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Local legend suggests that some early settlers asked a local Aboriginal man what his people called the eagles nesting near the mouth of the Albert River. He replied, ‘Eagle be Mothchya’ and the name stuck.
The southernmost area of Eagleby was part of the original survey for the town of Beenleigh. The area was never more than a wharfage location. When the main south coast road was altered to bypass this township in the mid-1860s, Eagleby’s fate was sealed and the area was not developed. The original survey, however, remained, and is shown today by Logan and Albert Streets and their cross roads.
Eagleby became a farming community established as part of the early German settlement of the region. It was originally known as Philadelphia. St John's Church, Philadelphia, was built in 1876. The old town subdivision for the area as part of Beenleigh was not used, and development occurred on the rural properties. The church located on Herses Road and the first mail office was established at Oppermann's farmhouse in July 1882.
Heinrich Phillip Oppermann operated a sugar mill in the 1880s. It was a co-operative arrangement amongst a group of 15 local German farmers, and was not registered as a company. The group formed in 1881, with each farmer holding about 10 acres of land. They agreed not to employ Kanaka (South Sea Islander) labour and successfully worked the farms using only family labour. Some of the partners in this venture included Wilhelm Pinnow, Fritz Severin, August Fischer, Christian Herse, Wilhelm Rose and Matis Krebs. Another co-operative mill, Rosevale, began operating in the mid-1880s, possibly as a breakaway group from the original co-operative. It was described as the companion mill to Oppermann’s and was managed by Matis Krebs and Albert Rose.
The 1887 flood had a devastating effect in Eagleby, as it did elsewhere. Most cane planted in Eagleby was washed away. New cane planted later in the year did not sprout because of drought. Oppermann's wharf and storage sheds washed away. The Tingalpa Divisional Board decided that Eagleby was a better option to replace the Alberton ferry. In the flood, the Alberton ferryman’s house, ferry approaches and wharf had all been destroyed. In December 1887, the Board lobbied the Beenleigh Divisional Board to establish a ferry between the Gramzow (Carbrook) reserve and Oppermann's.
By 1889, 100 acres of Eagleby land was under sugar and farmers had diversified into growing maize and fodder crops. Oppermann's also had a small dairy.
The Eagleby school was established in 1906, with a festival on 15 June to mark the occasion. The building was constructed by Mr Krebs of Beenleigh. He failed to follow the specifications and was barred from future building for the Department. Despite the initial construction problems, the opening day was a huge success. The school committee was congratulated on the fine building they had erected.
The Tingalpa Divisional Board appears to have inquired to the Marine Board about the legality of a ferry at Eagleby. In December 1908, the Marine Board replied that no applications had been made. By October 1911, Messr Krebs and Co., who operated the Rosevale sugar mill in Eagleby Road, sought permission to operate a ferry between their mill and Gramzow. Tingalpa Shire was concerned about whether the Loganholme ferry would remain viable if the new ferry started. But they requested a plan of the proposed sugar plantings and a formalised lease agreement. It would appear that this took some time. By December 1915, it was noted that the Loganholme ferry takings were up, even though cane wagons were no longer using it. This meant the Eagleby ferry was up and running, either officially or unofficially.
Steamer operators John Burke and Sons built a new wharf at the Mount Cotton wharf site at Gramzow (Carbrook) in September 1910. Krebs could have used this in his cross-river venture. There is no clear evidence of a formal arrangement with the local councils for a ferry at this location, but there is no doubt that it operated.
Krebs’ Rosevale mill appears to have ceased operation around 1918. The Eagleby Sugar Company, originally started by Oppermann, continued to operate and was run by Christian Herse in the 1910s. In 1933, the mill’s managers requested that a road be built in the Carbrook reserve leading to the Mt Cotton wharf. It seems there was ongoing use of the cross-river ferry at this time. Arthur Kruger recalled much river traffic to the sugar mill in the crushing seasons during the 1930s. The mill, which was located at the intersection of Wharf and Eagleby Roads, was visible from Kruger's house and the reserve. This mill survived until 1943.
Other cross-river traffic was of the religious and cultural kind. Families from Gramzow (Carbrook) crossed the river by boat to attend church in Eagleby. Children received religious instruction when preparing for special events like confirmation. Pastor Thiele taught the local children German language in the years leading up to World War II. Locals on both sides of the river were involved in the Eagleby brass band and the church choir.
Declining attendances at the Eagleby State school at 133 Eagleby Road saw it close in 1968. The building was purchased and used as a home. A new school, the Eagleby South State School, was built in 1978 and was officially opened by Russ Hinze on 29 July.
Urban development in Eagleby in the early 1980s led to a need for community services. The Eagleby Self Help Group formed in 1981 and became the Eagleby Community Association in September 1982. With the Albert Shire Council, the Association helped construct a scout den which opened in 1982. A swimming pool and community hall were completed in 1983. In partnership with the Playground and Recreation Association, the Eagleby Community Association helped establish the Olivers Sports Complex, which includes a cricket oval, Little Athletics oval, baseball diamond and netball court.
In 1982, construction began for the Twin Rivers Tavern. It opened in December 1983. In April 1984, the tavern was auctioned to cover the $4 million in debts incurred by its builder. It was bought by the Beenleigh Rum Distillery, but only so the Distillery could procure the liquor licence to use at Moran's Wharf on the Albert River. The tavern was auctioned again in March 1985 without a liquor licence. Later in 1985, it was marketed as the Twin Rivers Business Centre, for the warehousing, packaging or computer industries. The site was purchased by Driza-bone in mid-1987. Driza-bone transferred its manufacturing from Sydney and trained local machinists.
In 1986, a half-acre site to the south of Eagleby State school was set aside as a kindergarten and child care centre. In the same year, the Albert Shire Council approved construction of stage one of a children's playground, located behind the swimming pool in Bishop Street. The playground opened in time for the Christmas holidays and was operated by the Playground and Recreation Association of Queensland. A new primary school was needed for the region, and was built during 1987 and officially opened in 1988. Later that year, Coles opened a supermarket as part of a major shopping centre in Fryar Road.
In 1995, a new footbridge over the Pacific Motorway was constructed between Fryar Road and George Street. It replaced the old footbridge built in the late 1960s.
In 2003, land was set aside adjacent to the Olivers Sports Complex to establish the Eagleby Wetlands. Boardwalks and woodland tracks were built and developed tourism, recreational, educational and employment opportunities.