Cecil Plains is in the Darling Downs, 217 kilometres (135 mi) west of the state capital, Brisbane. The fertile black soil around Cecil Plains is ideal for cotton production and the town is now the home of one of the largest cotton gins in the southern hemisphere.
European settlement in the area began in 1842, when Henry Stuart Russell claimed land around the Condamine River to establish Cecil Plains station. The site of the station homestead was to become the site of the town. Ludwig Leichhardt used the homestead as a base for two expeditions into the surrounding region in 1844 and 1847. The station originally grazed cattle but later moved to wool production.
The town takes its name from the pastoral station, which in turn was named after Russell's mother Cecil Charlotte Russell, née Pemberton.
In 1877, 8,300 acres (3,400 ha) of land was resumed from the Cecil Plains pastoral run to establish smaller farms. The land was offered for selection on 24 April 1877.
Cecil Plains Provisional School opened on 17 January 1898. It closed briefly in 1910 and 1912 and then again from 10 October 1917 to 17 June 1919. It became Cecil Plains State School on 1 February 1922. In 1964 a secondary department was added. In 1975 a pre-school centre was added.
In 1916, Cecil Plains station was acquired by the Queensland government and subdivided for closer settlement, with some parcels reserved for soldier settlers. The new settlers produced mainly wheat and dairy. 
In November 1925, the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane provided a loan of £250 to establish a church in Cecil Plains. St Margaret's Anglican Church was dedicated on Sunday 2 January 1927 by Archdeacon Glover. The architect was Mr Marks of Toowoomba and the timber church was built by J. Johnson of Dalby.
A police station opened in 1934.
The local pub is called the Victory Hotel, as a result of a successful vote in 1938 (on the third attempt) to establish a drinking establishment in the town. From the 1960s cotton became the main crop grown in the area.
Cecil Plains is host to a number of recreational facilities, including the Cecil Plains Golf Club and Apex Park at the Cecil Plains Weir.
The Cecil Plains Library is operated by the Toowoomba Regional Council and opened in 1987. The library is located on Taylor Street and is open three days a week. Public accessible wifi is provided. Current services and collections can be found at the Toowoomba Regional Council Library Service website.
St Margaret's Anglican Church holds fortnightly Sunday services; it is part of the parish of St John's of Dalby. The church is on Watson Street on the south side of the railway station, set among trees ( ).
Cecil Plains State School is a government primary and secondary (Prep-9) school for boys and girls at Taylor Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 57 students with 13 teachers (9 full-time equivalent) and 11 non-teaching staff (7 full-time equivalent).).
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- Gersekowski, A., (editor.); Scott, P., (editor.); Cecil Plains School Centenary Committee (issuing body.) (1998), Saddles, sand burr, speech nights and software : a collection of memories from 100 years of education in Cecil Plains, Cecil Plains School Centenary Committee, ISBN 978-0-646-35867-3CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)