Acacia Ridge, a residential and industrial suburb, is 13 km south of central Brisbane. It is positioned either side of Beaudesert Road, which runs southwards along the suburb's predominant ridge line. The name came about from the ridge line and its most common vegetation, the acacia or wattle trees.
Acacia Ridge was originally part of Cowpers (Coopers) Plains, which extended from Oxley Creek to Logan. The Acacia Ridge primary school (1869) was known as Coopers Plains between 1873 and 1956, after which it regained its original name. The school, which opened with an enrolment of 26 pupils, was near Oxley Creek, some way west of the South Coast railway line (1885). The farm lands running further west to Blunder Creek were considered to be in Acacia Ridge, or in part of the district known as 'the Blunder'.
Farming was mixed, and included dairying, poultry and market gardens. Pugh's Post Office directory (1918) recorded a post office (1898), a fuel depot, a butcher, several timber cutters and a sawmill. Thirty years later Acacia Ridge was still rural: pig and poultry farmers (70), fuel depots, baker, blacksmith and two storekeepers.
The Queensland Housing Commission began constructing estates in the suburb in the early 1950s, in some cases using imported Swedish houses. Industrialisation followed, General Motors Holden beginning work on a vehicle-assembly plant in 1964 in the north of the suburb near the railway line. Lysaght opened a steel building-products factory nearby in 1968. By 1966 the primary school had over 1250 pupils.
Acacia Market Place shopping centre opened in 1966, but by this time housing and industry were already moving southwards. The Elizabeth Street shopping centre, Beaudesert Road, and the Watson Road primary school (1967) are in the southern part. New suburbs were named and detached from Acacia Ridge in 1971 - Willawong, Pallara, Larapinta and Heathwood, all west of Oxley Creek. On the east of the creek Algester was detached and named in 1972.
In addition to the State primary schools there are a Catholic primary school (1954) and the Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community School (1986). State secondary education was rather short lived. The high school (1971) merged with neighbouring Salisbury (renamed Nyanda in 1998), and the site was taken by Acacia Ridge primary.
Acacia Ridge's proximity to the interstate railway line was augmented with transmission and marshalling yards attached to the industrial estates east of the railway during the early 1980s. In 1991 the rail freight facility was relocated from Roma Street to Acacia Ridge to facilitate the increasing mechanisation of freight handing. Diversification into warehousing and non-manufacturing began in the 1990s. Colgate Palmolive's factory was sold, and Acacia Business Park (strata title showroom/warehouse complex) was built in 1990. By 2000 most new industries were classified as 'light, quiet industries', although with plenty of transport activity to rail, Archerfield airport and the Gateway and Pacific Motorways. Traffic congestion, however, left Acacia Ridge inferior to sites such as Yatala adjacent to major road transport routes, but enhancement of existing rail links improved the suburbs's economic prospects.
The Oxley Creek flood plain on Acacia Ridge’s western side was extensively flooded in January 2011, but most built-up areas were missed. A notable exception not missed was part of the industrial area south of the Archerfield airport.
Acacia Ridge's census populations have been:
Acacia Ridge and Coopers Plains: a local history, Coopers Plains Ward Bicentennial Committee, 1988
The Courier-Mail, 6 December 2002, p 40
Pamela Baker, A short history of Acacia Ridge Post Office, Public Relations Office, Australia Post, Brisbane, 1981