Hello and welcome

Brisbane History West is a collaborative resource set up to provide an internet presence for the history groups in the inner south western suburbs that don’t have their own dedicated website.  Its purpose  is to supplement existing activities and encourage community awareness and participation in the study and recording of local history.

Each of the groups focus on specific geographical areas which jointly cover the present day suburbs of Chelmer, Corinda, Graceville, Indooroopilly, Oxley, St Lucia, Sherwood and Taringa. Arbitrary boundaries aside, with some subtle variations the area shares a common history.

If you are unfamiliar with the blog format this Home page has all the articles uploaded to date in chronological order. Each has been categorised so if you are looking to minimise scrolling click on the relevant Topic (right hand side margin for PC users). The articles are a mix of frequently asked questions, meeting notices, research notes and papers,  and general news items.

Please feel free to contact us if you are working on a project and are wondering how to share your research effort, contributions are welcome. The site is self-funded and supported by the participating groups and societies which rely solely on volunteer resources. The individual groups retain their independence.

The publication Brisbane Spreads West– A local history 1840 to 1901 is the combined work of a number of local groups and societies, drawing on their research of the history of the western and south western suburbs of Brisbane. It is available from the participating groups or from the State Library Book Shop

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Taringa History Group August Meeting


The scheduled presentation on local street naming will be given at our October Meeting

3pm Saturday 7 August 2021 at the Community Meeting Place, Josling Street, Toowong.  All welcome

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Oxley-Chelmer History Group August Meeting


9.30am Friday 6 August 2021 at the Sherwood-Indooroopilly RSL Sub-Branch, Clewley Street, Corinda. At each of our meetings we have a presentation and discussion on some aspect of the history of the suburbs of Oxley, Corinda, Sherwood, Graceville and Chelmer.

For further details please contact Marion on 3379 1967 or ochginc@gmail.com

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Indooroopilly & District Historical Society July Meeting

5 for 5.30pm Wednesday 14 July 2021 at the Meeting Room, Indooroopilly Library, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Indooroopilly. For further details contact indooroopillyDHS@gmail.com

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Brisbane History Group 24 July Seminar

Eternal Flame Anzac Square 1936 (BCC Brisbane Images B120 31393)

12.30pm Saturday 24 July 2021 – Anzac Square, the background to its original development and recent refurbishment

The first part of this seminar will look at the dealings between Queensland and the Commonwealth over the idea of a memorial in Brisbane to honour those Queenslanders who had fallen in the Great War, as well as the Queensland women’s war memorial and the battalion memorials in the crypt. Following afternoon tea the second part will discuss the recent renovations of the square to mark the centenary of the end of that war. The final presentation of the day will examine the South Brisbane City Council’s proposal for a memorial.

The event promises to be a most interesting adjunct to the BHG’s previous and forthcoming forays into war commemorations. This is one of the Brisbane History Group’s 2020 events which had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. Book early as seating may be limited due to prevailing Health Orders.

Refer to attached flyer for for further details and booking arrangements.

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Brisbane CBD/Valley 1950s snapshot


Interested in a mid 20th Century snapshot of businesses and buildings in the City and the Valley ? Brisbane City Archives has recently had the Malhstedts Brisbane fire maps digitised and they are available online through the Map room on Brisbane Images https://library-brisbane.ent.sirsidynix.net.au/client/en_AU/BrisbaneImages/?rm=MAHLSTEDT%E2%80%99S+BR0%7C%7C%7C1%7C%7C%7C1%7C%7C%7Ctrue (better quality than the above snip)

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St Lucia History Group May Meeting

1pm Saturday 1 May 2021 at the Toowong Community Meeting Place, Josling Street, Toowong. For further information contact Andrew Darbyshire slhgcoordinator@gmail.com

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Laurence and Mary West and West’s Furniture

The West’s Furniture showroom on Wickham Street, built in the early 1950s, was so striking the Duke of Edinburgh stopped the royal cavalcade as it passed for a closer look. Functional and eye catching it was constructed for Laurence and Mary West as a purpose built showroom to display their range of contemporary furniture.

Designed by family friend Karl Langer, it was open plan with an abundance of natural light, reflecting the evolving adoption of the ‘modern’ architectural movement. The ideal setting to showcase their array of imported, made under license, and in-house designed furniture. Continue reading

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1920s Goat Cart

Courtesy Bev Walker

Ready for the off, a young Sydney John McKenzie looks the part in the driver’s seat of this early 1920s sleek looking goat cart. The photograph is believed to have been taken at his parent’s home on Moggill Road, a couple of doors up from Rylatt Street.

Whilst racing was part of the scene, goats, often in conjunction with children, played an important role in the life of pioneers and early European settlers. Reference was made to The Indispensable Goat by Errol Beutel & Faye Schutt to see if this could have been a standard rig/set up, but it looks as though it may have been a one off. Nothing has emerged so far as to whether Sydney was involved in the sport or if this was simply a leisure time activity.

As the uncle he was named after, Sydney would be a casualty of war, dying in 1946 from injuries sustained in combat.


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St Lucia History Group Meeting Notes 2005 to 2020

Over the years members of the group have prepared a series of Papers and Research Notes on various aspects of the history of St Lucia. Many are works in progress with periodic minor amendments/supplements as additional information becomes available, which it inevitably does. The various topics have often been the focus of our meetings, however, not exclusively, with discussion covering a wide range of subjects.

Whilst formal Minutes have not been kept, the main points discussed have being recorded in the form of summary Meeting Notes. These are available in a readily accessible electronic format from 2005, and for ease of download are presented here in three separate volumes.

Volume One covers the period 2005 to 2011, Volume Two 2012 to 2016, and Volume Three 2017 to 2020. There is the option to browse, however, if you are looking for a particular topic or subject perhaps start with the Finding Aid. It is in two parts, a quick guide to the more significant topics (by meeting) and a more detailed Index, it covers all three volumes. Download and save a copy and you will be able to search using Adobe Reader’s ‘Find’ feature (microscope with three dots in the tools bar).

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Ironside State School 150th

This 1950s photograph of billy cart races in Baty Street arrived just too late to be included in the Ironside Sesquicentenary publication, but it is still possible for you to book for the Gala Dinner. Tickets available until Friday 12 February unless sold out, see below

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Brisbane History Group Book Release

For those who may have missed it in the 1990s a second edition of Brisbane: The Aboriginal Presence 1824 to 1860 has been released with some reworking and additional material. Purchase your copy from Brisbane History Group and you will be able to make a selection from our $5 books, refer current price list/offer attached for details. To obtain  your copy refer to the attached flyer or contact BHGBooks@optusnet.com.au

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My Early Schooling – Miss Shire’s Kindergarten, Indooroopilly

I started school at the age of three and a half in 1941 by attending a small kindergarten in a private house about 300m from where I lived. I walked there most days. The kindergarten was owned and run by a Miss Shire and her sister who was called ‘Ladybird’.

I can still see Miss Shire in my mind, a thin grey haired lady sitting in the middle of the class room directing us in our lessons. Even then she seemed ancient but she survived to be still playing the organ for at least Continue reading

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Oxley-Chelmer History Group Book Release

This new addition to the Oxley-Chelmer History Group list of publications is the story of the Oxley Ham and Bacon Factory. One of Brisbane’s pioneering and most successful and enduring businesses, it exported Queensland’s ‘clean and green’ farm produce around Australia, indeed around the world for nearly a century.

Started in 1894, the business struggled for some years before being purchased by a new company, Foggitt, Jones and Co Ltd in 1904. Their ‘Rex’ brand became a household name for quality pig, cooked meat and other preserved products throughout Australia, in Britain and parts of Asia. Over  time Foggitt, Jones worked closely with one of their competitors, JC Hutton, and eventually the companies joined forces.

The factory was situated on rural land at Blunder Road, Oxley, adjacent to a fresh water creek and not too far from the Oxley Station, for the receipt of pigs from the Lockyer Valley. It eventually closed in 1992, forced out by competition, failed take overs, recession and the floating of the Australian dollar. The site was redeveloped for residential purposes and is known as the Oxley Ridge Estate.

For further details ochginc@gmail.com

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Ironside State School Sesquicentenary 1870 to 2020

Ironside State School planned to mark its one hundred and fiftieth year of operation with a whole programme of events, however, the face to face celebrations had to be deferred, or cancelled, due to the precautions introduced to limit the spread of Covid19.

One of the P&C sponsored initiatives that did come to fruition was the preparation of a publication to celebrate the 150 milestone. The book was launched at a school gathering, on the same day as the 1995 time capsule was opened.

Other than a short introduction, outlining the history of the establishment of the school, the content is a collection of contributions from past students (and the odd teacher) who attended Ironside over the last ninety years. The response from the school community when requested to submit their recollections was amazing, and the editors were faced with challenges, mainly to do with space.

Many drawers and old albums were opened as part of the process, revealing school photographs from as early as 1906, and the stories provide an insight into the life of individuals, the school and the wider community over time.

The book is priced at $20 and is available from the school.

A current student ? Put your problem solving hat on and enter the competition below. Good luck – it took me a few attempts to reach a consistent answer !

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Indooroopilly Shoppingtown

Preceded by the overnight removal of houses this photograph from Underhill Avenue shows the bulldozers and graders busy shaping the site for the new Westfield Shoppingtown (Courtesy Dawn Dorman)

This July marks the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre and to mark the event the Indooroopilly & District Historical Society are looking to gather photographic images and memories of its early days.

If you would like to contribute to this project please contact us on IndooroopillyDHS@gmail.com

The following is an excerpt from the opening brochure:

Another World of Shopping Comfort

Truly, another world altogether – The ultimate in under-one–roof shopping. Indooroopilly Shoppingtown contains a superb balance of ‘comparison and convenience’ shopping. Major Department stores; the largest combined food and variety stores in Queensland, over 70 magnificent stores imaginatively combined in one excitingly different, air conditioned complex. The final word in modern shopping comfort … Another world … Altogether.

Shop now in another world; a gay world; a fun world … where shopping ceases to be a struggle, and becomes an entirely new experience … it’s happiness, being pampered, being cool, getting real shopping satisfaction ! Here, the best there is to be had is gathered together to tempt and delight you. Great stores that are already your friends ! A multitude of gay boutiques. A Roman fountain three stories high with colorfully floodlit falls and cascades ! A fountain as only the Romans could have made it … a liquid art form to fascinate the young and, delight the old


The first I knew that ‘Something Big was Happening’ at Indooroopilly was during a chat over the side fence with my neighbour.  She told me that ‘all the houses on the other side of the street, Musgrave Road, were to be removed so that shops could be built there.  I didn’t believe her.  Where would anyone get such a peculiar idea?  We already had shops at Indooroopilly, some in Station Road and some along Moggill Road.  I tried to imagine shops lining the opposite footpath with awnings across the footpath to the gutter – a whole line of them from Moggill Road to Belgrave Road.  We had no idea that the proposed ‘shops’ might be enclosed inside a large building.

Over the next year, we were frequently disturbed during the night as houses on wheels were transported down Musgrave and Station Roads.  It was sight worth waking up for, flashing lights, police cars, poles lifting overhead wires and an enormous house, or maybe half a house, floating down the middle of the road and disappearing up or down Moggill Road to who knows where.

(Margaret M, June 2020)

The engineer who was supervising the building of the shopping centre knew my dad and he asked him if he could find a use for the temporary site fencing after the construction work was completed. Dad said yes and that material became our yard fence which has served us well for fifty years.

(Phill C, June 2020)

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