Rubyvale, a rural town of 500 people, is 290 km west of Rockhampton and 50 km north-west of Emerald.
Originally known as Policeman's Creek, Rubyvale is in an arc of country which has been mined since 1891 for sapphires and gemstones. The growth of the mining population gave rise to a school (1905) and post office (1906), and the naming of the school as Rubyvale resulted in the town also adopting that name. A town with several stores, a hotel, a sawmill and a motor garage developed, and the population in 1921 was 630. A public hall was opened in 1925, but within a few years the population had fallen by two-thirds. The school closed in 1963 and students bussed to Anakie.
The mid-1970s saw a recurrence of mining, including squatter-miners and casual fossickers. The Shire Council and the State mining regulator applied conditions on siting and effluent disposal. Tourist fossickers swelled the activity and several holiday units and other accommodation were established. The old hall was replaced in 1979 after it had burnt down and reticulated water was turned on in 1998.
An annual week-long Gemfest festival attracts over 150 traders and merchants. Year round attractions include a walk-in sapphire mine, the Rubyvale Gem Gallery and - to some tastes at least - the moonscape scenery. Rubyvale also has a hotel and local shops.
Its populations have been:
Marie Reid, A history of Emerald: a place of importance, Rockhampton, Qld: Central Queensland University Press, 2001
John Rolfe, Emerald and the Gemfields centenary 1879-1979, Emerald, Q: Emerald Centenary Committee, 1978