Cooroy is a rural township on the North Coast railway line, 120 km north of central Brisbane, and 20 km inland from Noosa Heads. The name is thought to derive from an Aboriginal word meaning 'possum'.
Timber getters exploited the Cooroy district, and in 1891 the area was traversed by the new railway line to Gympie. In the following decade farm selections, many from the subdivision of a timber reserve in 1908, were taken up for dairying and banana and bean growing. A branch of the Wide Bay butter factory opened in 1915, and in 1909 the Cooroy State primary school opened. By 1925, Pugh's Queensland Directory records Cooroy having numerous retail businesses, two hotels, two banks, several trades people, a sawmill and packing-case factory. The railway station, built in 1891 before the town was surveyed, had a goods yard, livestock pens and rail employees' houses. The banana industry, however, languished, afflicted by plant disease, and dairying assumed increased prominence.
In 1951 a brickworks opened east of the township, on the road to the large Lake Macdonald water storage. An old rubbish tip near the lake has been reinvigorated, and landscaped as a botanic garden. Similarly, the butter factory, closed in 1975, has found new purpose as an arts and crafts centre. An industrial estate has been established to the town's west.
Cooroy has a hospital, a state primary school, Noosa district State High School (1963), Noosa Christian College (2003), five churches, a showground, sports ground, a swimming pool, a bowling club and a golf course. Overlooked by forested rages and Mt Cooroy (427m), the town serves local market gardens and orchards, and is a popular hinterland arts and crafts retreat for visitors to nearby coastal holiday destinations. The timber industry revived when CSIRO opened a plantation and wood-processing research centre (2004), and Noosa Shire Council participated in the recovery of the Boral saw mill that had closed in 2000. The timber railway station (1891) and goods shed are listed on the Queensland heritage register.
Cooroy's census populations have been: