The area around the town was first settled in 1878 but it wasn't until the arrival of the railway line in 1913 that any kind of township developed. The town was proclaimed in 1915 and subsequently it became a typical wheatbelt town servicing the surrounding area and providing the necessary grain handling and rail facilities to allow farmers fast access to Thevenard and Port Lincoln.
The year of the town's official proclamation was also the year when the Minnipa Experimental Farm was established. The farm has carried out extensive experiments in the growing of wheat and the grazing of sheep on the marginal lands of the Eyre Peninsula. Over the years their research has contributed significantly to a general improvement in production of both wheat and wool in the area. Experiments with shallow seeding (rather than using seed drills) have seen a marked improvement in wheat production. In the grounds of the Experimental Farm is the very interesting inselberg, Yardwondatta Rock, which is layered in such a way as to be like a geological time line of the area.