Booval, a suburb on the main railway line and the Brisbane to Ipswich road, is 3 km east of the centre of Ipswich. It is thought that Booval House (c1859) at 14 Cothill Road was the first residence in the area, built for the manager of the Bank of Australasia in Ipswich. 'Booval' is reportedly derived from an Aboriginal word describing a frilled lizard. A passenger platform was built for the railway patrons at Booval in 1876, a year after the opening of the line to Brisbane.
Situated between the town of Ipswich and the eastern collieries, Booval was a farming district and a dormitory suburb for coal miners. A post office (1884) was opened at the railway station. About 3 km east of the station the Booval Brewery was opened in 1898, supplying tap beer to most Ipswich hotels. In 1903 its equipment was transferred to a new brewery in Toowoomba. The Queensland Farmers Cooperative opened a dairy factory in Jacaranda Street, Booval and the Queensland Colliery Employees Union bought the National Hall at 3 Station Road in 1917, complete with a piano and film projection equipment. Patrons could travel by train from Ipswich or the coal fields. The Hall later became the centre for the Blackstone Ipswich Cambrian Choir.
Booval became the main eastern district centre in the Ipswich area. There were five churches recorded in the Post Office Directory in 1949, including the Anglican All Saints (1896) and Sacred Heart with a convent and a primary school (1931). The convent was the original Booval House. In addition to the National Hall and picture theatre there were also the Alpha cinema, the Coronation Hall and a Masonic Hall. Outdoor recreation could be found at the bowling club, the adjoining Cameron Park or with a quiet drink at the Prince Alfred Hotel. The Booval Motor Bus Co ran commuter and shopping services.
Booval House and the Booval war memorial (1919) are listed on the Queensland heritage register.
By the 1960s the urbanisation of Ipswich's outer areas had overtaken Booval. The dairy factory and its railway siding closed in 1964 and the eastern Ipswich suburbs were ready for a drive-in suburban shopping centre. Booval Fair (1970) came with a discount department store and 60 other shops. Residential growth moved northwards creating the suburb of North Booval in the mid-1970s, its boundary beginning at the railway line. In addition to three churches North Booval has the Vision Christian primary school.
In 2010 the food and beverage company National Foods announced that it was winding down its operations at its factory in Booval, affecting about 100 workers. Houses in Booval were inundated during the 2011 flood in the region.
Booval's census populations have been:
Malcolm Rea, Booval, Brisbane, Australian Post Office, Public Relations Section, 1972
Laurie and Mary Hull, eds, Historical research: All Saints Booval, Booval, The Church, 1996