Yeronga, a residential suburb with a long shoreline on the Brisbane River, is five km south of central Brisbane. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word, 'yerongpa', describing a sandy place.
Farming began at Yeronga in the late 1840s, as there was a considerable stretch of undulating land adjoining the river, especially the area back from the Brisbane Corso and north-east to Fairfield. Maize, arrowroot and potatoes were important crops. Riverside estates were established after land sales in 1854. A primary school was opened in 1867, followed by an infants school (1871-1978). On Ipswich Road, Yeronga Park was proclaimed as a recreation reserve in 1882.
The journalist and parliamentarian, Charles Buzacott built his country residence, Yerong-lea, in 1883, and from that time Yeronga changed to a semi-rural/residential district. The railway line to Ipswich (1884) and a post office (1886) signified the change. In 1889 the resplendent Rhyndarra was built for William Williams, facing Long Pocket across the river from the south of Yeronga. Financial failure resulted in Williams' property being acquired for a Salvation Army girls' home in 1897, and later (1942) it was an Army hospital. Rhyndarra is on the Australian heritage register. Farming continued, and two vignerons, Alstenberg and Camastral, were recorded in the post office directory in 1904.
Urban development proceeded during the 1900s-10s: a tennis club was opened in Yeronga Park in 1909, and a bowling club was formed in 1912, members meeting at first in the Yeronga Hall in Fairfield Road. In 1915 the Ipswich Road tram was extended to Yeronga Park. The park became a local showpiece, with an avenue of honour (1917), war memorial gates and a mausoleum (1921). The northern part of the park was a showground, taken in 1960 as the site for the Yeronga high school. In 1942 the park was temporarily taken for a US military camp, coinciding with Rhyndarra's conversion to a Women's Army hospital.
A shopping centre grew in Fairfield Road in the vicinity of Devon and Cowper Streets, including the Ideal Picture Theatre.
The flood-prone north of Yeronga, from Newcastle Street to the river baths and jetty at Orsova Road, was vacant space with a resting paddock for livestock and shallow watercourses passing through today's Goodwin and Leythan Parks. Development of this area was sparse, with a large parcel of land remaining in 1952 for Taubman's paint factory in Hyde Road. The elevated parts of Yeronga, however, were sought after and have substantial interwar and early post war housing. The Wanganui reception centre, overlooking the river at Orlando Road, was a popular rendezvous, having opened in 1949.
St Sebastian's Catholic primary school in Kadumba Street opened in 1937, and State secondary education arrived in the 1960s with the high school (1960) and technical school (1967), later a TAFE. A swimming pool was also opened in Yeronga Park in the 1960s.
All of Yeronga Park is listed on the Queensland heritage register. In addition to Rhyndarra, there are three houses in Kadumba Street that are heritage-listed, Astolat (c1890), Como (1889) and the Mills house (c1914) at number 107.
By the early 2000s Yeronga was recognised as a riverside real estate 'hot spot', not entirely surprising with half of its borders facing water. The once derelict northern edge along Brisbane Corso was much admired, although gated La Corniche at Paragon Street took the prize for first place. A new drive-in shopping centre, Yeronga Village, was opened in 2002, immediately north of Devon Street at Fairfield Road.
Most of riverside Yeronga was flooded in January 2011, and the Brisbane River also invaded Yeronga through the parks adjacent to the Corso. Peripheral houses were flooded. A serious inundation entered from Long Pocket Reach, reaching Orari Road. Its extent was as bad as in 1893.
Yeronga's census populations have been:
Rosslyn Gillespie, Boggo, Yeronga and beyond: leaving footprints, making pathways: Yeronga State School - the story of 125 years: a school, a community and a locality, Yeronga, Yeronga State School Parents and Citizens' Association, 1996
Annie McKenzie, Memories along the Boggo Track, Brisbane, Boolarong, 1992
Bronwyn Price, Yeronga heritage tour, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane History Group, 1996