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In the days of the large grazing leases, Jimboomba was known as Gimboomba. Gimboomba is a Gugingin word (from the Indigenous people of the area, Yugambeh country) meaning ‘place of loud thunder and little rain’. The land in the region was taken up by Thomas Dowse in 1845. In 1848 it was transferred to Sydney publican Robert Rowlands. In 1851, it was transferred to Andrew Inglis Henderson and operated as a sheep run and later for cattle grazing. Jimboomba House was built around 1851 for the Henderson family. It served as a stage coach depot on the Casino mail route.

The first hotel in Jimboomba, the Norfolk Hotel, was established by Alex and Agnes Jennings in 1880. Steven Tudman took over the hotel in 1882, when Jennings moved to the Waterford Arms Hotel.

In May 1885, Henry Markwell applied for a licence for a hotel in Jimboomba, and built a new house for the purpose. However, in June 1885, Samuel Manning took over Tudman's hotel and renamed it the Traveller's Rest. Markwell withdrew his application. Manning maintained the licence in 1886, then moved to the Railway Hotel in 1888. All this activity in Jimboomba may have been related to the pegging out of the railway survey.

In 1885, the Beaudesert Railway was being pegged out and the siting of the line through Jimboomba ensured the prosperity of the area. The Jimboomba station became a place for timber getters to load timber. A sawmill had been established nearby in 1883, by C Smales.

In May 1890, the Jimboomba provisional school was established in a hall owned by the Presbyterian Church. Patrick Culligan from North Maclean was the first teacher. A local named Alex Harrison was appointed as teacher in 1892. In 1900, a new school building was constructed.

In 1899, another school was established in the Jimboomba Timber Reserve. It was known as Martindale and was relocated to Cedar Grove in 1923. The original site was in the vicinity of Gittins Road, to the south of the Flagstone Estate.

Following the destruction of the Waterford Bridge in the flood of 1947, Jimboomba residents feared their many requests for a high bridge would again be delayed while the rebuilding of Waterford Bridge was prioritised. Their efforts were finally rewarded in mid-1948, with the announcement of a new bridge 13 feet (almost 4 metres) higher than the previous one.

The area continued to grow slowly. A community hall was built in December 1953. The first significant shopping centre was built in 1984. Hills International College began construction in 1991, on the former property of Andrew Inglis Henderson. Emmaus College opened in 2002.