Sherwood, a residential suburb and former shire, is eight km south-west of central Brisbane. It borders the western side of Oxley Creek, a stream named by John Oxley in 1824 as Canoe Creek.
Oxley Creek, bordered by fertile flats, was an early farming locality when land sales began in the 1860s. All the area from Rocky Water Holes (Rocklea) to the Brisbane River at Wacol was known as West Oxley. Farming also spread along the Brisbane River, sugar cane being planted in 1869 and actively grown until frosts spoiled crops in the 1870s. Cotton was also grown and processed at a gin at Corinda.
The name Sherwood came to the fore when Sherwood primary school was opened in 1867. Before then it was the name of a farm. The Sherwood Presbyterian church and Orange Lodge Hall were opened in 1875, coinciding with the Ipswich to Brisbane Railway line running northwards to the Albert Bridge river crossing at Chelmer (then Oxley Point). There was a scattering of settlements around the railway stations, including a school (1870) and a court house (1874) at Oxley, further south. The Yeerongpilly division brought local government to Sherwood and Oxley in 1878.
The advent of the railway led to some farms being subdivided, but in 1890 Sherwood was still described as a farming community. In addition to the school and the railway station there were also Presbyterian and Episcopal churches, a post office (1875) and Bright's store (1879).
In 1890 the Sherwood Progress Association was formed and in the following year the Sherwood local government division was detached from Yeerongpilly. Its area of 20 sq miles extended westwards from the Oxley Creek along the south and east banks of the Brisbane River at Wacol, and generally north-west of Ipswich Road. Population was concentrated along the railway line from Oxley to the Albert Bridge; Darra was heavily timbered with little settlement.
In 1903 Sherwood was described in the Australian Handbook:
Reticulated water had been laid on in 1902.
Sherwood's population was nearly 1300 in 1921 and the Shire's was over 6600. Advancing urbanisation unexpectedly ran beside the formation of the Sherwood Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society (1921), from which show spectators could repair to Barney Cook's open-air picture show (also 1921) or to the river baths. The Sherwood Forest Park (later an arboretum) running down to Brisbane River was laid out in 1925, the year when Sherwood Shire was incorporated into the Greater Brisbane Council. The arboretum is listed on the Queensland heritage register, along with a Boer War memorial further east along Sherwood Road near the entry to a Church of England cemetery.
Sherwood has local shops in Sherwood Road, several churches and a primary school. It is a mature, sought-after suburb with a high proportion of colonial and Queenslander houses. The most desirable streets are near the Brisbane River, a noted example being Dewar Terrace.
On its western side, Sherwood arboretum park was flooded by the Brisbane River. More damaging, Oxley Creek penetrated Sherwood’s eastern side as far as the intersection of Oxley and Sherwood Roads.
In 2001 the median age of Sherwood's population was 34, the same as metropolitan Brisbane's. Its median weekly income per person was higher, $476 compared with $416. Sherwood's census populations have been:
Brisbane centenary official historical souvenir, Brisbane, Brisbane Centenary Celebrations Committee, 1925
Ralph Fones, Sherwood-Corinda walkabout, Corinda, Oxley-Chelmer History Group, 2004
Ralph Fones, Sherwood ... council and community: a history of the Sherwood Shire Council, Corinda, Oxley-Chelmer History Group, 1999