Bald Hills, an outlying northern suburb near the South Pine River, is 20 km north of central Brisbane.
The name was an obvious description of the elevated grassed rises visible among the scrub along the South Pine River, although other sources mention a distant view of a rounded profile of the D'Aguilar Range.
Bald Hills was settled by Scots families in 1857 who within six years built a Presbyterian church of simple slab construction. Two of the earliest families, the Stewarts and Duncans, cleared the surrounding slopes of the native hoop pine and established mixed farming enterprises. Another prominent family, the Carseldines, were of the Methodist faith. They opened the first store in Bald Hills (1869), donated land for a Methodist church (1870) and are remembered by the adjoining southern suburb named in 1975.
A year after the Bald Hills post office was opened in 1871 Cobb and Co began a regular coach and mail service. Seventeen years later the North Coast railway began operation, putting Bald Hills within easier reach of Brisbane. Maize, potatoes and local sugar productions in the river scrub were supplanted by dairying. The Railway Hotel (1886) catered for travellers and the Nundah local government division opened its offices at Bald Hills. (The division had lost its built-up area in the east to the Toombul division, formed in 1883).
By the early 1900s Bald Hills' population was around 500, and growing. The old Presbyterian church was replaced in 1911, the old school (1866) in 1913 and a telephone service was installed.
There was a prospect of additional population from soldier settlement farms in the 1920s, but most were unsuccessful because of the small size of the holdings. More enduring was a new memorial hall (1921) built from materials recovered from the first school of arts (1913). A Catholic church opened in 1927.
Bald Hills retained its rural character until the late 1950s. The Post Office directory in 1949 recorded dairy, fruit growing and poultry farmers, two motor garages, a butcher and three stores. Bald Hills' commercial centre had declined in the 1880s-90s, and its slow recovery simply reused the existing vacated premises. Not much was replaced, and the original village persists to the present day.
Urban growth began with the Richmond Heights estate (1959) north-east of the Presbyterian church, but retail focus was drawn to the Westfield Shopping Centre (1983) up Gympie Road at Strathpine. There are also a shopping centre and a Bunnings store southwards along Gympie Road, near Carseldine. Apart from housing, Bald Hills' notable postwar structures were the radio transmission towers east of the town (1942) and St Paul's, the Anglican boys' school (1960) next to the Presbyterian Church. Between 1961 and 1971 Bald Hills' population nearly tripled to 6000, mainly northward to the South Pine river, 2 km from the railway station. Expansion was interrupted in 1993 when Brisbane City Council acquired a proposed housing site for the Tinchi Tamba wetland reserve, bordered by the South Pine River, Gympie arterial and the Gateway Motorway.
Bald Hills' census populations have been:
Garth Carseldine, Souvenir of Bald Hills centenary 1857-1957, Bald Hills, Bald Hills Progress Association, 1957
Rod Fisher & Barry Shaw, eds, Brisbane: people, places and progress, Ch 2, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane History Group, 1995
Barry Shaw, Bald Hills heritage tour, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane History Group, 1993