Warroo Shire (13,660 sq km) was in south-central Queensland, generally 400 km west of Brisbane and 200 km north of the New South Wales border. It was named after a minor pastoral station in the south of the shire and the neighbouring Balonne Shire. In 2008 Warroo Shire was amalgamated with Roma Town and Bendamere, Bungil and Booringa Shires to form Roma Regional Council.

The area was explored by the New South Wales Surveyor-General, Sir Thomas Mitchell, in 1846. Within a year the first pastoral occupation occurred, and in 1850 a local court of petty sessions was installed at the Surat township site. When local government was approved for the district in 1879, the Warroo division had Surat as its administrative centre. Surat remained the shire's sole urban centre.

Sheep grazing for wool was the shire's main industry. There was a temporary loss of grazing area on the shire's eastern area when prickly pear infestation was at its worst in the 1920s. Average rainfall is about 23 inches in a year, with annual falls around half that causing irregular droughts. The Balonne River and artesian waters help to offset the shortages. As the shire entered the prosperous postwar years it was described in 1946 in the Australian Blue Book:

A considerable part of the shire lay on the Surat basin, an area that as early as 1900 was identified as having underground gas reserves that were encountered while drilling for artesian water near Roma. In 1961 the basin yielded a commercially viable oil flow at Moonie, about 100 km south-east of Surat. It was the beginning of serious oil production in Australia. The basin has been drilled for numerous flows of gas and oil.

Warroo Shire's enduring industry was sheep grazing. With an area of 13,660 sq km, it had 423,000 sheep and 62,000 lambs in 1993. In addition there were 53,000 meat cattle, and cereals were grown on 27,000 ha. The sole township, Surat, had over 30% of the shire's population in the early 1900s, and in 2001 it had over 40%. Warroo Shire's census populations were:

Census Date Population
1911 1639
1947 1385
1961 1774
1981 1304
2001 1011
2006 1038

G.O. Armstrong, The Changing Years: a history of the Shire of Warroo incorporating Bendamere Shire history, Fortitude Valley, W.R. Smith and Paterson, 1970

Surat entry


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