Emerald is a small city located in the Central Highlands Region, Queensland, Australia. At the 2011 census, Emerald had a population of 12,895. The town is the business centre for the Central Highlands Regional Council.
Emerald lies on the Nogoa River, a tributary of the Fitzroy River. The town lies almost 300 kilometres (190 mi) from the coast and approximately 270 kilometres (170 mi) west of the city of Rockhampton on the junction of the Capricorn and Gregory highways. The Tropic of Capricorn intersects the Gregory Highway just north of Emerald.
Emerald has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Clermont Street (Capricorn Highway): Emerald railway station
To the west of the town is an area known as The Gemfields, with small towns such as Sapphire
indicating the type of gems found there. The sapphire fields located here are the largest in the southern hemisphere.
The Fairbairn Dam, a short drive to the south of the town, was opened in 1972, and holds back the waters of Lake Maraboon. The lake covers an area of up to 150 km², making it one of the largest artificial lakes in the country. When full, it holds more water than Sydney Harbour. This extensive water supply has allowed the cotton industry to flourish in the area, and the lake is a boon for local water sports.