A township was surveyed and named “Boolarra” at the place where a railway station was established at the “12 mile peg” from Morwell during the construction of the Morwell to Mirboo North rail line in 1884. The first plan bore the signatures of John Lardner, Assistant Surveyor and M. M. Callander, District Surveyor. In addition to residential blocks, land was reserved for Police, Bank of Australia, public buildings, churches and a block for the Mechanics Institute.
The township of Boolarra became the commercial and agricultural centre of the district and in its heyday was home to three general stores, four churches, three hotels, bakers, butter factory, blacksmiths, several saw mills, butchers, three confectionery shops, boot makers, a tinsmith and coach builder.
The monthly cattle sales brought people into town from the surrounding districts and soon a flourishing social scene based on sports meetings, woodchops, horse races and dances was established. During this period Boolarra became the second largest town in Morwell Shire with a population of over 200 in the1890s - rivalling that of Morwell! The 1891 Census recorded Boolarra as having a population of 220 people with 44 dwellings.