Quilpie is a town of 560 people (2006 census) which is a service centre for pastoral properties and supply centre for the region extending as far as Birdsville. The area was first occupied by pastoralists in the 1860s; a teamsters' camp was established on the Bulloo River and a township grew on a ridge on the Bulloo floodplain which proved to be above flood level. Arrival of the railway line from Charleville in 1917 was a major event. A school opened in 1918, the first post office in 1921 and a hospital in 1922. A bore into the Great Artesian Basin in 1933 provided drinking water and bore water was used to generate electricity for the township between 1952 and 1963. In the 1950s funds from the booming wool industry allowed the council to provide a shire hall and a public swimming pool. Quilpie remains a service centre for surrounding pastoral leases but cattle have mainly replaced sheep and fewer workers are needed. Oil and gas facilities around the town are fly-in/flyout operations so gas/oil industries do not provide much business for Quilpie. Mining for boulder opals is a Quilpie activity but it is hard to identify how important opais to Quilpie's economy.