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The first land owner in Kingston was James Trihey, who in 1869 selected land on what is now the Kingston Railway Station and Kingston Butter Factory site. Charles and Harriet Kingston moved to the area around 1872, after living at Tygum for about 10 years where Charles had worked as an engineer at Henry Jordan's sugar mill. The Kingstons built a slab house called Oakwood on the hill that now overlooks Jacaranda Avenue. The first post office operated from this house from 1877 until the railway went through in 1885. In 1890, Charles Kingston built a new house, and it stands today in Collin Court, on the hill overlooking the railway station.
In 1873, John and Emily Mayes selected land immediately to the north of Kingston's land. John Mayes built a slab hut that remains today in the grounds of Mayes Cottage. Mayes Cottage, originally known as Pleasant Place, was the Mayes’ family’s second home, built in 1887.
Timber for both Mayes’ and Kingston’s houses was milled at Schneider's mill at Waterford. Timber getting was an important industry in the area. The land to the north of Mayes' selection (north of Wembley Road) was initially designated as a timber reserve. Once the land was cleared, the Kingston and Mayes families took up farming, with the Kingstons specialising in grapes and wine, while the Mayes focussed on fruit, particularly mangoes.
The area was named Kingston after the railway went through and the name was formalised by the Surveyor General in 1890. From the 1890s, Charles Kingston ran a metal and gravel quarry from land to the south of his original selection. The first store in the area was run by Mr Elridge from 1904. It was taken over by John and Mabel Cordingley in 1906. John Cordingley also operated a blacksmith forge alongside the shop.
From the 1890s, dairying grew in importance in the area. In 1906, a meeting was held in Beenleigh to form a co-operative butter factory locally. The Southern Queensland Co-operative Dairy Company opened its factory in Kingston in June 1907. In 1926, a piggery was established nearby, and the pigs were fed on the buttermilk from the factory. The Kingston Butter Factory was enlarged in 1932 and operated successfully until after the war, when the dairying industry began to be rationalised by the government. Peters bought the factory in 1958 and it ceased production in 1983. It now operates as a community arts centre and houses a theatre, arts and crafts stall and museum.
The first community centre in Kingston was the School of Arts Hall, which was built in 1915 and extended in 1926. The hall was used for dances, films and meetings of local, social and service groups. Kingston State School opened in 1912, on a hill opposite Gould Adams Park on Kingston Road.
The other major industrial activity of the area was the Kingston gold mine at Mount Taylor. Although gold was discovered in 1885, a geological survey was not undertaken until 1913 and underground mining began. In 1932, the Kingston Gold Mining Company began an open-cut operation. Mining continued until 1954. When the mine closed, the area became an unofficial waste dump. It was eventually backfilled and subdivided into a housing estate in the late 1960s. In the 1980s, a reaction between the cyanide remaining from the gold-mining days and the unidentified materials dumped in the old shafts formed a toxic sludge that oozed from the ground. Eventually the state government resumed 46 properties and rehabilitated the area in the late 1980s, which is now open space.
Kingston State School outgrew its hillside location on Kingston Road, where the quarry is located. In August 1967, land was allocated on Juers Road for a new school, which opened August 1969. Enrolments rose rapidly and, by 1975, the school had 1,205 students. In 1976 the new Kingston Junior School opened in Laughlin Street. In January 1977, Berrinba East State School and Kingston State High School opened. Marsden State School opened in 1978.
On 18 October 1977, the Kingston Discount Shopping Village opened in Kingston Road, opposite Wembley Road. Jack the Slasher was a key tenant, along with Chandlers, Clark Rubber, Costless Imports, Carpet Call and Harpers Meats. In January 1978, Jack the Slasher established its headquarters on Kingston Road near Scrubby Creek. In November 1978, the Station Square Shopping Centre opened on the corner of Mary and Station Streets.
In December 1980, Catholics in Kingston inherited the old St Munchin's Church from Creek Road Carina. It was cut into three pieces for the relocation to Velorum Drive Kingston. Maryfields Catholic School in Velorum Drive opened in 1981, with 59 students in Years 1, 2 and 3. The school was built in four stages, and was officially opened by Archbishop Francis Rush in August 1987. Maryfields was closed at the end of the 2004 school year due to falling enrolments.