The first land owner in Kingston was James Trihey who selected land on what is now the Kingston Railway Station and Butter Factory site in 1868. Charles and Harriet Kingston moved to the area around 1872 after living at Tygum for about ten years where Charles had worked as an engineer at Henry Jordan's sugar mill. The Kingstons built a slab house called Oakwood on the hill which now overlooks Jacaranda Avenue. The first Post Office operated from this house from 1877 until the railway went through in 1885.

John and Emily Mayes selected land in 1873 immediately to the north of Kingston's land. John Mayes built a slab hut which remains today in the grounds of the second home of the Mayes family, Pleasant Place, also known as Mayes Cottage. Pleasant Place was built in 1887. Charles Kingston also built a new house in 1890 and it stands today in Collin Court, on the hill overlooking the railway station. Timber for both houses was milled at Schneider's mill at Waterford.

Timber getting was an important industry with the area to the north of Mayes' selection (north of Wembley Road) being designated a timber reserve initially. Once the land was cleared the Kingstons and the Mayes families involved themselves in farming, with the Kingstons specialising in grapes and wine, while the Mayes focussed on fruit crops, particularly mangoes.

The area was named Kingston after the railway went through and this was formalised by the Surveyor General in 1890. From the 1890s, Charles Kingston ran a metal and gravel quarry from land to the south of his original selection. The first store in the area was run by Mr Elridge from 1904. It was taken over by John and Mabel Cordingley in 1906. John Cordingley also operated a blacksmith forge alongside the shop.

Dairying grew in importance in the area from the 1890s and in 1906 a meeting was held in Beenleigh to form a co-operative butter factory locally. The Southern Queensland Co-operative Dairy Company opened its factory in Kingston in June 1907. A piggery was established nearby in 1926 and pigs were fed on the buttermilk from the factory. The Butter Factory was enlarged in 1932 and operated successfully until after the war, when the dairying industry was being rationalised by the government. Peters bought the factory in 1958 and it ceased production in 1983. It now operates as a community arts centre and houses a theatre, arts and crafts stall and museum.

The first community centre in Kingston was the School of Arts Hall which was built in 1915 and extended in 1926. The hall was used for dances, pictures and meetings of local, social and service groups. Kingston State School opened in 1912, on a hill opposite Gould Adams Park on Kingston Road.

The other major industrial activity of the area was the Kingston gold mine at Mount Taylor. Although gold was discovered in 1885, a geological survey was not undertaken until 1913 and underground mining began. In 1932, the Kingston Gold Mining Company began an open cut operation and mining continued until 1954. The area became an unofficial waste dump. It was eventually backfilled and subdivided into a housing estate in the late 1960s. The reaction between the cyanide which remained from the goldmining days and the unidentified materials dumped in the old shafts formed toxic sludge which oozed from the ground during the 1980s. Eventually the state government resumed 46 properties and rehabilitated the area in the late 1980s, which is now open space.

Kingston State School had outgrown its hillside location on Kingston Road, where the quarry is located. Land was allocated in August 1967 and the school relocated to Juers Road in August 1969. However enrolments continued to rise and by 1975 the school had one thousand two hundred and five students. This led to the construction of the Kingston Junior School in Laughlin Street in 1976 and new schools such as Berrinba East School and Kingston State High School, which both commenced in January 1977. Marsden State School opened in 1978, to relieve the pressure on Kingston, but had minimal effect.

The Kingston Discount Shopping Village opened in Kingston Road, opposite Wembley Road, on 18 October 1977. Jack the Slasher was a key tenant, along with Chandlers, Clark Rubber, Costless Imports, Carpet Call and Harpers Meats. Jack the Slasher then established its headquarters on Kingston Road near Scrubby Creek, in January 1978. In November 1978, the Station Square Shopping Centre opened on the corner of Mary and Station Streets.

Catholics in Kingston inherited the old St Munchin's church from Creek Road Carina in Christmas 1980. It was cut into three pieces for the relocation to Velorum Drive Kingston. Maryfields Catholic School in Velorum Drive Kingston began operating in 1981 with fifty-nine pupils in grades one, two and three. The school was built in four stages before its official opening by Archbishop Francis Rush in August 1987. Maryfields was closed at the end of the 2004 school year due to falling attendances.