Capalaba is bordered by Tingalpa Creek. This creek and surrounds were well known to Aboriginal people for thousands of years. The name Tingalpa probably comes from the Tangul plant, which Aboriginal people used to stupefy fish before they caught them.
- by Mary Howells
Where does the name Capalaba come from?
The name Capalaba is thought to come from the Yugarabul language and to mean ring tailed or scrub possum.
What happened in Capalaba after the settlers arrived?
The first settlers began to arrive in Capalaba in the early 1850s. Most were farmers who wanted to set up their own farms. Others were timber-getters who came for the many huge trees in the area, while others set up timber mills.
Capalaba was also important as the gateway to other parts of the Redlands, especially Cleveland. Overland travellers went through Capalaba to reach Cleveland because it was easier to cross Tingalpa Creek at Capalaba.
The first crossing was a ford over a rocky area of the Creek just north of the current Tingalpa Creek Bridge. The ford was called ‘The Rocks’. It was dangerous and could only be crossed at low tide.
The first bridge was built across Tingalpa Creek at Capalaba in 1874 and this led to further development in Capalaba. A hotel was built a few years later and this became the centre of activity.
Besides serving as the gateway to other parts of the Redlands, Capalaba was a farming settlement. Most people who lived in Capalaba worked the land - rearing cattle, pigs and poultry, and growing some crops.
As the population grew, the need for schools, shops, churches and other facilities also grew.
The first school in Capalaba was built about 1874 but this did not last long. The current Capalaba State School opened in 1880. Like other centres, many community events took place at the school. In 1934, the Capalaba School of Arts Hall was built. This became the main venue for community activities.
After World War II, people moved to Capalaba because land was cheap and it was quite close to Brisbane. In 1968, the Leslie Harrison Dam was built on Tingalpa Creek and for the next few decades, Capalaba became one of the fastest growing parts of the Redlands as more and more people moved to the area. The farms slowly disappeared as houses were built. Capalaba grew into the commercial centre it is today.
When was it?
- The first settlers arrived in Capalaba in the 1850s
- The first bridge over Tingalpa Creek was built in 1874
- The Capalaba State School opened in 1880. An earlier school had operated before then
- Capalaba’s first shopping centre, the small shopping strip opposite John Fredericks Park, opened in 1969. Before this, there were many small shops but no shopping centre
- Capalaba State High School opened in 1978. There were 200 students
- Capalaba Park Shopping Centre opened in 1981
- The Capalaba Tower shopping strip next to John Fredericks Park opened in 1984
- St Luke’s School on Degen Road opened in 1989
- Capalaba Central Shopping Centre opened in 1994
- The Capalaba Town Centre opened in 1996, with a library, community centre and Redland Shire Council customer service centre