Cabarlah is a rural village on the New England Highway 18 km north of Toowoomba. It is thought that the name derived from an Aboriginal expression describing the ring-tailed possum.
As a place of settlement, Cabarlah is thought to have begun with the first farm selections in 1863: the Farmers Arms Hotel is said to have been continuously licensed since then. The area's primary school at Geham opened in 1871, and when the Highfields local-government division was formed in 1879 the Cabarlah court house was chosen for the municipal office. Thereafter, the Highfields Shire (1902) was headquartered in Cabarlah, and the municipal clerk, who was also a part-time farmer, lived in Cabarlah.
A railway from Toowoomba to Cabarlah opened in 1883 and was extended to Crows Nest in 1886. The line carried timber from the hills around Crows Nest, livestock, pigs, dairy produce and maize. In 1924 the post office directory recorded two stores in Cabarlah, two dressmakers and shire clerk Merritt. The Cabarlah hall was also opened that year.
Highfields Shire was absorbed by Crows Next Shire in 1949 and the railway closed in 1961. Since the 1990s there has been rural/residential settlement. The Defence forces signal regiment is at Borneo Barracks south of Cabarlah, and defence accounts for 20% of Cabarlah's employment. The local Geham primary school has run a country market at Cabarlah sports ground since 1994. The Cabarlah Hotel, formerly the Farmers Arms, provides local hospitality.
Cabarlah's census populations have been:
The Geham district's census populations have been: