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The local Aboriginal people referred to the Tamborine area as Tchambreen, meaning 'yam on a cliff', or 'place of yams'. The original leasehold settler was Burton. Surveyor Robert Dixon took up a de-pasturing licence in 1843, and called it Burton Vale. He transferred the licence to H P Hicks, who called the property Tchambreen and let the licence lapse. Part of it was then taken up by Dugald Graham on behalf of Whitting and Co., and given the anglicised name of Tamborine. Graham later took up the land himself and re-named it Tabragalba, which means 'place were big nulla was found'. During the 1880s, Tamborine was home to the Delpratt family. J H Delpratt bred draught horses.

The Tamborine school opened in 1874 in the Catholic Chapel in Tamborine. It was instigated by Michael Yore and Thomas Plunkett. The chapel was located near the swamp on the Yore property, on the south bank of the Albert River. A cemetery was located nearby, and was subject to flooding. The cemetery remains in use today for the Catholic congregation of the district.

Both Yore and Plunkett had initially settled at Dairy Creek in the 1860s. In the early 1870s, Plunkett selected land on the Albert River and named his property Villa Marie in honour of his wife Maria Ryan. He opened the first store in the district around 1872. He was post master from 1874 and the post office was run by the family until at least 1900. Plunkett also had land at Beaudesert, which later became Boystown, and land on Tamborine Mountain which he never occupied. Further land was later taken by the Plunkett family in Plunkett Road.

In 1876, the school committee included Thomas Plunkett, Michael Massie, Michael Yore, James Henderson and Thomas Pownall. In 1883, Mr Leitzow was contracted to build a teacher's house, which was built on Portion 104 to the east of the school.

A hotel was established on Michael Yore’s property Spiddle, on the south bank of the Albert River. His son Andrew Thomas Yore later managed the property. The hotel was managed by John Ryan in 1879. No application for a licence renewal was received in 1880, but by 1882 William Walsh was running the Tamborine Hotel which remained in operation until at least 1900. Walsh originally owned 250 acres known as The Rocks farm on Chambers Flat, and later acquired more land at Tamborine. He eventually owned 2,000 acres in total, with the property known as Munstervale. Walsh occupied a seat on the Tabragalba Board for 25 years, was chairman of the Tamborine Divisional Board for 9 years, and was a member of the Tamborine Shire Council. For 35 years he was chairman of the local school committee and held one of the oldest Peace Commissions in Queensland.

Residents of the Tamborine region began lobbying the government for a rail connection in 1886, shortly after the Beenleigh line was completed. George Phillips surveyed a nine-mile route to Tamborine Village township, but the main expense of the project was a bridge over the Albert River. J W Lahey continued to lobby for the railway in 1888 because he wanted to open up timber reserves in the Canungra area. He eventually began construction of a private rail line from Canungra to the upper Coomera in 1901, via a tunnel under the Darlington Range.

In May 1910, an inspection of the proposed railway route was carried out by the Premier, The Honourable W Kidston, and government ministers. They had a non-stop trip to Logan Village and a quick lunch at the hotel, then a horse and buggy trip to Canungra organised by the Tamborine Shire Council. An improvised bridge allowed them to cross the Albert River. The party reached Canungra by nightfall and were accommodated in tents. The Tamborine Shire Council’s representative William Walsh, together with J W Lahey, argued for the economic importance of the line for both the timber and dairying industries.

Construction approval for the railway was given in 1911. The line was completed to Bromfleet in March 1915 and to Canungra by 2 July the same year. It was a freight line, with passenger trains running only on occasional Sunday 'excursions' to Canungra for up to 400 people. The Plunkett station was located on the north bank of the Albert River, within the current suburb of Yarrabilba. When the Commonwealth War Service Homes Department bought the Canungra mill from Lahey in 1920, the railway closed and, although the Standply Timber Company later took over, the line operated only spasmodically. Use of the line was limited by the quality of the track between Logan Village and Canungra and the strength of the bridge over the Albert River. By 1939, the service was reduced to two trains per week and many of the sidings were removed. The busiest traffic on the line was to and from the American Army Camp from 1942. The line was closed in 1955.

Tamborine school was closed in 1970 and the teacher's residence was relocated to Tamrookum. The school building was relocated to the Beaudesert Shire Council’s depot on Chambers Flat Road, now Logan City Council's Marsden Depot. The school was recently relocated back to Tamborine Village.