The pastoral industries of beef production and wool growing have been central to European settlement of this area. While sheep predominated on the west of the range for many years, they were replaced by cattle during the 1950s. The large original pastoral leases continued to be subdivided until the 1960s, but remained at sizes believed by officials to be sufficient to support large-scale grazing. However, with challenges such as drought and depressed markets, the area granted was often barely sufficient to provide a family living.
In Alpha, the railway depot employed a number of people, running and servicing trains, their passengers and goods. The small town businesses serviced needs of the pastoral industry and the towns’ public servants.
The first sales of town allotments occurred as the railway line was being constructed westwards from Rockhampton.