In the 2011 census, the population of Zillmere was 8,105, 51.2% female and 48.8% male. The median age of the Zillmere population was 34 years, 3 years below the Australian median. 67.1% of people living in Zillmere were born in Australia, compared to the national average of 69.8%; the next most common countries of birth were New Zealand 4.8%, India 3.3%, England 2.8%, Philippines 1.7%, Italy 0.7%. 77.5% of people spoke only English at home; the next most common languages were 1.4% Punjabi, 1.1% Samoan, 0.9% Tagalog, 0.8% Karen, 0.8% Cantonese.
The Turrbal Aborigines occupied the region north of Brisbane River, including the area covered by Zillmere.
With European settlement, the area came to be known as Zillman’s Waterholes, named after Johann Leopold Zillmann (1813–1892), a pioneering Lutheran missionary who served at the mission station nearby at Nundah. In January 1872, the Brisbane Courier described Zillman’s Waterholes as being situated between Cabbage Tree Creek and Downfall Creek. It was settled with twenty-seven small farmers residing on the land. At the time there were “two chapels, a brickyard and pottery”. The settlers grew pineapples, pigs and other small crops. After the North Coast Railway Line was extended to Petrie in 1888, the railway station servicing the area was named Zillmere. By the time the first housing estate was marketed in 1897, the area was also being called Zillmere. A slaughterhouse and curing works was established in 1898 by to slaughter and process pigs from regional farms.
During the 1950s, the Housing Commission reclaimed farmland to construct prefabricated houses imported from France. This established Zillmere as a suburban centre. Migrant barracks near Church Road were used to resettle post-war European immigrants until they were destroyed by fire in the mid 1950s.
Today Zillmere is approximately 60% residential and 40% industrial. In recent years parts of its shopping district have been updated as part of the Brisbane City Council’s urban renewal project.
The Zillmere Public Library opened its doors in 1971.
The word Zillmere can be broken into two parts Zill and mere. The first part of the conjugation is the first part of Zillmann meaning Sail maker in old German dialects. Spelling variations of this family name include: Zyll, Zyl, Zeil, Ziel, Zyller, Zyllmann, Zillmann, Zylhoffer. The word mere is recorded in Old English, corresponding to Old Saxon meri, Old Low Franconian *meri (Dutch meer), Old High German mari / meri (German Meer), Goth. mari-, marei, Old Norse marr (Swedish mar-, French mare). They derive from reconstituted Germanic *mari, itself from Indo-European *mori, the same root as marsh and moor. The Indo-European root gave also birth to similar words in the other European languages : Latin mare ‘sea’ (Italian mar”, French mer), Old Celtic *mori ‘sea’ (Gaulish mori-, more, Irish muir, Welsh môr, Breton mor), Old Slavic morje. Therefore, Zillmere is the conjugation for Zillman’s Waterholes, which were in turn named after early German pioneer Leopold Zillman.
Zillmere has a busy local shopping centre on the east side of the railway line adjacent to the railway station. The centre includes a Superpharm IGA, newsagent, 7/11, Domino’s Pizza, pharmacy, bakery, tailor, key cutting shop and veterinary surgery.
Educational institutions located in Zillmere are:
(a) Government schools –
- Zillmere State School (primary school) – Located on Murphy Road opened in 1877.
- Zillmere North State School (primary school) – Located on Handford Road is now known as Taigum State School.
(b) Private schools –
- St Flannan’s Parish Catholic School
Churches located in Zillmere are:
- Assemblies of God.
- Churches of Christ – The first Churches of Christ in Queensland was established at Zillman’s Waterholes in 1882.
- Christ Ministries International Church CMIC.
- Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (U.A.I.C.C)
Health facilities and public transport options are located in Zillmere.
Sport and culture
Zillmere hosts the Zillmere Multicultural Festival (known as Zillfest). This is an annual event showcasing performing arts, crafts, delicacies and traditions of local cultural groups. There is a program of performers demonstrating traditional dances and an ‘open mike’ session for local talent.
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- Ballard, Kath (1995), Geebong story – Being the history of Geebung and including the Zillman’s Waterholes, Sandgate, Downfall Creek, Deadman’s Gully, Cabbage Tree Creek, Happy Valley and Virginia from early settlement to the end of World War I, Kath Ballard (Geebung, Queensland), ISBN 978-0-646-26046-4
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