Until recently Tivoli and Tivoli Hill were separate suburbs, but both are now known as Tivoli, with Tivoli Hill a locality. Situated north of the Bremer River, Tivoli is four km north-east of central Ipswich and north-east of the Ipswich railway workshops.
In 1864 the first of numerous coal seams was worked in the Tivoli area, at Davie's mine on the east side of Sandy Creek near the present day overhead powerlines. The seam was readily visible on the rising bank of the creek. Three years later a more profitable seam was opened to the south-west, about half a kilometre in from Francis Street. In due course it was known as the Old Tivoli mine, supplying both coke and coal to the railways. Financed and named by John Robinson (Ipswich soda-water manufacturer) and Harry Hooper, it seems that Tivoli was a Hooper family name.
By 1872 Robinson and Hooper sold out to James Gullard who had been a driving force in their company for some years. Gullard found a fresh seam to the south and opened Gullard's Tivoli mine in 1874, south of Tivoli Hill Road and close to the North Ipswich wharves on the Bremer River. Numerous other coal pits were opened, along with State coke ovens. In 1893 a railway line was run from the railway workshops, beyond the Tivoli mines to the Eclipse and Bishop mines, north-west of the primary school.
The Tivoli area had been subdivided and sold as farmland in 1861-63, and the observant purchasers went in for coal mining. Houses and communities formed around the irregular subdivisions and mining areas. A congregational church was opened in 1875 and the primary school in Mount Crosby Road was opened six years later. The church hall was used as a school room for children and adults (night classes), and had over 100 pupils by 1877. The church hall, in Church Street, has had continuous use.
Whilst many houses were built for workmen, mine owners built close to their work sites. Next to the school in Mount Crosby Road the family of John Wright, proprietor of the Eclipse mine, built three houses on large allotments. The grandest, 'Oaklands' is the central one; all have spacious gardens and are listed on the Queensland heritage register.
On the other side of Mount Crosby Road, the Abermain Colliery (1880s) was a large operation with a spur line from the Tivoli railway and several coke ovens. After lying idle for several years the site was used for sewerage treatment. It adjoins a sports complex and the Ipswich Caravan Village. A short distance south there is the Abermain electricity substation which was enlarged in 2009.
In another direction, a tramway was opened from the Tivoli mines to the pumping station at the Mount Crosby weir, transporting coal from 1913 until about 1932.
In January 2011 the Tivoli Creek in the west of the suburb overflowed, spreading over built-up areas near Tivoli Hill Road. Flooding extended upstream to Greasley Street.
In 2006 the census population of Tivoli was 1552.