Inala, a residential suburb with about 13,200 people, is 15 km south-west of central Brisbane. It is a few kilometres south of the Ipswich Motorway and the railway line to Darra and Ipswich. The name is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal expression describing a restful, peaceful place, or a place of the wind.
Until the early postwar years Inala was part of the Richlands district, and Richlands primary school (1934) is a few hundred metres west of Inala. The Richlands East School (1967) is in Inala adjoined by a development site (2007) on which there was Richlands High School (1970-96).
In 1946 a group of World War II ex-servicemen formed the Serviceton Co-operative Society which purchased 480 ha of land around Buddelia Street to build affordable housing. The site was subdivided into about 1000 lots for the co-op shareholders, but house construction did not proceed until the government incorporated the site into a larger project.
In 1950 the Queensland Housing Commission began construction of the Inala residential estate (named in 1952), and the census population in 1954 was over 2500. In its report for 1955-56 the Commission estimated that 7000 people lived in Inala, describing it as a satellite town of 3700 housing lots, a civic centre and eight subsidiary shopping areas. 'Large areas' were reserved for parklands (mainly linear parks) and provision made for schools and churches. Inala included the suburb of Durack in its east. The settlement pattern can be discerned from the building of local schools: Inala primary (1955); Serviceton primary (1959); Inala high (1960, in Durack, renamed Glenala); Inala West primary (1960); St Marks Catholic primary (1963); Serviceton South primary (1963, south Inala); Richlands East primary (1967, in Inala); Richlands high (1970-96, in Inala).
Inala town centre is on the suburb's main east-west axis, Inala Avenue, and like several other postwar public housing towns is identified by Pacific War place names or military terms. Kittyhawk, Wirraway and Corsair are the names of the thoroughfares bordering the town centre; aviation and flight names border these, Lapwing, Skylark, Swallow etc. Euphonious names were the trimmings on the Commission's ambition for Inala to have the 'best planned centre in Australia'. The reality fell short of the ambition. Public housing was built for low-income residents, which has been Inala's most distinctive feature. In 2001 the median weekly income for residents was $237, the lowest of any Brisbane suburb, 43% less than the median for metropolitan Brisbane, 20% below neighbouring Durack, and 51% below the newer southern neighbour, Forest Lake. Inala is thus a house-rental suburb: in 2001 53% of dwellings were rented, compared with 32% in metropolitan Brisbane and 30% in neighbouring Darra. (In 2006 Inala's position had improved, with 49.3% of dwellings being rented.) House purchase prices were also low, some keeping below $100,000 in 2003-04. By early 2008, however, most prices were around $300,000. 33% of Inala's residents in 2001 were foreign-born, with nearly 15% from East Asia. The Vietnamese community has built a Buddhist temple near the Inala West primary school.
The Inala town centre, at Wirraway, Corsair and Kittyhawk Avenues, has council offices, a community house, a gallery and a bus interchange. There is a TAFE college south-east of the town centre.
Inala's census populations have been:
Inala State School 25th anniversary 1980, Inala, the school, 1980
Gertrude Riley, History of our Inala and suburbs, Inala, the author, 1988