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Underwood is named after early settler William Underwood, who was a land holder in the Eight Mile Plains district from 1865. He established the Commercial Hotel on his land to the north of the Beenleigh Road intersection. The Commercial Hotel operated from the early 1870s until 1895, when it burnt down. Underwood had moved in the 1880s, to manage the Mount Gravatt Hotel.

During the late 1890s, Underwood's sons William Junior and Walter were horse dealers in Eight Mile Plains, and his son Arthur was a storekeeper and blacksmith in the Mount Gravatt area. Walter Underwood lived on the corner of Underwood and Logan Roads until the late 1930s and was involved in farming and timber getting.

Underwood was gazetted as a suburb in 1975 and at that time straddled the boundaries of Brisbane City and Albert Shire. Today, Underwood is bounded by Millers Road, Underwood Road, the South East Freeway, Logan Road and roughly Compton Road. The western part was developed with a large mail centre and a Big W shopping centre, which was built in the 1970s.

Other facilities in Underwood include Homemakers shopping on the Pacific Motorway, the Logan Aquatic Centre and Underwood shopping centre on the suburb’s southern boundary at Compton Road, as well as residential estates.