Like nearly all of the towns in the Central Highlands it traces its European origins back to Ludwig Leichhardt's journey from Jimbour to Port Essington which passed through the region in 1844. The land grab which followed in the wake of Leichhardt's glowing report on the area resulted in the establishment of Juandah Station in 1853 but the establishment of the town was slow.
In the late 1850s the violence with the local Yeeman people spilled over to Juandah station and there is evidence of massacres having occurred in the area at this time. See Taroom for greater detail on the destruction of the Yeeman people.
A pub was built in the 1890s and Wandoan became a stopover point for travellers through the area. A kind of township gradually grew up around the pub.
It wasn't until 1914 that a railway was built linking the tiny settlement of Wandoan with the larger township of Miles. In 1927 the name of the town, which until that time had been Juandah after the station, was changed to Wandoan.
The township grew significantly after World War II when large tracts of brigalow country were opened up to soldier settlers.
Today Wandoan is a tiny little settlement serving the surrounding cattle and wheat industries. It prides itself in producing some of the best wheat (a variety known as Prime Hard which is very high in protein) in Australia. Like all good wheat towns its most distinctive features are the railhead and the grain silos. There is a little sorghum growing and fat lamb raising in the area but Wandoan concentrates primarily on cattle and wheat. It is a major cattle trucking centre.
There's a large Wandoan Cultural Centre in which the local library and a large public hall are housed.