South Burnett Regional Council was formed in 2008 by the amalgamation of Kingaroy, Murgon, Nanango and Wondai Shires. The new council is south of the Burnett River, but encloses major tributaries of the Burnett such as the Boyne River and Barambah Creek. James Burnett was a surveyor and explorer who visited the lower reaches of the Burnett River in 1847. For that and other survey work around Wide Bay, the river was named after him by Governor Fitzroy.
South Burnett Regional Council surrounds the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire, an area of 32 sq km between Murgon and Wondai.
The constituent shires' contributions to the new Regional Council were:
The largest town, Kingaroy, is 125 km west of Noosa Heads. The South Burnett Regional Council's eastern boundary is 90 km from the coast, and its western boundary is 200 km inland. Most of the regional council is agricultural plains and undulating land, although the south includes the foothills of the Bunya Mountains and the Cooyar Range. Watercourses from the ranges fill Lake Barambah near Cherbourg.
Murgon, Wondai, Kingaroy and Nanango townships are in the east of the South Burnett Regional Council and were connected by rail, built in stages between 1902 and 1911. The line now terminates at Kingaroy. There were branches as follows: Kingaroy to Tarong (1915-61); Murgon to Windera (1925-61); and Murgon to Proston (1923-93). The Bunya Highway follows the railway from Murgon and continues south west to Dalby.
All the former shires had substantial agricultural sectors, and in Kingaroy and Murgon Shires much of the manufacturing concerns meat and food processing. Nanango Shire also had employment in coal mining and electricity generation at the Tarong power station.
Before the local government amalgamations in 2008 there was a South Burnett Local Government Association made up of Kilkivan Shire and the above shires. It is discussed in the entry on Wide Bay-Burnett.
South Burnett Regional Council's census populations have been:
Kingaroy, Murgon and Murgon Shire, Nanango Shire, Wondai Shire and Wide Bay-Burnett entries