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The township of Waterford was surveyed in 1866, but was not initially named. A police barracks was established at that time. The name of Waterford did not come into common use until 1868.
Logan River residents lobbied for a bridge across the river, but the funding was not forthcoming. By 1875, tenders were called for the supply of timber for a bridge at Waterford. The Waterford bridge was completed in August 1876.
The Logan Reserve school was a long way from Waterford, and a local school was needed. The first Waterford school was set up in Charles Wilson’s barn in 1869 and a new primary school was established in 1871.
Local government was introduced in 1880, with the formation of the Waterford Divisional Board (later known as the shire council). Initial meetings were held in the Waterford Arms Hotel, and then in a storeroom opposite the Royal Hotel in Beenleigh. The Waterford Divisional Board shared premises and a clerk with the Beenleigh Division for many years.
In 1906, new boundaries were gazetted for the Waterford Shire to include some of the former Yeerongpilly Shire to the west. Chairman Martin Schneider then lobbied for independent premises for the council. He donated land in Waterford and a small timber hall was built. The first meeting in the new hall was held in April 1908.
Railway transport came to the Logan with the construction of the first part of the South Coast line in 1885. In 1884, a rail bridge was constructed over the river at Loganlea. The worst flood ever recorded on the river occurred in January 1887, and the railway bridge was washed away. The Waterford Bridge survived, but six houses were washed away. Further major flooding occurred in April 1893, with the bridge suffering each time it had to endure a flood. By 1916, a new concrete bridge was built with steep sides, which was locally known as ‘the pig trough’.
In the 20th century, dairying became the region’s key industry, particularly after the opening of the Kingston Butter Factory in 1907. Cattle ticks were a problem and the locals installed a cattle dip in Waterford in 1905, between the bunya trees and the river.
Waterford experienced another major flood on Australia Day in 1947. The bridge washed away and the ferry was re-introduced while the new bridge was planned and constructed. Fortunately for the local council, the Kingston–Beenleigh Road had been declared a main road and the State Government paid for the new bridge. Despite local councillors lobbying the Main Roads Commissioner for a high-level bridge, this was not forthcoming, and a new low-level concrete bridge was constructed during 1953–54. The new bridge opened in July 1954.
The next major flood on the river occurred on Australia Day in 1974. Two houses were washed away, but the bridge survived. In 1996, a new high-level bridge was constructed.
Shire amalgamations in 1949 saw Waterford Shire incorporated into the Beaudesert Shire. In 1978, Logan Shire and Albert Shire were formed and Waterford was split in two, with the western part in Logan and the remainder in Albert (later Gold Coast).