The area surrounding the town is known as the Granite Belt.
Stanthorpe was developed around Quart Pot Creek which meanders from south-east through the centre of town and then out through the south-west, where its confluence with Spring Creek forms the Severn River. Quart Pot Creek forms part of the south-western boundary of the locality, while the Severn River forms part of the south-western boundary.
The New England Highway passes through the locality from Applethorpe in the north to Severnlea in the south. Originally it passed through the town centre along the main street, Maryland Street. However, it now bypasses to the west of the main developed area of the town. The Stanthorpe – Texas Road connects Stanthorpe to Broadwater to the west and then travels south-west to Texas.
The land within the boundaries of Stanthorpe is primarily used for urban purposes: housing, recreational, commercial and industrial with some undeveloped land on the hillier slopes. Although an agricultural centre of the Granite Belt, there is little agriculture within the town's boundaries. Crops grown in the surrounding area include vegetables, apples, grapes and stone fruit. Wine is also produced in the area, and sheep and cattle grazing is also prevalent.
The town lies in the valley of Quart Pot Creek and its tributary Funkers Gap Creek ( at 690 metres (2,260 ft) above sea level. Lees Hill is the south of the town ( ) and rises to 906 metres (2,972 ft).  Mount Banca is to the north-west of the town ( ) and rises to 924 metres (3,031 ft), while Mount Marlay is to the north-east of the town ( ) and rises to 918 metres (3,012 ft).)
Prior to white settlement, The Kambuwal were an indigenous Australian people of the state of Queensland. Norman Tindale estimated that the Kambuwal's territory stretched over some 3,700 square miles (9,600 km2). They straddled the border between Queensland and New South Wales, from south of Millmerran, and Inglewood to Bonshaw. Their eastern flank ended around Stanthorpe, Wallangarra and the western scarp of the Great Dividing Range.
Stanthorpe was founded by tin miners. People came from many countries to mine tin from 1872. Prior to 1872 this area boasted some large pastoral runs and a few prospectors in bark huts. At that time, the area was known as 'Quart Pot Creek'. The Private Township of Stannum existed in the area along one side of the present main street. With the discovery of tin and the influx of miners and new businesses, a 'more suitable' name was sought by the town fathers. Thus, Stanthorpe became the name which encompassed all, as this area became for a time, the largest alluvial tin mining and mineral field in Queensland. Stanthorpe literally means 'tintown', as Stannum is Latin for 'tin' and thorpe is Middle English for 'village'. The Queensland Surveyor General, Augustus Charles Gregory, is credited with coining the name in 1872.
When the tin prices fell, many miners turned to farming. The subtropical highland climate was very suitable for growing cool climate fruits and vegetables. Grapes were first planted here in the 1860s with encouragement from the local Catholic parish priest Father to produce altar wine. His Italian descent made grape growing and wine production a familiar pastime and the notion caught on in the area. There were plenty of Italian settlers and wine was made for home enjoyment.
Mount Marlay was named after Edward Marlay, a selector and tin miner. On 3 July 1872 he purchased Allotment 1, Section 1 in the Town of Stanthorpe.
Stanthorpe State School opened on 9 March 1874.
The railway reached Stanthorpe in May 1881.
The Post Office with a clock tower and an elaborate coat of arms was constructed in Maryland Street in 1901 in the Arts and Crafts style. Following Federation, the Commonwealth Government took charge of post and telegraphic services. However, they contracted the construction of post offices in Queensland to the Public Works Department of the Queensland Government and the Stanthorpe Post Office is believed to be one of the first ordered by the Commonwealth Government. It was designed by the first Commonwealth Government Architect John Smith Murdoch.
The cool dry climate was valued as an aid to health from the early nineteenth century especially for those suffering from tuberculosis or chest conditions. Following the First World War, Stanthorpe was a major resettlement area for soldiers recovering from mustard gas exposure. Many of these Soldier Settlers took up the land leased to them in the areas around Stanthorpe which now bear the names of First World War battlefields.
Stanthorpe State High School opened on 23 January 1961.
Stanthorpe Adventist Primary School opened on 25 January 1982 and closed on 2002.
The College of Wine Tourism was opened in 2007.
Stanthorpe has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- 94 Greenup Street: El Arish
- 98 High Street: Masel Residence
- 140 High Street: Central Hotel
- 14 Maryland Street: Stanthorpe Post Office
- Little Sundown Creek: Sundown Tin and Copper Mine
- Lock Street: Stanthorpe Soldiers Memorial
- Quart Pot Creek: Quart Pot Creek Rail Bridge
- Warwick-Stanthorpe railway line: Cherry Gully Tunnel
Owing to its elevation, Stanthorpe features a subtropical highland climate (Cfb). At an altitude of 811 metres (2,661 ft), Stanthorpe holds the record for the lowest temperature recorded in Queensland at −10.6 °C (12.9 °F) on 23 June 1961. Sleet and light snowfalls are occasionally recorded, with the most significant snowfall in over 30 years occurring on 17 July 2015.
|Climate data for Stanthorpe (Stanthorpe Leslie Parade, 1957–2019)|
|Record high °C (°F)||37.8
|Average high °C (°F)||27.4
|Average low °C (°F)||15.6
|Record low °C (°F)||7.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||96.2
|Average rainy days (≥ 1mm)||10.1||9.5||9.1||6.3||7.2||7.8||7.6||6.6||6.5||8.4||8.7||10.0||97.8|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Stanthorpe Library and Regional Art Gallery
The Stanthorpe Library opened in 1987 with a major refurbishment in 2004.
The Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery was established in 1972. Exhibitions change approximately every six weeks. Works in the art gallery permanent collection can be viewed via the online catalogue at . A number of internationally recognised Australian artists are represented in the collection, such as William Robinson, Jon Molvig, Margaret Olley and Charles Blackman. The biennial Stanthorpe Art Prize attracts entries from across Australia.
There are many interesting works of art on Stanthorpe streets across the Granite Belt.
Stanthorpe Heritage Museum
The Stanthorpe Heritage Museum at 12 High Street has a number of heritage buildings relocated to the museum site and a large number of displayed items from the district's history, many unique to the Granite Belt. The relocated buildings include:
- a shepherd's hut from the Ballandean Station (built 1876)
- the old gaol from Willsons Downfall (built 1876)
- the old North Maryland school residence (built 1894)
- the old Stanthorpe Shire Council Chambers (built in 1914)
- Ardmore House, a summer holiday house (built 1920)
- Heath House, a residence (built 1940)
There are many local events, including the Australian Small Winemakers Show, the biennial Apple & Grape Harvest Festival, Ballandean Estates' Opera in the Vineyard and the Stanthorpe Show.
Rebel FM 97.1 MHz was Stanthorpe's first commercial FM radio station. Rebel FM has a new & classic rock music format. The Breeze broadcasts on 90.1 MHz with an easy adult contemporary & classics hits format. Both stations are part of the Rebel Media group. Toowoomba based station CFM also broadcasts in Stanthorpe on 97.9 MHz. CFM is a part of the Australia wide Southern Cross Media network.
The Stanthorpe area is served by a local Community Radio Station Ten FM. The Station is currently transmitting on 98.7 MHz with a low power transmitter situated on Mount Marlay. The station has in 2011 upgraded its Stanthorpe studios with a new mixing desk, new computers and professional grade monitor speakers. Ten FM has a local focus, derived in part from the stringent rules controlling Community Radio Stations. The station transmits a broad range of programs to attract the widest audience. In particular, the station broadcasts Italoz, a weekly program with an Italian theme to cater for the many listeners around the Stanthorpe area with an Italian background.
The Border Post is the only paid local newspaper servicing the district. The Stanthorpe Border Post is relied upon for its coverage of local news and events.
Stanthorpe is also serviced by a Christian radio network rebroadcasting on FM 88.0 MHz. It features programs about health, lifestyle, children's programs and interesting interviews.
Stanthorpe and the surrounding Granite Belt and Granite Highlands area of South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales are the centre of a booming winery and national parks tourist destination. There are more than 50 wineries in the Granite Belt area. The Granite Belt national parks are Girraween, Bald Rock, Sundown, and Boonoo Boonoo. The region operates its own wine and tourism marketing body named .
There is a wide range of restaurants, accommodation places and other tourist venues. Backpacking is popular and there is large demand for fruit and vegetable pickers from November until May each year.
Several private art galleries operate in Stanthorpe including the Glen Aplin Art Gallery which supports emerging artists and musicians who wish to display new works and perform at public functions.
Parkland has been developed along both sides of Quart Pot Creek as it flows through Stanthorpe with a network of paths for walking and cycling with bridges and other crossings.
The Southern Downs Regional Council operates the Stanthorpe Civic Centre Complex and council offices in Marsh Street ().
Stanthorpe State School is a government primary (Early Childhood-6) school for boys and girls at Marsh Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 308 students with 33 teachers (27 full-time equivalent) and 22 non-teaching staff (13 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.).
Stanthorpe State High School is a government secondary (7–12) school for boys and girls at 2 McGlew Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 653 students with 57 teachers (53 full-time equivalent) and 45 non-teaching staff (31 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.).
Stanthorpe is on the Southern railway line. However, as at 2015, there are no scheduled passenger services operating to Stanthorpe railway station ( ). Downs Explorer (formerly the Southern Downs Steam Railway) operates a tourist steam train most months from Warwick to Wallangarra & return, stopping in Stanthorpe.
- Jordan Atkins – Rugby League player for the Gold Coast Titans and Parramatta Eels
- John Alexius Bathersby – former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane
- James Blundell – country music singer
- Ben Dark – television presenter, Getaway, Nine Network
- Roman Catholic Priest considered to be influential in establishing the fruit industry in the Granite Belt in the 1870s and 1880s
- Jack Drake – bush poet
- Michael Hancock – former professional rugby league footballer for the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia
- born 1888 London, died 1945 Stanthorpe. One of the few successful soldier settlers and very active in social affairs of the district.
- Billy Moore – former professional rugby league footballer for the North Sydney Bears, Queensland and Australia
- Greg Ritchie – Australian Test and one-day international cricketer
- Tracey Wigginton – Murderer that moved to Stanthorpe
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Stanthorpe (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- "Stanthorpe – town in Southern Downs Region (entry 32197)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Stanthorpe – locality in Southern Downs Region (entry 45978)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Stanthorpe" (Web article). Melbourne: The Age. 8 February 2004. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
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- "Funkers Gap Creek – watercourse in Southern Downs Regional (entry 13271)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Lees Hill – hill in Southern Downs Regional (entry 19137)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Mount Banca – mountain in Southern Downs Regional (entry 1484)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Mount Marlay – mountain in Southern Downs Regional (entry 21017)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
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- Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
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- "Stanthorpe Soldiers Memorial (entry 601632)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
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- "Queensland Extremes" (PDF). Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 30 September 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- "Thick snow blankets parts of southern Queensland in what could be state's most significant snowfall in 30 years". ABC News. 17 July 2015. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
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- "Australian Winemakers Show". Australian Small Winemakers Show. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- "Apple & Grape Harvest Festival". Stanthorpe Festivals Association. Archived from the original on 5 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
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- "St Joseph's School". Archived from the original on 30 October 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
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- Hui, Jin (30 July 2014). "Fruit industry pioneer a priest". Southern Free Times. Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Macmaurice, Robert (28 October 2014). "Local life: Edith Harslett". Stanthorpe Border Post. Retrieved 24 November 2019 – via PressReader.
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- Town map of Stanthorpe, 1980 (Northern part)
- Town map of Stanthorpe, 1981 (Southern part)
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