Oxley, a residential suburb, is 11 km south-west of central Brisbane. It lies immediately west of the Oxley and Blunder Creeks, and its northern border is the Brisbane River, opposite Fig Tree Pocket. The suburb is named after the Oxley Creek which was encountered by New South Wales Surveyor-General, John Oxley, in December 1823. Oxley named it Canoe Creek, but two years later Edmund Lockyer charted the Brisbane River and described the tributary as Oxleys Creek.
In 1851 the Oxley district was held under lease by Thomas Boyland and the area was known as Boyland's Pocket. His leasehold was subdivided for small farms in the early 1860s. There were a hotel, racecourse and post office by 1862, and non-denominational and Presbyterian churches by 1867. Many of the farmers grew sugar cane, and in 1869 a cane crushing plant, the 'Walrus' floating sugar mill and a distillery were operating on Oxley Creek. Farming diversified into dairying and bacon processing in the 1870s.
Oxley primary school (1870) signified the growth of the local farming community, but it was the opening of the railway, linking Brisbane and Ipswich in 1876, that provided a nucleus for a township. Oxley had two areas of settlement, Ipswich Road with the hotel, police station and nearby school, and the station where new houses tended to be built.
The Duporth 'ladies' school moved from Brisbane to Oxley in 1888, taking an attractive rural site that would be used as an Ursuline convent between 1924 and 1957 and the Canossa Hospital (1965). On Oxley's south-west border Brittains brickworks began operation, stamping its industrial footprint on neighbouring Darra.
Away from the small settlement areas, Oxley was rural. A hunt club (1884) was active, ploughing matches were held and a sailing club (1902) operated near the wharf at the end of Fort Street. There was also a Church of England half way between the station and Ipswich Road.
By the early 1920s the Oxley district's population approached 1000. A progress association hall (1924) and a new Church of England (1928) were built, and the Oxley golf club was formed in 1929. During the 1930s a Methodist church was built and the Progress Association and Oddfellows had halls in Station Road. Foggitt and Jones bacon factory between the golf club and the Oxley Creek also handled dairy produce, and local poultry farmers supplied eggs to metropolitan Brisbane. The progress association (1917) was active well into the postwar years, erecting the hall (1924) and agitating for the swimming pool, ambulance station (1961) and bowling club (1967).
During the late 1950s Oxley's urban growth began. The fire station was opened in 1955, and Oxley high school (1966-2000) was built, its entry frontages facing Blackheath Road. Next door Canossa Home for the Aged opened in 1965. A large reserve at the corner of Ipswich Road and Rudd Street was put aside for police purposes in 1911, much of it as a spelling paddock for police horses. The southern part was lent for the Sherwood Rifle Club (1915) and the Oxley Golf Club (1928), and golf became its permanent use. The northern part became the Queensland Police Academy. East of the Academy there is the old Oxley Township, with shops, the hotel, war memorial (1920) and school. The memorial is listed on the Queensland heritage register. Oxley Shopping centre, south of the railway station, was refurbished in 2003.
In the early 2000s there was residential development in the older part of Oxley, near the railway station and the adjacent shopping area. There are bulky goods stores around the intersection of Blunder Road and the Ipswich Motorway.
In the extreme south of Oxley there is the Blunder Road Shopping centre.
Much of the eastern side of Oxley was flooded by Oxley Creek in January 2011, covering an area only a shade smaller than in 1893. A lot of it was open space, but built-up areas west of Oxley Road were also flooded. Water also penetrated west along the linear park west of Oxley Station Road and south-west from the Oxley bowls club to Douglas Street. Oxley was also invaded by the Brisbane River, opposite Fig Tree Pocket.
Oxley's census populations have been:
Lona Grantham, Heritage tour: an historical tour of Oxley, Sherwood, Oxley-Chelmer History Group, 2003
Sherwood District Centenary Celebrations 1867-1967: a record of events and the history and growth of the Sherwood District during the past 100 years, Sherwood, Sherwood District Weekly, 1967
Ralph Fones, Oxley! A mind of its own: a history of a suburb with attitude 1850-1950, Brisbane, Oxley-Chelmer History Group, 2006