McDowall is notable for the Raven Street Reserve, which is a 24.3 hectare bushland area surrounded by urban housing and busy roads. It is part of a long stretch of forest and green areas going from the mountains in the west to the mangrove areas on the coast.
It has many species of wildflowers and grass trees (see image below) which when in flower have a long central flowering stem that attracts bees.
Trees include weeping myrtle and native blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus) with creek fauna such as water dragons (Physignathus lesueurii), turtles and native fish including the crimson spotted rainbow fish. There are also squirrel gliders, possums and scrub turkeys with occasionally a swamp wallaby being sighted. The bird life is abundant and in keeping with its name has a significant crow or raven population.
McDowall State School, which opened in January 1975, was named before the suburb itself. It was named in honour of Colonel John McDowall, who was a distinguished early-settler of the area. As the population grew, the Brisbane City Council considered naming the suburb Annand after Colonel Frederick Annand. This was disapproved of by local residents, who wanted the suburb to be named after the newly opened school. The name "McDowall" was therefore accepted for the area by the Place Names Board of Queensland in 1975.
The bushland was protected by Greenbelt designation in 1950s when the local area was subdivided, and has been managed by council since 1972.
McDowall's earliest housing establishments were built through the 1970s and very few houses in McDowall were built before then. More housing was later built in the 1980s and early 1990s, whereas defence housing was later developed during the early 21st century.
All of McDowall's residential developments are in close proximity to either one of McDowall's two community-based shopping centres. The North-West Plaza is located on the southern end of McDowall and is anchored by a Woolworths supermarket. McDowall Village shopping centre is located on the northern end of McDowall and is anchored by Drakes Supermarket. Major shopping centres that are local to McDowall include Brookside Shopping Centre, and Westfield Chermside.
Schools that serve the McDowall area include McDowall State School, Craigslea State School, Craigslea State High School, Northside Christian College and the Queen of Apostles Chuter St campus. A number of bus services also travel through the area going to local shopping centres such as Chermside, Aspley, and Brisbane City.
Many of the roadways in McDowall are themed to commemorate noted celebrities and pioneers in the film and television industry, both locally and abroad. Dr. Valentine McDowall Park acknowledges the pioneering work in radio and television broadcasting in Queensland during the period 1920 - 1940.
The median age of the Mcdowall population was 38 years of age, 1 year above the Australian median.
78.5% of people living in Mcdowall were born in Australia, compared to the national average of 69.8%; the next most common countries of birth were England 3.3%, New Zealand 2.6%, South Africa 1.5%, Italy 1.3%, India 1.1%.
87.1% of people spoke only English at home; the next most common languages were 2.9% Italian, 1.3% Cantonese, 1% Mandarin, 0.5% Greek, 0.4% Hindi.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "McDowall (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "McDowall Ward". Brisbane City Council. Brisbane City Council. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
- "McDowall - suburb (entry 44256)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "McDowall (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 January 2016.