Matt Renshaw was the stand out for the hosts, stroking a classy 89 to help steer the home side to 4-269 at stumps on Saturday's opening day at Allan Border Field.
Charlie Hemphrey was not out 68 after a 77-run third-wicket stand with Renshaw.
The picturesque ground was forced to host the round-three Shield clash after the Gabba was shut down for US superstar Taylor Swift's concert on Tuesday night.
Renshaw shared a 90-run opening stand with Joe Burns (49) before he fell short of his 11th first-class ton, trapped in front by Matthew Kelly by a ball that kept low.
After Queensland won the toss, Western Australia finally broke through an hour into the middle session when Burns was caught behind off Jhye Richardson (2-34).
Incumbent Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne lasted only 14 balls before he was caught in the gully for 11.
Part time spinner Will Bosisto chimed in with one wicket just before the new ball was taken, removing the dangerous Sam Heazlett (21.)
Third-placed WA - captained by Test all-rounder Mitch Marsh - have lost Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis to national ODI duties.
Day two gets underway from 8am AWST tomorrow.