In 1854 William Ainley purchased 80 ha of land here on the Middle Branch of the Maitland River. The following year he laid out a village plot which he named Ainleyville. A post office named Dingle was opened in 1856. The community flourished and by 1863 contained a sawmill, a grist-mill, blacksmith shops, a woollen mill and several other small industries. In anticipation of the rapid growth that the expected construction of a branch of the Wellington, Grey and Bruce Railway would bring, Ainleyville, with a population of 780, was incorporated as a village and renamed Brussels on December 24, 1872. Within a decade the population had increased to about 1800.