Tara, a rural town of 900 people, is 80 km west of Dalby and 280 km west of central Brisbane. It was named after the Tara pastoral station (1852), one of several occupying the Tara district during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Most of the pastoral stations were subdivided for closer-settlement during 1906-13 under the Queensland Government Group Settlement Scheme. Many settlers came from Victoria. The Tara Township began as a reserve in 1909 with two boarding houses, a surveyors' camp, a couple of stores and a canvas town of new arrivals.
At about that time the prickly pear invasion worsened, and by the 1920s much of the land south of the township was infested. Tara became known as a drought-stricken, death-adder infested land of little or no promise. The railway line was extended from Dalby to Tara in 1911, and west to Meandarra in 1927. A sleeper cutting industry helped the local economy, and the eradication of prickly pear by the early 1930s cleared the way for farm prosperity. A more buoyant future was hoped for when the pastoral, agricultural and horticultural society was formed in 1931.
There was a steady growth in population through the 1950s, when at last Tara experienced prosperity, sharing in the general postwar boom. In 1961 the historically important Moonie oil field came into production. Australia's first commercial oil producer, it was a Stock Exchange sensation, although the output leveled out to under 1% of Australian production.
Agriculture remains the Shire's economic mainstay, producing top quality prime hard wheat, while CSG operations continue to expand across the district.