a town hall, library and war memorial to Murweh Shire.

Murweh Shire was described in the 1946 Australian Blue Book:

Murweh Shire comprises 43,905 sq km. Numerically, its affairs are dominated by Charleville, although each of the three towns has a hospital. In 1993 the shire had nearly 650,000 sheep, 71,000 lambs and 135,000 beef cattle. The leading industry at the 2011 census was sheep, beef cattle and grain farming employing 14.3% of the workforce.

Murweh Shire's census populations have been:

Census Date Population
1911 2334
1933 2936
1954 3015
(including Charleville)
1971 6053
1991 5291
2001 4810
2006 4580
2011 4619

M.A. Lord, Murweh Shire: 100 years of local government, Charleville, Murweh Shire, 1980

Murweh Shire handbook, Brisbane, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, 1973

Augathella and Charleville entries



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

UQ Logo