The Gympie region was the site of a gold rush in the late 1860s and onwards, and the suburb of Monkland, named by a prospector after a town in Scotland, itself contained a number of profitable mines including the No.2 Great Eastern Gold Mine. By 1873, rapid expansion of the area had led to the construction of a number of shops and four hotels in the main street, with many families living in the area. The North Coast railway line was built through the area in 1889 connecting Gympie to Brisbane, which involved a considerable gradient between Monkland and Gympie of 30 metres (98 ft). The line was decommissioned a hundred years later when the North Coast railway line was electrified and upgraded.
Monkland contains the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum, which contains a collection of documentation, artifacts and photographs, with each building in the museum exploring different aspects of the history of the Gympie region, and containing parts of the former No.2 Great Eastern Gold Mine. The personal collection of Andrew Fisher, an early LaborPrime Minister of Australia who represented the area in the Federal Parliament, is also located here. Next to the museum is the Lake Alford Park which contains an all-abilities playground, and backs onto a restaurant and motor inn. The Monkland railway station, built in 1911, is part of the Mary Valley Rattler which has been operated by the Apex Club of Gympie since 1998.
The suburb's primary school, Monkland State School, first opened on 24 September 1884 with 74 pupils in attendance. A public meeting in 1880 called for its establishment, due to the number of families in the district and the long walk to the One Mile State School which had been established in 1869. The school was struck by a tornado in 1932, and a new building had to be constructed. An extensive reconstruction occurred in 1958, and demountables were added in the 1970s and 1980s. The original timber-frame headmaster's residence, designed by architect Robert Ferguson, is largely fenced off from the school and has been heritage listed by the Queensland Government. Today, the school has 134 students (2008) and offers an instrumental music program. The school has a feeder arrangement with Gympie State High School which is located about two kilometres away.
Bruce Highway forms the main transport artery through the suburb. Polleys Coaches bus services also provide public transport access, with four or five services a day to and from Gympie on weekdays and three on Saturdays.