Initial development in Waterford West began around Tygum Lagoon. Arthur Pimm took up riverfront land there in 1862 with John Rafter taking up the remainder to the north of the lagoon. Pimm then engineered the relocation of the Waterford Ferry, which Samuel Waterman had established at the end of Tygum Road in 1862. Pimm closed off the road and then had a new road surveyed to cross the river at the current bridge site. Pimm then subdivided the estate, which he marketed as Pimlico in 1866. A police barracks was established at Waterford at that time also.
The township, we now know as Waterford, was surveyed in 1866, but did not have a name at that time. The name Waterford did not come into common usage until 1868. Pimm's attempts to sell the Pimlico Township were not successful and in 1869, Henry Jordan purchased the estate and renamed it Tygum. Jordan began construction of a sugar mill almost immediately. Sugar became a key industry in Logan for the next 20 years, and the first crushing at Tygum Mill was in September 1870. At that time, Jordan purchased Tygum Road and it was completely closed to traffic. It is likely that the Bunya trees marking the entrance to the estate were planted at this time.
Residents continually lobbied for a bridge over the river, which eventually opened in 1876. Jordan sold off most of his property in 1878; Tygum House was sold to William Arthy, the sugar mill was bought by the Lahey Brothers in 1879, and Jordan left the district. Local government was introduced in 1880. The worst ever flood recorded on the river was in 1887, and the newly constructed railway bridge at Loganlea was washed away. Further flooding occurred in 1893, and by 1916 a new concrete bridge was constructed to replace the original flood deteriorated Waterford Bridge. The early 20th century saw dairying become the key industry in the Logan district, particularly with the opening of the Kingston Butter Factory in 1907. Waterford suffered more major flooding on Australia Day in 1947, and the Waterford Bridge was washed away. Fortunately for the council, Kingston-Beenleigh Road had been declared a main road which meant the State Government had to pay for the new bridge. Co-incidentally, the next major flood on the river occurred on Australia Day 1974; the bridge this time survived, but was eventually replaced in 1996. In 1978 Logan and Albert Shires were formed and Waterford was split into two suburbs. Waterford West was gazetted as a suburb in 1987.