Moura, a rural town, is 150 km south-west of Gladstone. It was named after the Moura pastoral run (1857). The origin of the name is uncertain; sources suggest an Aboriginal word for dog, an Aboriginal word describing a deep waterhole or it could be named after a small Portugese town. Moura's first proprietor, Charles Marshall, was apparently a veteran of the Peninsula War, putting him at an advanced age when he took up occupation of the pastoral run.
Moura and the adjoining Kianga properties were partly resumed for closer-settlement in the mid-1930s and subdivided into farm lots varying from 800 to 1400 ha. They were designated as perpetual or prickly pear leases and awarded to leaseholders by ballot. The area was serviced by a railway line from Rannes (1926). Farm holders grew and hand-picked cotton crops, and embarked on dairying once Rhodes grass had been sown. Milk was taken by rail to the Port Curtis dairy factory at Gladstone. Later it was taken to the branch factory at Biloela.
Moura township was surveyed in 1936 and within a year there were several stores and a fuel depot. The school of arts was the site of Moura's first State primary school, opened in 1940. Anglican and Catholic churches opened in 1954-55, and Moura settled into its role as an agricultural township. Later in the 1950s the Thiess brothers began a search for coal deposits suitable for export to Japanese steel mills. In 1961 a long-term supply contract for the supply of coal from Moura was concluded, and in 1962 the Peabody Coal Company USA joined Thiess in a joint venture, with Mitsui and Co of Japan farmed in later. The resultant mines are known as the Moura-Kianga mines, with underground and open-cut operations. A series of supply contract extensions through to 1978 underpinned the undertaking, and by the 1970s the workforce exceeded 1000.
The town grew dramatically during the 1960s with a new shopping centre, a town water scheme (1965-66), a secondary department added to the school (1967), the completion of a Brigalow clearing scheme in 1962 and the commencement of a cattle transport service. Moura's name was etched on the national map though three mine accidents: Kianga, 1975, with a loss of 13 miners; Moura, 1986, 12 miners lost; and Moura, 1994, 11 miners lost. All deaths were caused by underground explosions. Underground mining ceased, with some of the miners joining the open-cut workforce.
Moura has a hospital (1974), a showground, bowling, golf, swimming and other sports facilities, State primary and high (1976) schools, five churches, a museum and information centre, and a large grain depot at the railway junction. In addition to the coal industry there is an ammonium nitrate plant.
On 27 December 2010 there were extensive rains over the Dawson River catchment, and within a day the countryside west of Moura township was extensively flooded. The Moura coal rail system was closed until 3 January 2011.
Moura's census populations have been:
Moura State Primary School's Social Studies Committee, Local study, Moura, The School, 1980
A century of local government in the Shire of Banana 1880-1980, Banana Shire Council, 1980
Betty Perry, Two valleys - one destiny: a history of Banana, 'shire of opportunity', Biloela, Banana Shire Council, 2005