Somerset Regional Council was formed in 2008 by the amalgamation of Esk and Kilcoy Shires. It was named after the Somerset Dam on the Stanley River, itself named after Henry P. Somerset (1852-1936). Born in South Africa, Somerset arrived in Queensland in 1871. In 1888 he acquired 20,000 acres near Mount Stanley, near the headwaters of the Brisbane River. He was a member of the Esk Shire Council and the MLA for Stanley, 1904-20. Somerset Dam's construction began in 1933.

Somerset Regional Council has an area of 5379 sq km. Esk Shire comprised the western and southern parts of the Somerset Regional Council, nearly three-quarters of its area. The dominant land feature is the Brisbane River valley, along which there are the towns of Esk and Toogoolawah. Kilcoy Shire comprised the north-east part of the Somerset Regional Council.

The most densely populated part of the Somerset Regional Council is in the south, around the Lockyer Valley. In addition to horticultural holdings there are rural/residential sub-divisions. Prior to the formation of the Council the census populations of some of the southern towns/districts (2006) were:

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 All of these towns had varying proportions of horticulture and dairying.

The Brisbane Valley railway from Ipswich reached Lowood in 1884, and Toogoolawah in 1904. It then swung west, ending at Yarraman in 1913. The railway was important for transporting dairy produce and vegetables, and ran until 1993. Kilcoy was the terminus of a railway (1913-64) from Caboolture.

Both Esk and Kilcoy Shires were settled by people with Protestant religious backgrounds.

Agriculture/horticulture were leading employment sectors in both of the former shires, Kilcoy leaning to livestock grazing and Esk to horticulture.

Esk is the municipal headquarters of the Somerset Regional Council, and there are branch offices at Kilcoy and Lowood.

Somerset Regional Council's census populations have been:

census datepopulation

Esk and Kilcoy Shires entries


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