Indooroopilly, a suburb on the north side of the Chelmer Reach of the Brisbane River, is 7 km south-west of central Brisbane. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word referring to a gully with leeches, but the name may have been bestowed by Europeans, probably in 1875.
Situated well beyond the perimeter of colonial Brisbane, Indooroopilly was linked to it by railway in 1876 when the Ipswich to Roma Street line was opened. The Railway Bridge Hotel was licensed a few years before, and a post office was opened in 1874. A few Brisbane residents built houses on rural estates. In 1880 the Indooroopilly local government division was formed, extending south-west to Moggill. It was divided into Taringa and Indooroopilly divisions in 1890. The latter comprised the area well west of the village of Indooroopilly, and it was renamed Moggill in 1917.
A primary school was opened in 1889, along with St Andrews Anglican Church in Lambert Road. The Gothic influenced timber building is listed on the Queensland heritage register. Four years later Indooroopilly shot to prominence when the Brisbane River flood destroyed the railway bridge. The through rail service was resumed in July 1895 when a rebuilt Albert railway bridge was opened. The village had several hundred residents when it was described in 1903 in the Australian handbook:
Among the several rural estates there was 'Ross Roy' overlooking Indooroopilly Reach, built in 1897 for William Ross Munro. The two storey mansion is part of St Peters Lutheran College (1945). There was also a public hall in the village.
Indooroopilly's resident population grew steadily during the interwar years. The Stamford Picture Theatre was opened in 1925 and the Brigidine Convent opened a girls' secondary school in 1929. Away to the east in the direction of Long Pocket the Indooroopilly Golf Club opened its club house in 1926 and Bougainvillea Gardens (now Thomas Park) were a popular attraction. Increasing motor traffic overtaxed the Indooroopilly ferry, and the Walter Taylor toll bridge, immediately west of the railway bridge, was opened in 1936. The toll remained until the year after the Centenary Bridge was opened. Both the Walter Taylor and the Albert bridges are on the Queensland heritage register.
By the early postwar years Indooroopilly's population was over 8000. Nudgee's junior college was established there in 1938, along with St Peters Lutheran P-12 college on the Munro estate. The State high school was opened in 1954.
Indooroopilly was a transport node, and in 1959 the Brisbane City Council designed a bypass route to the western suburbs, the Western Freeway, crossing the river at Centenary Bridge (1964), Jindalee.
After Westfield Ltd had completed Toombul Shoppingtown it chose Indooroopilly as its second site in Brisbane. Westfield was so confident of its choice that it acquired and demolished over 50 houses to secure an adequate site. Opening in 1970, Indooroopilly Shoppingtown had a department store, a discount department store and over 250 other shops. In 2000 it had the highest sales of any drive-in shopping centre in metropolitan Brisbane. There is also an extensive strip shopping centre on Coonan Street which connects to the Walter Taylor bridge.
Indooroopilly extends eastwards into Long Pocket, a promontory bounded on three sides by the Brisbane River. Comprising mostly open space, it was acquired by the Council during Sir John Chandler's term as Lord Mayor. Conceived as a public park (1949), about half was leased to Indooroopilly Golf Club in 1962. The bordering sandy river banks have been spoilt by river debris and building activity.
The 1949 Post Office Directory noted the Cascades Tea Gardens along the river bank to the west of the Indooroopilly Toll Bridge. In 1956 recreational enthusiasts established the Indooroopilly Canoe Club. Its headquarters were at Tom Clancy's boatshed at the mouth of Witton Creek. There were four moorings between the pontoon and the creek mouth. The club's shed was rebuilt in the late 1960s but washed away in the 1974 flood.
The University of Queensland has a mining and metallurgy campus in the west of Indooroopilly, based near a silver-lead mine at Finney's Rise which was worked in the 1920s. CSIRO's Sciences Centre is near Long Pocket. Indooroopilly is a popular commuter suburb for university students and staff, and over one-third of residences are units or town houses.
In January 2011 the Indooroopilly golf course was covered by water, and the area around Nudgee Junior College and University mining campus was also flooded. The latter also had flooding reaching Moggill Road. On the border with Fig Tree Pocket, Cubberlea Creek flooded between its confluence and the Centenary Highway.
Indooroopilly's census populations have been:
Brisbane Courier, 15 August 1931, p 19-20
Sunday Mail, 26 May 1929