Mooloolah, together with a hinterland known as Mooloolah Valley, is on the Mooloolah River, 80 km north of central Brisbane and 20 km inland from Caloundra. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word referring to the dark coloured fish, which were plentiful at the mouth of the Mooloolah River.
Mooloolah is situated in the area taken up for the Moolooloo plains grazing run (1860) and the Maradan grazing run (1860s), and for timber cutting in the nearby hills. In 1868 a Cobb and Co coach service from Brisbane to Gympie followed a track that had a stopping place at Mooloolah.
Mooloolah was connected by the North Coast railway line to Brisbane in 1891, and the route coincided with the coach crossing at Mooloolah. The line was laid through hills south of Mooloolah, and there is a 100 metres railway tunnel that is listed on the Queensland heritage register.
Pugh's Queensland Directory (1904) recorded only a blacksmith and a carpenter at Mooloolah, along with dairy workers and fruit growers. By 1925 there were the Mooloolah Hotel (1911), a public hall (c1905), two storekeepers, two sawmills and the railway refreshment room.
In the 1980s the town's population began to grow, doubling to nearly 1000 between 1986 and 2000. Mooloolah has a primary school (1894), local shops, a Church of England, a public hall and an environmental park. There are a State Forest and Dularcha National Park a few kilometres southward. Mooloolah's census populations have been:
*includes Mooloolah Valley
Jan Kesby and Janet McPherson, Mooloolah State School centenary 1894-1994: recollections of Mooloolah, Kawana, Mooloola State School Centenary Committee, 1993