Pimpama, is on the northern Gold Coast, 45 km south-east of central Brisbane and 24 km north of Surfers Paradise. The origin of the name is uncertain: apparently of Aboriginal origin, the meaning is variously recorded as referring to freshwater crayfish or to at least two species of native birds.
The locality is south of the area known as Pimpama Island, being enclosed on the west and north by Hotham Creek and the Pimpama River. The creek was named after Sir Charles Hotham, Governor of Victoria (1854-55), by Thomas Ham, formerly of Melbourne. Ham was a member of the Victoria Cotton and Sugar Plantation Company which grew cotton on the southern bank of the Pimpama River in about 1863. Dependant on a cotton shortage caused by the American Civil War, the industry was soon supplanted by sugar.
Several plantations were established by German settlers and in 1871 Heussler and Bauer were recorded as having the largest sugar holding (49 ha). A small Pimpama village was established where the South Coast track crossed Hotham Creek, with a store, a hotel and a school (1872). Within a decade it was found that northern sugar growing was more profitable, and in Pimpama the occasional mild frost was beneficial for growing arrowroot: the frosted tops of the plants were easily removed and the root harvested. Used in starch, biscuits and blancmange, there was a steady demand for arrowroot at a time when Queensland's population was increasing. In 1891 the Post Office directory showed arrowroot manufacturers outnumbering sugar planters in Pimpama.
The South Coast railway (1889) had a stopping place at Pimpama, and dairying was taken up when produce could be railed to the dairy factory at Kingston. Just before the Kingston factory was opened, Pimpama was described in the Australian Handbook (1903):
The trend to dairying was very pronounced during the 1920s-30s throughout the local shire, which had over 1000 dairy farms in 1939. After the war (1949), Pimpama had 25 dairy farmers, four banana growers, two arrowroot growers and no recorded sugar grower.
Pimpama has remained mostly farmland and is designated as a rural wedge between urban Ormeau and Coomera. The exception to this planning zone is in the north where there is the Ormeau railway station, Ormeau primary school (1878) and a highway interchange on the Pacific Motorway. The cemetery, historic Uniting church and a war memorial comprise Pimpama's 'civic precinct'. The Pimpama State school (1872) and a hall are further south. Gradual growth in rural/residential living also saw the rifle range replaced by a heritage park and museum (South Coast Restoration Society) and housing development went ahead in the 2000s. A short way east there is the Gainsborough Greens golf course (1990), which has been adjoined by urban subdivisions. Further away the country becomes wetland, farming (where drainage was constructed for sugar growing) and an environmental reserve of mixed woodland, marsh and mangroves along the south side of the Pimpama River.
In 2013 the State government announced the building of a new primary school at Pimpama as part of 10 new schools to be built in high-growth areas under a private-public partnership model, with the private companies responsible for maintaining the school for up to 30 years. 2013 also saw the opening of the Pimpama State Secondary College on Dixon Drive in what is Upper Coomera.
Pimpama's census populations have been:
Pimpama Island entry