It was named after Mount Stapylton (152 m), which was named by surveyor Robert Dixon after his assistant, Granville Stapylton, in 1840. Mount Stapylton, also known by the Aboriginal 'Joongavin' and as 'Yellowwood Hill', is north of the end of Yellowwood Road. It is enclosed on three sides by a quarry and overhead there is a power transmission line. (Yellowwood is the common name for the furniture-timber tree, Flindersia xanthoxyla.)

Stapylton railway station was the first one after Beenleigh on the South Coast line (1889) and there was a State primary school c1915-60. The farming community grew sugar, arrowroot and other crops and ran cows for dairying.

With the opening of the Pacific Motorway the Yatala district became a warehouse and light-industrial hub for south-east Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Apart from the inevitable transport service centre and take-away restaurant on the motorway, Stapylton has an industrial park, Aldi, Harvey Norman, three quarries and the Yatala twin drive-in. There is also the Ecomemorial Park crematorium.

Stapylton's census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation
192130
196158
2006506
2011445