Queenstown was founded in 1853. It was intended to be a military outpost designed to protect the British subjects from attack during the time of the Frontier wars. The town was laid out around a central hexagon, which was to be the lager to which the citizens would flee in time of trouble. Although still a distinguishing feature of the town today, the hexagon was never used for its intended purpose.
Queenstown became a service town for farmers in the district. It was known for the quality of its wagon building and for the general quality of its (often) imported merchandise. Educational Institutions also flourished.
In the late 19th century, Queenstown prospered, and the huge local sand stone public buildings were built, most still standing today. The magnificent Town Hall facade is an example, as are the Methodist Church, the Anglican Church and the Dutch Reformed Church.
After the world wide depression in the 1920's, Queenstown once again entered a period of prosperity while still acting as a supply and educational center for surrounding farmers and smaller towns. After 1948, and the beginning of the Apartheid era, the district changed character as white owned farms were bought out and the land incorporated in the Transkei and Ciskei and settled with people. Queenstown has since then been a service centre for these people.
Mlungisi (the traditional "Location") has been incorporated into Queenstown since 1984. Mlungisi was perhaps best known as a training ground for political activists, and also for the dedication of its school teachers. Many of the leaders of the present government have had links with the town through its political connections over the years. The political clout of Mlungisi was demonstrated by the residents participation in a consumer boycott in 1985. The motivating factor was the atrocious conditions pertaining in the township.
Ezibeleni was a town established near Queenstown in the 1960's as part of a master plan to move all Black people to the homelands. It was incorporated into Queenstown after 1984.
The Lukhanji Municipality came into being on 5 December 2000 and includes Queenstown, Whittlesea, Sada, Lesseyton and surrounding rural areas.