Mooloolah, together with the hinterland area known as the Mooloolah Valley, is located on the Mooloolah River, 80km north of central Brisbane and 20km inland from the coastal town of Caloundra. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word referring to the dark coloured fish which were plentiful at the mouth of the Mooloolah River. It is situated in the area taken up for the Mooloolah plains grazing run and the Maradan grazing run in the 1860’s, and for timber cutting in the nearby hills.

In 1868 a Cobb & Co coach service from Brisbane to Gympie followed a track that had a stopping place at Mooloolah. Mooloolah was connected by the North Coast railway line to Brisbane in 1891, and the route coincided with the coach crossing at Mooloolah. The line was laid through hills south of Mooloolah, and there is still a 100m railway tunnel which is listed on the Queensland Heritage register. Pugh’s Queensland Directory (1904) recorded only a blacksmith and a carpenter at Mooloolah, along with dairy workers and fruit growers. The Mooloolah Public Hall built around 1905 is one of the oldest community halls on the Sunshine Coast still in use today. Mooloolah Provisional School was established in 1894 and by 1925 the town had a Hotel (built around 1911), two storekeepers, two sawmills and the railway refreshment room. Ewan Maddock Dam, The State Forest and Dularcha National Park are nearby places of recreation reserve and natural beauty located near the town.