Clayfield, a residential suburb on Sandgate Road, is 6 km north-east of central Brisbane. It is thought that the name arose from the deposits of clay used for brick making in neighbouring Hendra. Clayfield also includes the locality of Eagle Junction, treated as a separate suburb until the late 1960s.
In 1882 the North Coast railway was opened, branching at Eagle Junction with a line to Ascot running via Clayfield. The year after, the Eagle Junction post office was opened. Later in the decade Clayfield became the locale of several large residences, vying with Hamilton as Brisbane's choicest northside suburb. Its elevation and proximity to both central Brisbane and the racecourse underpinned its appeal. 'Ralahyne' (1888) in Enderley Road, built for the Under Colonial Secretary, is a leading example; it is on the Australian heritage register. Later examples were 'Glendalough' (1896) built for Francis McDonnell (McDonnell and East's drapery) and 'Inspice' (1901) built for Judge Lukin.
The Eagle Junction primary school was opened in 1895, scarcely a foretaste of the educational institutions to follow. Brisbane Boys' College (Clayfield College) on Sandgate Road was opened in 1902 and the Catholic St Rita's Girls' College was opened in 1926. Anglican churches – St Marks in Old Sandgate Road (Bonney Avenue) and St Michaels in London Road – each had a school. St Rita's College incorporates the heritage-listed Stanley Hall (c1885).
In 1901 the Sandgate Road electric tram, from Breakfast Creek to Wagner Street, began operation. With both a tram and a train service, Clayfield's housing moved ahead, incorporating stylish 'federation' era homes. During the 1920s the Spanish mission style found favour. A shopping centre in Sandgate Road, between the tram terminus and the station, developed, including the Savoy cinema. On the west side there was a third Anglican site, St Colomb's church and parish hall.
Clayfield College was taken over by the Methodist Church in 1918, becoming the Brisbane Boys' College which moved to Toowong in 1931. The Clayfield site became a girls' college (P-12) and later also catered for boys (P-5).
Some of Clayfield's stately dwellings have been replaced by units – a 60 perch site in Bayview Terrace went under ten units in 1965 – but the overall survival rate has been good. So too have real-estate price rises. The shopping strip once a locale for antique outlets is dotted with real estate offices, although, everyday retail essentials are catered for. There are also shops in Junction Road, east of Sandgate Road, and to the west at Eagle Junction. In addition to Clayfield College and St Rita's there are also St Agatha's Catholic primary school (1925) and Eagle Junction State primary.
One of the ventilation outlets for the Airport Link tunnel (2012) is located in Clayfield.
Clayfield's census populations have been:
Malcolm M. Rea, Clayfield, Brisbane, Australian Post Office, Public Relations Section, 1969
Clayfield College Girls Association, History of Clayfield College 1931-1973, Clayfield, Clayfield College Old Girls' Association, 1974