The tree typically grows to a height of 25 metres (82 ft) but can get as high as 35 metres (115 ft). It has persistent, red-brown or brown-black coloured bark that is shortly-fibrous or stingy in texture. The green, glossy and discolorous adult leaves have a disjunct arrangement. The leaf blade is lanceolate in shape with a length of 10 to 14 centimetres (3.9 to 5.5 in) and a width of 1 to 2.5 cm (0.39 to 0.98 in). When the tree blooms it produced inflorescences with seven flowered umbellasters on narrowly flattened or angular peduncles. The buds have a pyriform or clavate shape and are 6 to 8 mm (0.24 to 0.31 in) long and have a diamter of 3 to 4 mm (0.12 to 0.16 in). Globose or urceolate, wrinkled fruits form later that are 8 to 14 mm (0.31 to 0.55 in) in length with a diameter of 10 to 15 mm (0.39 to 0.59 in) with a depressed disc and rim-level or exserted valves.
The species was first formally described by the botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in 1878 as part of the work Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae. The species name baileyana honours F.M.Bailey, who collected a type specimen from near Moreton Bay in 1878.
It is often found on hills, ridges and coastal lowlands as part of dry sclerophyll forest or woodland communities growing in nutrient poor, shallow sandy soils over sandstone. In New South Wales it is found along the coast north from Coffs Harbour and across the border into Queensland in a narrow belt that is usually less than 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the coast. It extends as far north as Brisbane with a sporadic distribution further north to around the Blackdown Tableland. Species commonly associated with the tree include Eucalyptus planchoniana, Eucalyptus cloeziana, Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus gummifera and Eucalyptus intermedia.
- K.Hill. "New South Wales Flora Online: Eucalyptus baileyana". Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia.
- "Eucalyptus baileyana F.Muell". Atlas of Living Australia. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Douglas Boland; Maurice William McDonald (2006). Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO publishing. ISBN 9780643069695.