Nundah, a suburb of mainly interwar housing stock, is 10 km north-east of central Brisbane.
In 1838, at the prompting of the Presbyterian minister, John Dunmore Lang, a Moravian mission was established in the vicinity of Kedron Brook and the Toombul Shoppingtown in the southern part of Nundah. The nearby heritage-listed Nundah cemetery in Hedly Avenue contains the remains of several of the missionaries and their families. The mission, on a land grant of 2.6 sq km (1 sq mile) was named Zion Hill, and the area became known as German Station.
By 1844 it was realised that the mission, too close to Brisbane, was unsuccessful, and four years later the area was surveyed for land sales. A few of the remaining missionaries bought land there, including August Rode (hence Rode Road).
The German Station farm lands were an early site for commercial pineapple growing. The locality had considerable passing traffic on the main northern (Sandgate) road and became a place around which a township formed. A Wesleyan church was opened in 1859, and in 1865 the German Station National School and the Prince of Wales Hotel were opened. Both the school and the hotel were west of Sandgate Road and were the beginning of Nundah's civic precinct which includes Boyd Park, a memorial reserve, Corpus Christi church and school, and Chapel Street with a former Baptist church (1889). After building a church east of Zion Hill, the Lutherans settled at a spot in Buckland Street in 1895 near the railway station.
In 1882 the Brisbane to Sandgate railway line was opened, and the name German Station was changed to Nundah for the railway station. The name 'Nundah' denoted a large area, extending to Northgate and Wavell Heights. It is thought that 'Nundah' was derived from an Aboriginal word describing Downfall Creek - once a string of water holes - at Northgate.
In 1883 the Toombul local government division was formed, extending from Nundah to Nudgee and Hamilton. When Hamilton was severed and constituted a separate division in 1890, the diminished Toombul division built new offices and a hall at Nundah, on Sandgate Road near the railway station. Nundah functioned as Toombul Shire's administrative centre until the metropolitan Brisbane amalgamation in 1925. The shire offices are listed on the Queensland heritage register.
The Catholic church, present in Nundah since 1904, built the impressively domed Corpus Christi church in 1926, next to the St Joseph's convent and school (1916). Corpus Christi church is listed on the Queensland heritage register. The State school, a group of timber buildings accommodating 700 children by 1916, was transformed into multi-storey brick wings in three stages (1935, 1941, 1951). In the early postwar years Nundah was an important suburban shopping strip. West Nundah emerged as Wavell Heights, a bus ride away but supplying retail patronage in excess of the shopping strip's capacity. The T.C. Beirne department store acquired flood-prone land near the Zion Hill settlement for a drive-in centre. Ownership passed to Westfield and Toombul Shoppingtown was opened in 1967. Toombul became the new civic centre with a major bus interchange, and increasing traffic passed along Sandgate Road. Nundah shopping centre became a bottleneck, but was freed up by a bypass tunnel in 2001. The Sandgate Road shopping strip recovered by 2006, and in 2008 there was considerable land consolidation and redevelopment planned between Sandgate Road and the railway. In addition to the heritage-listed sites previously mentioned, there are the Free Settlers monument in Sandgate Road near Bage Street (commemorating the 1838 German settlement), a former air raid shelter in Sandgate Road (converted to a public toilet) and a fire station (1936) in Union Street.
Nundah's census populations have been:
(area from Toombul
From pioneering days: Nundah, Northgate, Virginia, Nundah, Nundah and Districts Historical Society, 2002
Images past and present Nundah and Districts, Nundah, Nundah & Districts Historical Society, 1996