Roma is a town in the western Darling Downs area of Queensland, Australia. It is situated at the junction of the Warrego and Carnarvon highways. It is the centre of a rich pastoral and wheat-growing district, in which oranges and vines are grown and much wine is produced. The town was incorporated in 1867 and is named after Lady Diamantina Roma Bowen, the wife of Sir George Ferguson Bowen, the Governor of Queensland at the time. Beef, grain and wool are its chief industries. It has a population of nearly 7000 people and is in the Maranoa electoral district. It also serves as a centre for the larger Bungil Shire Council area.
The first buildings in Roma were Mazareth’s Maranoa Hotel, Ahren’s Bowen Hotel, Schlezinger’s store and Zieman and Benjamin’s store. These buildings formed a rough square, which, because of the nationality of some of the owners was referred to as the German Square. Thomas Reid evidently moved his pub, the Fitzroy Hotel, in from the Bungil Creek.
Roma, right from its start, suffered a shortage of water. The average local rainfall is around 60 cm, and the Bungil Creek was the only convenient, if inadequate supply. The flood of 1864 must have seriously effected the settlement, it being on the banks of the creek. No local records survive as to that flood’s extent. We do know that extensive flooding of the major creeks to the west of the town, and of the Maranoa River, did occur. In all probability, it would have caused the settlers to look at moving away from the creek, up towards present day Hospital Hill. Certainly, the big flood of 1890, in which the actual creek waters reached the present Post Office area, caused a rethink of the settlement pattern.
The shortage of surface water was initially addressed by building a shallow Town dam, now referred to as the Railway Dam, in 1874. The dam had too small a catchment area.