Boondall, a residential suburb of about 8500 people, is 15 km north-east of central Brisbane. It is bordered on the north by Cabbage Tree Creek and on the south by Zillman Waterholes and Nundah Creek. The former empties into an extensive wetland which in 1990 was proclaimed an environmental reserve of 707 ha.
Originally part of Nudgee, Boondall was known as College Hill because of the proximity of Nudgee College and the railway station known by the same name (now North Boondall). The change of name to Boondall occurred in 1923. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word meaning crooked creek or referring to the bulb of the cunjevoi lily, an Aboriginal food.
The Boondall area became attractive to European settlement with the bridging of Cabbage Tree Creek in the 1860s, and more so with the opening of the Sandgate railway (1882) and the opening of the Christian Brothers Nudgee College (1891). The College's principal building, a grand Italianate structure designed by Andrea Stombuco, is an outstanding landmark and is listed on the Queensland heritage register. An estate named College Hill (1915) was put up for sale. Comprising over 600 lots, the triangular estate was between Sandgate Road and the railway line, south of the North Boondall station.
In 1920 the local Nudgee College Progress Association lobbied for a State primary school. The Association's name changed when the railway station was named Boondall (1923) and the school opened as Boondall Primary in 1925. In addition to the school there was a public hall used by the progress association and for church services.
By the early postwar years there were a couple of shops and a motor garage on Sandgate Road, and in the 1950s Sue's Korner Store at Beams Road was opened. It became one of several small shopping centres along Sandgate Road in the 1960s.
Boondall became a well-known destination when a drive-in cinema (1956-90) operated off Stamworth Road. The entertainment component was increased with the Brisbane Entertainment Centre (1986) with a 14,000 seat auditorium and a regional ice skating rink (1994) on Sandgate Road.
Boondall was at the heart of transport growth in the 1980s: the Gateway Motorway (1986) cut through the wetland, ensuring further residential growth in the suburb; and the historic timber station building had to make way for a larger modern structure. The old building can be seen in a railway museum at Cabanda, north of Rosewood. An ambitious development plan for housing, a marina and facilities for a projected Olympic Games bid arose in the mid-1980s, but was scaled back in the face of concern about damage to the wetlands and the unlikelihood of a successful bid. Development has still been extensive, but merged westward with Taigum where a drive-in neighbourhood shopping centre was opened in 1982.
The wetlands were acquired by the Brisbane City Council in 1990 and three years later were included in the Moreton Bay RAMSAR listing. A visitor centre off the Gateway Motorway was opened in 1996.
Boondall's census populations have been:
Barbara Bow, Welcome to Boondall, Sandgate, Sandgate & District Historical Society & Museum Inc, c1995