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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Oxley-Chelmer History Group September Meeting

9.30am Friday 18 September 2020 at the Sherwood-Indooroopilly RSL Sub-Branch, Clewley Street, Corinda. This month we will have a few short talks, some of which relate to changes and events that have taken place in the last few months, or about historical information that has recently come to our notice.

The RSL have a Covidsafe Plan in operation with cleaning, hand sanitizing, registration on arrival and distancing in the meeting room. Under the plan seating is limited so please RSVP no later than Tuesday 15th.

Of course, if you have any symptoms, no matter how slight,  you should stay at home. Wearing of masks is at your discretion in the current restrictions, but encouraged.

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

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Local History Group Meetings

Please note that the regular schedule of face to face meetings of the Indooroopilly, Oxley-Chelmer, St Lucia and Taringa groups have been disrupted as a precaution against the spread of the Covid19 virus.

The situation is dynamic so please keep in contact with your local group to check if and when meetings may resume and if alternate arrangements are in place.

Time on your hands, why not browse the website or pen an article to share with our readers ?

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Taringa History Group August Meeting

3pm Saturday 1 August 2020 at the Community Meeting Place, Josling Street, Toowong.  This month we will have a general discussion on how members have coped with the lockdown and take a look at the development of what was the Taringa Rehabilitation Centre on Swann Road. Refer attached flyer

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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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Land Resumptions – UQ’s move to St Lucia

It was generally accepted that when the University of Queensland (UQ) was established in its first home at Gardens Point, based in the 1860s Government House, this was an interim arrangement. It didn’t take long for teaching space to become a problem and residential student accommodation was spread around the city. The Senate soon had their feelers out for a new site.

In the 1920s enter Dr James Mayne, who, at odds with his medical colleagues, believed the St Lucia Pocket would be an ideal location for the permanent site of the university campus. Walking the area from the family residence Moorlands at Toowong, he believed it would be preferable to the land offered by the Brisbane City Council at Victoria Park. Continue reading

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Serviceton/Inala Built Environment

View over Inala to the City (AD 2018)

The residential suburb we now know as Inala owes its beginnings to a group of  ex-servicemen who on return from the 1939-45 War set up a cooperative to purchase land and construct new homes for themselves. They were foresighted and engaged Hennessey and Hennessey, the Architects for the University of Queensland’s new campus at St Lucia, to develop a masterplan for their scheme. Stage One of Serviceton Garden City soon got underway with a relatively modest subdivision allowing the early shareholders to get on and build their houses.

Concurrently the state government established the Queensland Housing Commission, its sole purpose to relieve the post-war housing shortage. They instigated a number of initiatives throughout Brisbane and the State including house building for sale and rent, and temporary accommodation for home seekers and new arrivals.

When the Cooperative had financial difficulties the QHC stepped in and purchased their assets. They extended the land holding, let large house building contracts and developed a satellite town of 14,000 in around 10 years, maintaining some of the principles of the original concept.

Over the last couple of years Peter Brown has made a number of presentations to local groups on Inala, and in particular its built environment, his area of interest. His research is set out in these three volumes of Papers and Notes.

Volume One covers the development of the residential estate, an introduction to the naming of the  streets and the growth of retailing including the local shopping centres. Volume Two * covers the Civic Centre, Inala Plaza, the Civic Precinct and other commercial buildings. Volume Three focuses on community buildings, places of worship (the number might surprise you), and the change of the name from Serviceton to Inala.

* A large file – available in two parts on request

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Warner’s Road north of the river

Diagram illustrating the provision made for road reserves as part of the initial sub-division of the area that would become St Lucia. 22 lots would be offered for sale (‘Portion’ numbers shown)

There has often been discussion at St Lucia History Group meetings about the reported difficulties experienced by the early European settlers accessing Brisbane in the late 1850s/early 1860s. The requirement to deliver their produce to market in town by rowboat is well recorded and reflects on the state of early road making.

When the surveyors prepared the original sub-division plans for St Lucia they included for ‘Government’ roads. In reality these were merely identified road reserves. They were provided to enable free access to each of the lots offered for sale, without the need for easements,  and in addition, common access to the riverbank. The individual lots (Portions) were in the order of 40 acres each and dedicated roads were kept to a minimum, road reserves generated no income. Interestingly the first lot offered, which was purchased in 1852, is described as Portion 7 of the Parish of Indooroopilly. It had no nominated road access. Continue reading

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St Lucia Farm School- ‘The gate of opportunity is wide open to the boy who passes through St Lucia’

The St Lucia Farm School was established as one of the state government’s responses to the 1930s economic depression brought about by the world wide slump in trade. Post Federation Australia was still reliant on its major trading partner the UK (60% of trade) and when demand there for Australian goods plummeted thousands were thrown out of work. Up to 27% of the Queensland workforce was out of a job by 1932 and others were on part time.

The rapid rise in unemployment coincided with the election of the first ‘conservative’ government in Queensland for 14 years. The Labor party had held office since 1915 headed successively  by TJ Ryan, Ted Theodore, William Gilles and then William McCormack. They were elected on a platform of improving the lot of the working man and introduced a number of social reforms. Perhaps one of their most significant actions during this period  was the abolition of the Queensland Legislative Council, arising from their refusal to approve legislation assented by the lower house (some sources suggest up to 200 Bills and Regulations returned).

By 1929, however, the Labor governments appear to have run out of steam and AE Moore became Premier when the Country and Progressive National Party (relatively short lived coalition) won the election. Timing is everything Continue reading

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A Taringa Childhood

Mid 1950s view from the southern end of Manchester Terrace overlooking Moggill Road and its intersection with Musgrave Road. Today’s outlook from the same position is now dominated by the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre
(Walter Marggraf)

Much has changed in the neighbourhood Eric Marggraf grew up in in the 1930s and 40s.

In Wounded in the trenches Eric presents his early childhood memories of Taringa and beyond. Starting with the Manchester Terrace environs, the family home was No 62, his horizons gradually extended to include the Princess Street home of his paternal grandparents, and Taringa State School where he was enrolled in 1935. Then he got ‘wheels’ and his adventuring extended along Moggill Road, from Toowong to Brookfield, and over the Indooroopilly Bridge out to Chelmer and Graceville.

As with his description of the Victory Picture Theatre, Eric demonstrates his builder’s eye for detail and provides us with a snapshot of some of the characters and businesses operating in Taringa Village and beyond. From the early days of European settlement Taringa had been a commercial and social hub for the local community, and the seat of local government until 1925.

Eric’s contemporaries will recognise this glimpse into everyday life, many aspects typical of a Brisbane suburban upbringing of the times, a period when being home for meals and in before dark set your boundaries.

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Charles Street, a shopkeeper of nineteenth century Brisbane

View along Queen Street c1864
(State Library Queensland Neg 139497)

In 1865 Devon born Charles Street was 42 when he and his wife Elizabeth (nee Stanton) boarded the Flying Cloud  bound for Brisbane. He had spent the previous 20 years in America. Initially employed there as a clerk, by the time the 1860 US census was taken he had obviously prospered, his profession being described as ‘Merchant’.

He was a self-funded migrant, travelling saloon class, and on arrival was eligible for government land orders for himself, his wife and accompanying children. They had a comfortable passage and settled in Brisbane on arrival where he opened his drapery business in Queens Street. He used his land orders towards the purchase a number of large blocks of land at (what would become) Taringa and Indooroopilly, Continue reading

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Turtle Soup made in Oxley – really ?

Canning sausages at the Oxley Bacon Factory in 1942
(Oxley-Chelmer History Group, donated by Phil O’Brien)

Yes, made from giant turtles transported all the way from the Great Barrier Reef. Local livestock was used for the more mundane canned sausages, pigs trotters, and pork brawn.

For nearly a hundred years the Foggitt and Jones Oxley Bacon Factory on Blunder Road, or Hutton’s as it was known to baby-boomers, produced hams, bacon sides and a variety of canned products for the local, Australian and International market.

Now with historical records becoming more easily accessible the Oxley-Chelmer History Group has decided to update and supplement The History of the Oxley Meat Factory authored twenty years ago by group member Lona Grantham.

Can you help (no pun intended) ? We are particularly interested in memories of the factory, good or bad, for the period between the Second World War and when it closed in 1992. Also in any photographs or old newspaper cuttings you may have.

For further details or if you have something to share please contact us on  gonebush6@bigpond.com or ochginc@gmail.com and we will be in touch


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Scouting Heritage

The Queensland Branch of the Scouting Association of Australia has taken up the State Library’s ‘Community Heritage Digitisation Offer’ to scan and make available on line a number of their past monthly Scouting magazines. This initiative should be a boon to those interested in researching their local communities and the wider scout movement.

The Branch’s heritage resource centre is at Toowong, for further information contact heritage@scoutsqld.com.au

Link to back copies of the Queensland Scouter 1962 to 1966 – 60 magazines http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=slq_alma21105667380002061&context=L&vid=SLQ&search_scope=SLQ&tab=slq&lang=en_US

Link to back copies of the Totem from the first in March 1937 to 1961 – 270 magazines http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=slq_alma21105638680002061&context=L&vid=SLQ&search_scope=SLQ&tab=slq&lang=en_US

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Muscle Powered Vehicular Ferries

River ferries have long been a feature of the daily life of Brisbane. Prior to the construction of the first bridge connecting North and South Brisbane in the 1860s they were essential for both personal and commercial use. Even after this they proved an economical alternative for government and local authorities looking to avoid significant capital investment, yet still make provision for cross river pedestrian, four legged and vehicular traffic.

Small volume pedestrian traffic could be handled by conventional rowboat with the ferryman at the oars. A simple jetty with steps down to a landing was all that was required in terms of infrastructure. Ferries to carry vehicles, bulky goods and stock required a larger and Continue reading

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Indooroopilly Mining Heritage

Google Earth 3D projection of the mine site, now heavily treed
(Google Earth: Image Landsat/Copernicus)

The end of 2018 will mark the centenary of the accidental discovery of the Finney’s Hill silver-lead outcrop at Isles Road, Indooroopilly. Now, well timbered and largely hidden from view, few, other than a generation of UQ educated mining engineers realise that by the time of its closure in 1929, material extracted from the site yielded some 227,343 ounces of silver and 1,796 tons of lead.

The discovery was followed initially by open cut mining, and then by the sinking of shafts and underground tunnelling. The only remaining clue Continue reading

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Radio Station 4ZZZ – milestone anniversary

Early 1960s Aerial photograph of UQ, Union complex buildings centre foreground
(Courtesy CSIRO Cunningham Laboratory archive)

Google Earth 3D projection UQ
(Courtesy Google Earth: Landsat/Copernicus, CNES/Airbus 2018)

In December 2018 community radio station 4ZZZ will commemorate one of the important milestones in its over forty year history, its eviction on 14 December 1988 from its operational base at the University of Queensland by the student union executive.

4ZZZ began transmission in 1975 as the first stereo FM community broadcaster in Brisbane. It was established to provide an alternative to mainstream coverage, to develop skills and training in media related fields, and showcase Australian music. Announcer John Woods launched the station with The Who’s ‘Won’t get fooled again’ at midday on 8 December 1975.

The late 1960s and early 1970s were significant years in the development of many western democracies as student and community activists questioned and increasingly challenged the establishment. This was particularly so in Queensland which was governed by the ultra-conservative Bjelke Petersen administration. Repression of dissent was the order of the day.

It was in this environment that a group of ‘radicals’ conceived the idea of an independent radio station as an alternative to the printing press to disseminate their  interpretation of the news, and at the same time, tap into the fledgling youth music scene.

The election of the Whitlam Labor Government was timely, the proposed radio station would need a License to broadcast, and ZZZ applied for one of the twelve issued in August 1975. ZZZ had successfully lobbied for the FM licenses to be on the VHF waveband.

The station’s first studios, located in the basement of the extension to the Refectory in the Students Union complex at UQ, were built and fitted out by volunteers, using largely second-hand building materials and furniture. Operational funding was raised through donations, subscriptions and fund raising events.

The station became a fixture on campus for the next ten years, however, in the mid to late 1980s, with state politics in turmoil arising from the removal of the Premier from office, and perhaps as a back lash, a more conservative Student Union attempted to close them down by evicting them.

Although university students rallied in support the station was forced to moved to alternative premises on Coronation Drive, Toowong. In 1992 ZZZ obtained a loan to buy the former headquarters of the Communist Party of Australia on Barry Parade, Fortitude Valley from where it still broadcasts.

4ZZZ will mark the thirtieth anniversary of their eviction with an event at the Schonell Theatre on Saturday 15 December 2018. Long-term volunteer Andrew Bartlett will chair a panel of ZZZ personnel who were there at the time. Refer to attached flyer for details, contact 4ZZZ for tickets.

11 Dec 2018 – for a more detailed description of the early history including interviews with Jim Beatson, Louise Butt, Amanda Collinge, Michael Finucan, Helen Hambling, Anne Jones, John Stanwell, Steve Stockwell, Harley Stumm and Ross Wilson, watch the documentary on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOmd2XnoD9Q&feature=youtu.be&utm_source=james.crid.land&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=james.crid.land%3A2018-12-10

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