Northgate is located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) north of the Brisbane CBD. The land area comprises industrial and residential areas. Inter war homes can be found on Northgate Hill—elevated land that rises west of the railway station; and post World War II real estate on "the flat"—the large arc of flat land that extends to Moreton Bay at Nudgee Beach with most of the housing stock being post-WWII.
The suburb's railway station was originally called North Coast Junction, as it was the junction where the North Coast railway line branched from the Sandgate railway line (later the Shorncliffe railway line). In 1890, the Queensland Railways Department renamed the station Northgate, being a coined word combining North from North Coast and gate from Sandgate.  The suburb is named after the railway station.
The Northgate-Virginia School of Arts was opened on 20 January 1922 by Matthew Nathan, the Queensland Governor. It consisted of a public hall and a library. It was taken over the Brisbane City Council circa 1960 and became the Northgate-Virginia Municipal Library and held over 10,000 books. It ceased to be a library and returned to its former role as a public hall under the name Northgate Hall.
In February 1949 it was announced that the name of the new railway station on the Sandgate line built to service the cannery would be Bindha, an Aboriginal word meaning food.
On 8 April 1951 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, James Duhig, laid the foundation stone for St John's School on the corner of Nudgee Road and Fraser Road ( ). The school opened on 29 January 1952 and was operated by the Presentation Sisters. Declining enrolments caused the school to close at the end of 1995 school year.
St John's Catholic Church was built beside St John's School. Archbishop Duhig laid the foundation stone on 13 May 1962. The completed church was opened on Sunday 5 August 1962 by Archbishop Patrick O'Donnell who dedicated the church as a war memorial for the Royal Australian Navy.
The median age of the Northgate population was 34 years of age, 3 years below the Australian median. Children under 15 years made up 16.9% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 9.6% of the population.
72.1% of people living in Northgate were born in Australia, compared to the national average of 69.8%; the next most common countries of birth were New Zealand 4.8%, England 3.1%, India 3%, Philippines 1.1%, China 1.1%.
82.9% of people spoke only English at home; the next most popular languages were 2% Punjabi, 0.8% Hindi, 0.7% Cantonese, 0.7% Mandarin, 0.6% Tagalog.
Northgate is located in the state seat of Nudgee. Other suburbs in the seat are Virginia, Toombul, Nundah, Nudgee and Banyo.
Northgate railway station is the junction for the Shorncliffe and North Coast Lines ( ), with frequent services to the City, Shorncliffe and Caboolture and interurban services to Nambour/Gympie. Northgate train station is the branching point were both Shorncliffe and Caboolture trains can be caught, meaning that a lot of express trains stop at Northgate, for passengers making a switch between branches. Brisbane Transport also operates the "306" bus service through this suburb. The railway station was the limit of train service until the line was extended to Sandgate in the late 1880s.
In the 2011 census, 22.6% of employed people traveled to work on public transport and 53.2% by car (either as driver or as passenger).
Northgate State School is a government primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 128 Amelia Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 258 students with 25 teachers (16 full-time equivalent) and 17 non-teaching staff (10 full-time equivalent). Although within the suburb of Northgate, it sits on the boundary with Nundah and is accessed via Amelia Street in Nundah. Virginia State School in Virginia and Nundah State School in Nundah also serve students in the north and west of Northgate respectively.).
St John's Catholic Church is at 688 Nudgee Road () within the Mother of Mercy parish.
Northgate holds the Golden Circle processing plant, which is on Earnshaw Road ( ). Golden Circle is 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long and occupies 16.5 hectares (41 acres) with its factories processing all the Golden Circle foods which are found in stores all around Australia. The Golden Circle factory contained a cafe for visitors to come to, and sample the tastes of Golden Circle, the cafe and factory outlet is now closed as there is one on the southside, in Capalaba.
- Steven Bradbury - 2002 winter Olympic gold medal winner.
- Australian singers The Bee Gees were students at Northgate State School. They lived then at Cribb Island which was later demolished to build the Brisbane Airport runway.
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