Kooralbyn, a rural town, is 70 km south-west of Brisbane and 18 km south-west of Beaudesert. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word describing the brown or copper snake.
Situated in a valley, Kooralbyn is reached via a road off the Mount Lindsay Highway. Further west is the Scenic Rim which can be reached by a 4WD road.
The Kooralbyn pastoral station was the district's main establishment, and its name was used in Mrs Campbell Praed's Longleat of Kooralbyn (1891), a novel about Queensland's politics and pastoral life. The author was born and spent part of her childhood in the Logan district.
Kooralbyn was described in the 1901 post-office directory as having the pastoral station and half a dozen farmers and graziers. It was not listed in most later directories, and only became better known when the Kooralbyn Valley golf course resort was opened in 1979, the first of its kind in Australia. An hour's drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, the golf course was ranked among Australia's top courses. There were also mini golf courses, tennis courts and bowling greens. An airstrip, resort hotel, equestrian and polo facilities were added in the 1990s.
The development drew residential population, reaching 800 by the early 1990s. An International Secondary College, enrolling local and overseas students was opened in 1985. By the early 2000s the investment proved to be over-optimistic: the hotel had been sold with debts of $63.5 million in 1996, the International School was closed and sold with debts owing in 2002 and the equestrian centre was put on the market in 2005. The prospect of further residential development was mooted.
Kooralbyn has a general store, real estate office and a service station. Residents have petitioned for an improved road to the Scenic Rim, putting the town on a tourist route from the Gold Coast.
Kooralbyn's census populations have been: