South of Gladstone's built-up and rural/residential areas there are four localities distributed around the intersection of the Bruce and Dawson Highways. Beginning north-west of the intersection they are Beecher, Burua (north-east), Benaraby (south-east) and River Ranch (south-west). River Ranch and Benaraby touch Calliope, the administrative centre of the former Calliope Shire.

Beecher is named after Mount Beecher, apparently inspired by the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Surveyor Francis McCabe also named Mounts Tom and Stowe (1853). Beecher had a primary school (1874-1943), originally named Calliope River until named Beecher in 1919. It also had a railway station on the line to Many Peaks (1910).

Beecher's census population has been:

census datepopulation
2011939

Burua is on the Dawson Highway and the railway line (1910) from Gladstone to Many Peaks. Its first school was known as Clyde Creek from 1882 to 1911. Later schools were Burua West (c1925-1940) and Theresa (1927). Burua's census populations have been:

census datepopulation
193346
2006680
2011675

Benaraby is perhaps named after an Aboriginal expression for the Boyne River, but that is doubtful. The Boyne River is east of the Benaraby village on the Bruce Highway, and the Boyne River school opened in 1886. The area was also known as Annandale, the name of the local railway station on the North Coast line until 1908. The Benaraby school, named thus in 1909, had about 150 pupils in 2008. Benaraby has a general store, a hall, a caravan park and motel, a sawmill and the Benaraby motor raceway. Lake Awoonga (regional storage for domestic and industrial water) is south of Benaraby. It has fishing facilities and a caravan park. Benaraby's census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation
1911104
1933163
1954171
20061030
20111261

River Ranch, west of Calliope, was formally named in 1999, and appears to be the most recent locality around Calliope. It extends west to the Calliope River, and across the river there is the Calliope Historical Village. River Ranch's census populations have been:

census datepopulation
2006515
2011313

South of Benaraby and River Ranch there is the much larger area of Boyne Valley, with the Boyne River and several tributaries meeting at Lake Awoonga. A quarter of its employment is in grazing and cereal growing, and its census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation
191151
2001646
2011379
Further Reading: 

Gladstone Suburbs entry