- The first electric Tilt Train service runs from Brisbane to Rockhampton. With a top speed of 165km/h, and the ability to tilt five degrees in each direction, the Tilt Train is the fastest train in Australia.
- Queensland-born and educated immunologist Professor Peter Doherty shares the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his Swiss colleague Professor Rolf Zinkernagel for discovery of how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells.
- The first high speed CityCat service begins in Brisbane.
- Queensland wins the Sheffield Shield for the first time—68 years after joining the national cricket competition.
- Just outside Cairns, stretching 7.5km, Skyrail is one of the state's top tourist attractions.
- Cathy Freeman carries both the Australian and Aboriginal flags at the Commonwealth Games in Canada after winning two events.
- The landmark High Court case, Mabo v Queensland (no.2) on 3 June overturns the concept of terra nullius. This lawsuit achieved victory as Queensland’s first successful land rights case.
- South Bank Parklands in Brisbane open.
- The first Indy (car race) outside the United States is held at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
- Warner Bros. Movie World opens at Oxenford.
- The Australian Labor Party (ALP) returns to power after 32 years, led by Wayne Goss.
- A daylight savings trial begins. In 1992, the majority of Queensland voters reject daylight saving in a referendum and it is abolished.
- Queen Elizabeth II officially opens World Expo '88 as a central feature of the national bicentennial celebrations.
- The Daintree Rainforest is World Heritage listed.
- Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame opens at Longreach.
- The Fitzgerald Inquiry starts. It reforms the public service, the police service, electoral processes and government accountability over several years. Some politicians and the Police Commissioner are convicted and jailed.
- Queensland's largest dam, the Burdekin Falls Dam (south-west of Ayr) is completed, with a capacity four times that of Sydney Harbour.
- The Commonwealth Games come to Brisbane, the largest major sporting event held in Queensland. Australia wins the overall gold medal tally.
- The iconic Cloudland Ballroom at Bowen Hills is demolished overnight, following the demolition of Brisbane's historic Bellevue Hotel three years earlier. These events changed the way Queenslanders saw and valued their heritage.
- The Great Barrier Reef is World Heritage listed.
- Queensland beats New South Wales 20–10 in the first State of Origin game in front of a packed Lang Park (now Suncorp Stadium).
- Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is recognised as Queensland’s first marine park.
- Protests against uranium mining during Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s reign as Premier provides a pretext for the government to ban street marches in Queensland for the first time in September. The legislation is met with strong opposition from church leaders, trade unionists, civil libertarians and academics.
- The State Emergency Service is established.
- The Brisbane flood – the worst flood since 1893 – leads to major flood mitigation works. The Wivenhoe Dam is built.
- Surf clothing company Billabong is founded on the Gold Coast by surfer and surfboard shaper Gordon Merchant and his partner.
- Arsonists James Finch and John Stuart are jailed for fire-bombing the Whiskey-Au-Go-Go nightclub on St Pauls Terrace in Brisbane—the worst mass murder in Australia until the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
- Queenslander Neville Bonner becomes the first Indigenous person to be elected to Federal Parliament as a Senator for Queensland.
- Brisbane's tram service is abolished.
- Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen starts his premiership, which lasts until 1987 (19 years), making him the longest serving premier in Queensland history.
- The first US Presidential visit to Queensland happens after Prime Minister Harold Holt invites US President Lyndon B. Johnson to Australia.
- Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bogner chain themselves to the bar rail at Brisbane's Regatta Hotel to protest against men-only bars in Queensland pubs (the law changed in 1970).
- On 29 June The Beatles are greeted by 10,000 excited fans. Over the course of two nights, they perform to a crowd of almost 12,000 people at Festival Hall.
- The Bruce Highway linking Brisbane and Cairns is completed. This encourages growth in tourism as Queenslanders take advantage of shorter travel times to places such as the Whitsunday Islands.
- Rockhampton-born ‘Rocket’ Rod Laver wins the tennis Grand Slam (the only man to win it twice—again in 1969).
- Brisbane changes forever under the leadership of Lord Mayor Clem Jones (until 1975), whose city council introduces town planning and massive development programs.
- The Cloncurry School of the Air becomes the first to begin broadcasting in Queensland.
- Queensland celebrates the first Centenary of Separation in December. Highlights of the celebrations include the presentation of Miss Queensland to the Deputy Premier and re-enactments of Governor Bowen’s arrival at the Botanical Gardens.
- The Cooktown Orchid becomes Queensland's floral emblem.
- Queen Elizabeth II is met by hysterical crowds on her visit to Queensland during her Australian tour.
- Best known for house calls to the sick and elderly, Blue Care becomes the Blue Nursing Service, an initiative of members of the Methodist Mission at West End.
- Free public hospital treatment is available to Queenslanders for the first time.
- Rhodes Scholar, Fred Paterson, becomes the first and only member of a Communist party ever to be elected to parliament in Australia.
- Japanese flying boats bomb Townsville (26 to 29 July) and Mossman (31 July). There are no fatalities and only one minor injury is recorded.
- American troops are first deployed to Brisbane in March to the reception of enthusiastic crowds, and later in December following simultaneous attacks on Pearl Harbour and the Philippines.
- The Story Bridge, Brisbane's most iconic bridge, first opens and is named after John Douglas Story.
- World War II starts with Germany's invasion of Poland (the war ends in 1945).
- Dr James Mayne and sister Mary Emilia give their entire estate to The University of Queensland for medical education.
- Cane toads are deliberately introduced to Queensland from Hawaii to reduce the number of French’s Cane and Greyback Cane beetles that were destroying the roots of sugar cane plants.
- Somerset Dam is built due to the need for a more substantial and consistent water supply to meet future demands.
- Women are accepted into the Queensland police force, with Ellen O’Donnell and Zara Dare becoming the first female police officers, commencing duty on 16 March at the Roma Street police station.
- A preparatory year of schooling is added to state primary schools. Abolished in 1953, it is re-introduced in 2007.
- Charles Kingsford Smith breaks Bert Hinkler's solo record from England to Australia and lands at Eagle Farm, Brisbane.
- Irene Longman becomes the first woman elected to Queensland Parliament, winning the Brisbane seat of Bulimba for the Country National Party.
- First 'talkies' screen at the Tivoli in Brisbane.
- The Royal Flying Doctor Service is founded by Reverend John Flynn in response to an emergency call. John Flynn is today commemorated on the Australian $20 note.
- Brisbane-born pioneer aviator Charles Kingsford Smith and his colleagues completed the first air crossing of the Pacific, from San Francisco to Brisbane, in 1928.
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary at Fig Tree Pocket is the world's first koala sanctuary and the first to breed captive koalas.
- Dors Hassell stars in Charles Chauvel's first movie, The Moth of Moonbi, made by Australian Film Production, and shot mainly in the Brisbane bush (released January 1926).
- The winking Mr XXXX, atop the Milton brewery in Brisbane, makes his first appearance.
- Queensland abolishes the Upper House, becoming the only state parliament in Australia to have one house.
- Qantas – Australia’s first airline is established on 16 November by four World War I veterans at Winton.
- Prime Minister Billy Hughes forms the Australian Federal Police after local police refuse to arrest the men responsible for throwing eggs at him during a pro-conscription rally in Warwick.
- In March, the Queensland Patriotic Fund requests permission to hold an inaugural art union to raise money for the Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Fund. Termed the ‘Golden Casket’, the first prize was equivalent to 30 years of a skilled tradesman’s wage.
- The proposal to introduce conscription divided government opinion throughout Australia. Queensland’s Labor Government remained committed to a volunteer army. The weight of public opinion resulted in Queensland and New South Wales voting against conscription in the 1916 referendum.
- Premier TJ Ryan leads the first Queensland ALP government to govern without the need of non-Labor Members of Parliament (MPs). Labor is in power from 1915–1957 (except during 1929–1932).
- World War I is declared (the war ends in 1918).
- Yatala Pie Shop opens.
- A dispute, concerning union badges on Brisbane tramway workers’ uniforms, spreads across 43 unions with the Strike Bulletin describing it as “the first simultaneous strike in the world”.
- The first alternative treatments for polio are pioneered in Queensland and remain in use across the world today.
- The University of Queensland is the first university in the state, officially founded on April 16. Teaching starts in 1911 in Old Government House in George Street, Brisbane.
- Queensland surf lifesavers rescue a group of young women in the first recorded rescue, at Greenmount Beach, Coolangatta.
- Witches Falls at Mt Tamborine is proclaimed Queensland's first national park.
- Rugby League is established as a separate sport from Rugby Union.
- On 18 May 1907, women voted for the first time in a Queensland state election.
- Pacific Islanders who had arrived to work as servants in Queensland are deported due to the adoption of White Australia Policy legislation adopted in 1901.
- Queensland women are granted the right to vote.
- Under the Jacaranda is painted by R. Godfrey Rivers, a leading Queensland artist. This is a popular painting among visitors to the Queensland Art Gallery.
- The colony of Queensland becomes a state of the new Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January.
- Between 1900 and 1909, 499 cases of bubonic plague were officially reported in Queensland, resulting in 219 deaths.