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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Indooroopilly & District Historical Society May Meeting

5 for 5.30pm Wednesday 29 May 2019 at the Meeting Room, Indooroopilly Library, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Indooroopilly. This month will be a general discussion meeting, bring along anything from your school days. All welcome

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Book Launch – Toowong and District Historical Society

9.30am Friday 24 May 2019 at 31 Terrace Street, Toowong. T&DHS invite you to the launch of Volume 5 of the Memories of the Toowong Community Toowong a time to reflect and the opportunity to meet the author Leigh Chamberlain.

The book is dedicated to the late Judith Marks who for many years provided the morning tea for the Society’s monthly meetings. The Marks family have a long association with Toowong and Judith contributed much to the Society’s research of the local area. The family have arranged for the launch to be held at her former home, and are generously continuing Judith’s tradition of providing the refreshments.

Retiring Federal Member Jane Prentice will launch the book.

For further details and booking (required by 21 May) please refer to the attached flyer

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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, and further out at Cecil Plains on the Darling Downs. The Street family home was on North Quay.

His merchandising skills, developed in New York, were put to an immediate test.  The fledgling Colony was struggling with not only the vagaries of nature but also the world wide ‘credit squeeze’ arising largely from the policies of UK banks in their international dealings. His fellow Queen Street traders had the added burden of still being in the process of recovery from the devastating 1864 fire which burnt many of them out.

As with a number of his contemporaries Charles was eventually forced into insolvency, and whilst he eventually paid off his creditors, it was necessary to reinvent himself, initially as a ‘co-operative’ and later as a mining and land agent.

Historian and author Janet Spillman’s paper Charles Street, a shopkeeper of nineteenth century Brisbane formed the basis for her joint presentation with Ron Hamer and Andrew Darbyshire to the November 2018 meeting of the Indooroopilly & District Historical Society.

This paper should be read in conjunction with Ron Hamer’s Dreams, Hopes and Burnt Fingers which follows the subdivision process of one of the blocks of land Charles Street was forced to forfeit,  Portion 683, Parish of Indooroopilly, County of Stanley

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Back to Richlands State School

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Toowong History Group May Meeting

7pm Wednesday 15 May 2019 at the Toowong Community Centre, Josling Street, Toowong. This month Janet Spillman will be talking about her new book The Army behind the Army that fights. This tells the story of the desert campaign of 1916 to 1919 through the eyes of the ANZAC engineers of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF).

How did the army move thousands of men and horses across the desert ? What was the role of these troopers as the EEF advanced on Beersheba ? How did the sappers manage the threat of malaria during the sweltering summer of 1918 when the Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted Brigade held the Jordan Valley against Ottoman attack ? How did the engineers support a highly mobile army as it swept north through Palestine to victory in Sydney ? Janet will give an insight into these achievements.

All welcome. For further details contact marilyn.england@bigpond.com


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Brisbane’s Customs House

Customs House c1889
SLQ Image No APO-040-0001-0003

5.30pm 15 May 2019 at the River Room, Customs House, Queen Street, Brisbane. During the evening multi-disciplinary design practice Conrad & Gargett, co-sponsors of this Heritage Festival event, will share their insights on:

  • The value of heritage buildings as key cultural places and venues for a city
  • The original vision for Customs House reuse and how this has evolved and changed over time
  • The importance of commercial success for investing in the building’s ongoing care and longevity
  • The value of a long term commitment to conservation and renewal as the building’s uses and requirements change

This is a free event, follow this link to Eventbrite for booking (by 12 May) and further details

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House Histories 18 May 2019

Not deterred by the calling of the Federal Election, the Brisbane History Group have adjusted the timing of their 18 May event to enable attendees to still cast their vote. Registration commences at 8.45am with the proceedings anticipated to be done and dusted by 2pm. Venue courtesy the State Library of Queensland.

An expert panel of speakers will guide attendees through the resources available to research the history of your house. Refer attached flyer, bookings close 10 May 2019.


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