The Dja Dja Wurrung aborigines called the area Tuaggra but the Maryborough district was first settled as early as 1840 by the Scottish Simson brothers, who began sheep farming in the district. The town site was surveyed in 1854, with a police camp, Methodist Church and hospital amongst the first infrastructure. When gold was found, the population quickly grew and by 1856 there were up to 53,000 people living in the district. Maryborough was named after Commissioner James Daly’s Irish birthplace.
Land sales commenced in 1856, and Maryborough became the administrative and commercial centre of the area. The town became a borough in 1857.The last gold mine in Maryborough closed in 1918. In 1924 the Maryborough Knitting Mills opened, which established the town as a centre for the wool industry. Maryborough became a city in 1961.