The suburb has some older style homes built in the post war period – weatherboard and chamferboard post war cottages in particular. Most of the new estates are made up of typically low set and high set brick and tile homes. Previously the land that is now being developed into residential zones was devoted to small farmlets and semi-industrial developments.
The recent developments, which occurred in the last five years, are increasing the population and the median house prices of the suburb.
The origin of Tingalpa's name is uncertain. It may be named after Tingalpa Creek, which lies 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east, or be derived from the Turrubal words tangul (meaning 'plant for stupefying fish') and pa (meaning 'place').
Tingalpa Creek was surveyed in 1841 and named Tingulpa, probably derived from an Aboriginal expression referring to a fat kangaroo.
In 1863, a township site was surveyed on the west side of Tingalpa Creek, where Old Cleveland Road crossed the creek. It was never built on and was known as Old Tingalpa. In 1943, this location was formally abolished. In 1860s a new site was settled called New Tingalpa, away to the north-west.
In 1867, a post office was opened. In the same year a local architect, Richard Suter designed the Gothic Anglican Christ Church, which was built in 1868. The church and burial ground located on , east of Bulimba Creek. Both the church and its burial ground are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.
The Royal Mail Hotel was licensed in 1870. This hotel is now named the Tingalpa Hotel.
Tingalpa Cemetery had its first burial in 1875. In 1913 it was renamed Hemmant Cemetery. Lawn cemeteries were added from 1952. In 2001 a crematorium opened at the cemetery. Despite the name change, as at 2020, it is within the boundaries of Tingalpa and not Hemmant ( ).
In 1880, a local government division was established for the Tingalpa area. The boundaries of this area were "south-east from the intersection of the Pacific Highway and the Mount Gravatt-Capalaba Road, crossing the Tingalpa Creek and ending at Redland Bay." The headquarters of the local government were located at Mount Cotton.
The Wynnum and Manly Road are where the above facilities are roughly located. In 1919, the diggers's war memorial was erected, making this location more prominent. In 1925, the west part of the Shire of Tingalpa become part of the Greater City of Brisbane. In 1949 the rest of the shire was joined with the Shire of Cleveland, becoming Shire of Redland (now City of Redland). In the 1949 Queensland Post Office Directory there were eight poultry farms and there are fewer dairymen. There was also two motor garages and the Pacific Cafe on Wynnum Road. In 1998, Christ Church, Tingalpa and its burial ground were listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.
By 1980 the population of Tingalpa had nearly tripled from 1400 people in 1954.
The 2011 census recorded 8,539 residents in Tingalpa, of whom 50.5% were female and 49.5% were male. The median age of the population was 35; 2 years younger than the Australian average. 72.1% of people living in Tingalpa were born in Australia, with the next most common countries of birth being New Zealand (6.9%), England (3.8%), the Philippines (1.4%), Fiji (0.9%), and India (0.8%). 84.5% of people spoke English as their first language, while the other most common responses were Hindi (1%), Greek (0.9%), Tagalog (0.7%), Cantonese (0.7%), and Spanish (0.6%).
Tingalpa has one primary school, Tingalpa State School, a government co-educational primary (P-6) school. In 2015, the school had an enrolment of 328 children with 26 teachers (22 full-time equivalent).
On the first of August 1870 the Board of Education received a letter from Mr. W. Wood, a local farmer in the Tingalpa shire about the necessity of having a school for the district. Funds were raised by the community to buy the original 2 acres and also to build a temporary school located at 1546 Wynnum Road.
On the 1 August 1873, the Tingalpa school was opened. Mr. Bernard McGouran was the first Head teacher. The school started with 50 pupils on the roll, by June 1874 there were 99 students. The primary reason for enrolling in the early years was to learn to speak English, as the most commonly use language was the local Aboriginal dialect.
Tingalpa features a large amount of parks and bushland. Well known Meadowlands Park and Minnippi Park are located less than four minutes drive from Tingalpa. Bulimba Creek passes through these parks on its way to the Brisbane River. Moreton Bay Sports Club is also located at Carmichael Park next to the creek. The venue hosts cricket and Brisbane Premier League matches with 2001 and 2010 grand final winners, and 2011 League Champions Wolves FC. Kianawah Park is the oldest park in the suburb and has extensive facilities.
Tingalpa has bike paths going through their parks and these are part of the extensive bike paths that are throughout Brisbane.
Tingalpa has two small local shopping centres: Twin Parks Shopping Centre located on Wynnum Road, Tingalpa - and one located on Belmont Road, Belmont. There are two large shopping centres within a 10-minute drive; Wynnum Plaza has Kmart, Coles, Woolworths, Dan Murphys, Fitness First and 59 Specialty stores whilst Carindale Shopping Centre features Myer, David Jones and a large selection of specialty shops. Both the Twin Parks and the Cannon Hill shopping centres are only basic centres.
In 2011, one of the first Masters Home Improvement retail outlets in Queensland opened in Tingalpa and was located at the intersection of Wynnym Road and New Cleveland Road up until its closure in December 2016.
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- Hatch, Patrick (24 August 2016). "Fire sale: Masters announces closing date". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 25 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.