Zillmere, a post World War II suburb, is 14 km north of central Brisbane. It was named in 1888 after Zilman Waterholes, a watercourse flowing eastwards and joining the Nundah Creek in Banyo.
Johann Leopold Zillmann (1812-92) was one of several German Lutheran missionaries who established an Aboriginal mission at Zion Hill, Nundah (near the old Nundah cemetary) in 1838. Zillmann was a blacksmith and trainee missionary. By 1848 the mission's activities were reduced as Aboriginal populations were dispersed further from Brisbane and several missioners went further afield. Zillmann remained, becoming in time a well respected colonist and (by 1870) an official agent for German migration to Queensland. His name, shortened to Zilman, was given to the watercourse which crossed the Sandgate Road, five km north of Zion Hill.
In 1853 farm lots adjacent to Zilman waterholes were sold, and in the 1870s the early signs of permanent settlement became evident: a German Baptist church (1871), a provisional school at Church and Zillmere Roads and a Lutheran church (1875) in Church Road. The Zilman Waterholes School, in addition to the earlier provisional one, was opened in 1877.
Several changes came in 1888 when the north coast railway was opened. The name was changed to Zillmere, a post office was opened, a new school was built in Murphy Road and Zillmere's first bacon factory was opened. Eight years later Hutton's bacon factory, west of the railway station, was opened, in time becoming a landmark and Zillmere's largest employer. (John C. Hutton, 1845-86, expanded nationally from a bacon-curing factory started in Preston, Victoria, in 1872.) Hutton's was largely a self-contained establishment with on-site engineering staff and electricity generation.
In 1897 the Post Office directory recorded Zillmere's inhabitants as consisting of farmers (some of whom probably also had employment at Huttons), a station master, a school master and the bacon factory.
Zillmere remained a rural and industrial locality with its landmark factory until after World War II. In the early 1950s it was the first of several new areas to have prefabricated Housing Commission houses, and by the mid 1970s its residential development was substantially complete.
There are Catholic primary schools on its northern and southern boundaries (1954, 1963), an indication of the nearly complete replacement of industrial land use with residential living. A shopping centre and a public hall are near the railway station. Zillmere's census populations have been:
Kath Ballard, Geebung story, Geebung, K. Ballard, 1995
Kath Ballard, Geebung story - the next fifty years, Geebung, K. Ballard, 1998