Cannon Hill was named after the Weedon family home 'Cannon Hill House'. Built in 1867, the house, which had extensive grounds and a maze, burnt down in 1927. Cannon Hill was still mainly bush, with a few settlers growing crops or bananas until the 1880s. In 1881, the Queensport Freezing and Food Export Company produced the first frozen meat. This began Cannon Hill's change from rural and residential to an area focussed on grazing and the meat industry. Officially, most of the meat working was in the suburbs of Morningside or Murarrie, but Cannon Hill supported and is identified with the meat industry. In 1889, the train line came to Cannon Hill, but the area was still mainly bush for another twenty years. One waved a red flag to tell the driver to stop.
Gradually semi-rural Cannon Hill came to be seen as the meatworkers' area. More workers came with the new meatworks. In 1931 the saleyards opened and many stockmen and their families moved into the area.
During the Depression itinerant workers lived in a settlement on the corner of Creek and Richmond roads, with huts made out of flattened kerosene tins.