The Toowong and District Historical Society encompasses the area of the original Toowong Town Council, namely, Toowong, Milton, Auchenflower and parts of Mt Coot-tha. If you have anything to share about these areas (eg photos, stories, family histories), we would love to hear from you.

Latest News

An invitation to attend our Christmas party…

You are invited to join our members at the TDHS’s next meeting on Friday, 27th November for the Toowong and District Historical Society’s Christmas party.
Among the activities planned for the morning’s entertainment is a screening of episode 3 of the feature film Norfolk Island: Kingston & Arthur Vale Historic Area. The film focuses upon the story of the Pitcairners and their arrival upon Norfolk Island at the invitation of Queen Victoria.
Also members and guests are asked to share reminiscences of their Christmas holidays, especially memories of:
• what they and their families did during the Christmas break
• a Christmas that they particularly remember
• or of a family holiday over the summer that they as a child particularly remember.
Show and tell: If you have photos to show please bring them along.
The TDHS’s Christmas break-up party will conclude the morning’s festivities.
Where: Toowong Library in the Meeting Room, top floor Toowong Village.
When: From 9.30 till 11.30am
The TDHS will reconvene on 22nd January 2016.

TDHS to host book launch on Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Toowong and District Historical Society is proudly hosting the launch of Prof. Peter Roennfeldt’s latest book, Madame Mallalieu: An inspiring musician and her legacy for Queensland on the above date.

You are invited to meet author Professor Peter Roennfeldt at the launch to be held at Toowong Library, third floor, Toowong Village on at 5.30 pm for 6.00 pm. All are welcome.
We also welcome special guest, Professor Kay Ferres of Griffith University, who will launch the book.
Madame Mallalieu lived in Benson Street and was a significant figure in Brisbane’s musical scene at the turn of the 19th Century. After her daughter’s death, Madame Mallalieu’s residence in Benson Street, Toowong was left to the QCWA and used as a hostel for Conservatorium students and later, as premises for The Hear and Say Centre.
Light refreshments provided by the Oxley Branch, CWA in association with our members will be served.

Book ordering arrangements:

Signed copies of Madame Mallalieu will be available at the launch at the special price of $35/copy to be picked up. Please contact Copyright Publishing to pre-order your book at:
GPO Box 2927 Brisbane 4001
Ph: 3229 6366 fax: 3229 8782
email: info@copyright.net.au
Website: http://www.copyright.net.au
If you cannot attend but wish to purchase, copies may be ordered through Copyright Publishing at $44.00 each (plus $5.00 postage). Please do not email Credit Card details


For catering purposes, an RSVP is essential. Please RSVP by Tuesday 22nd September 2015 to CopyRight Publishing:
Numbers are limited–please book early. Please phone, fax or post acceptance
If you are able to attend would you also advise the Society that you plan to do so.

Book award to TDHS member

Congratulations to TDHS member Lee Bull who has received a prestigious Queensland Family History Society award for her recently published family history titled When houses had names: A tribute to Isabel Mary Cribb of Dunmore at the Queensland Family History Book Awards presentation in June.
The book tells the story of Lee’s grandfather Robert Cribb, Junior, (1861-1916), his wife Margaret Eliza McNab (1868-1959) and their spinster daughter, Isabel Mary Cribb (1895-1991). The book also explores the stories of the rest of the 14 children born to Robert and Margaret Cribb.
Robert Cribb Jnr was the grandson of Robert Cribb, who purchased the first allotment of those offered for sale by the colonial government in the Toowong area just before Christmas in 1853. Because he was a carpenter, Lee’s grandfather was also known as ‘’Bob the Builder’’, and built numerous houses in the inner western suburbs. It is possible that he had constructed those houses in Holmes Street which have been mistakenly attributed by local folklore to his grandfather, Robert Cribb (known to all in in his time as ‘’Honest Bob” Cribb), although we may never be able to confirm this.
The elder Robert Cribb was called ‘’Bobby’’ Cribb by his family. He was the first to purchase land in Milton in 1852 at the first government land sales in the inner reach of the Western Suburbs, and also bought land in Toowong.
Congratulations to Lee, and well done! A lot of hard work went into reaching and writing the book.
Lee is our guest speaker at the members’ meeting on 28th August at 9.30 am till 11.30am at the Toowong Library, Toowong Village, Sherwood Rd, Toowong.

“More than tea and scones”: The story of the QCWA

Do you know what the goals and objectives of the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) are, and what valuable work this state-wide community organisation performs?

If not, you are invited to join our members at our July meeting on Friday, 24th July, 2015 for a presentation about the story of the QCWA. The meeting will be held at Toowong Library, top floor, Toowong Village from 9.30-11.30am. Please stay and join us afterwards for morning tea.

For inquiries and bookings please contact TDHS secretary T: 040 1180 092: E: tdhsoc@gmail.com

The Country Women’s Association of Australia (CWA) is the largest women’s organisation in Australia. Its aims are to improve the conditions for country women and children and to try to make life better for women and their families, especially those women living in rural and remote Australia. The organisation is self-funded, nonpartisan and non-sectarian.

The QCWA was formed in 1922 as a means of overcoming loneliness, and to improve everyday life for women and their families, especially in rural and remote areas.

Of course, from the time the CWA was formed, men could not resist having a good-natured dig at their member wives and daughters by teasingly referring to it as the “Chinwaggers Association”. Even the ladies themselves enjoyed a good laugh at their own expense and owned up to being ‘’a chinwagger’’. But despite the jokes, the menfolk were (and still are) extremely proud of the contribution that their wives, daughters, and mothers made to the local community. In times of economic hardship, disaster, drought, flood and war, the ladies of the CWA were prominent in their efforts to make a difference to the lives of others.

The tea and scones (and biscuits, lamingtons, and sponge cakes) churned out by the women were very welcome, especially at the CWA rooms which were built in rural communities and in country towns. These rooms included restrooms, usually adorned with fresh flowers, and were often the only facilities available in regional areas for women to use before local municipal authorities’ revenues stretched to provision of public toilets, breast feeding facilities, and a day bed for those women who were travelling long distances to access much needed medical facilities. The CWA rooms became community hubs for women, and were used for giving blood (in the times before mobile blood banks were established), and for vaccination clinics. Often the rooms featured a stall sold beautifully crafted handmade items as well as jams, preserves and to raise much needed funds.

During the depression years, the CWA helped those in need with food and clothing parcels. During World War II, the CWA provided meals for the troops at Quorn, South Australia and Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, their efforts being rated one of the best voluntary war time services in Australia. CWA members also made camouflage nets and knitted balaclavas and socks for the troops.

In 1992, the CWA of Australia was awarded the RSL Anzac Peace Prize in recognition of their outstanding effort in promoting international understanding and contributing to world peace in accordance with best traditions exemplified by the ANZAC spirit.

Today the QCWA is experiencing a growth in membership, and especially among younger women, and interest in membership is not limited to rural Queensland. Among the new branches recently opened are Chermside, Collinsville, Mt Colliery, Wynnum, Centenary region and Samford.

QCWA’s 93rd birthday will be celebrated on 11 August. This year, the ‘Not Just Tea and Scones’ celebrations will be very special in Brisbane because the City Council has agreed to light up the Story Bridge – BLUE – in QCWA’s honour. To celebrate and view the lights, State Office is organising a walk across the bridge and a drink or dinner at the other end. It’s just a casual fun event so you’ll need to pay for your own drinks and/or dinner. Please contact the QCWA State Secretary on 3026 1220 or secretary@qcwa.org.au to advise if you’d like to join the walk.

Madame Mallalieu and the QCWA Hostel for the Conservatorium of Music

As well as the above dates, TDHS is hosting a book launch and the part of the subject matter of the book relates to the story of the CWA’s activities.

So another date to mark on the calendar is Thursday 24th September when Professor Peter Roennfeldt’s latest publication, Madame Mallalieu: An Inspiring Musician and her Legacy for Queensland (CopyRight Publishing) will be launched.

The book traces not only the career and family history of one of Queensland’s most outstanding performers, but also the story of the house she built in Toowong, which later became the QCWA’s hostel Mallalieu Home. Later known by her second married name, Mrs Willmore was a pioneering concert artist, firstly as a pianist; and for two decades up to 1900 also as the colony’s most eminent female organist.

Where: BCC Toowong Library

Time: 5.30pm for 6.00pm start

All welcome. Wine, cheese and canapes will be served afterwards.

Bookings are essential: Contact TDHS secretary T: 040 1180 092: E: tdhsoc@gmail.com

The History of the Queensland Police Service

At our Members’ Meeting on 26th June 2015, we welcome Queensland Police Museum Curator Lisa Jones who will speak upon the Queensland Police Museum and the history of the Queensland Police Service.

All are welcome to the talk, and guests are invited to stay afterwards to join our members for morning tea.

Where: Toowong Library, top floor, Toowong Village.
When: Friday, 26th June, 2015 from 9.30-11.30am.
For inquiries please contact the Secretary, Toowong and District Historical Society Inc.

Here are some facts about Queensland’s fledgling police service.

Did you know that after the colony’s separation from New South Wales in 1859, the young police force was mainly concerned with patrolling the largest city, Brisbane?
Rural areas were still looked after by the NSW police. In 1863, a separate police act was endorsed and took effect on 1 January, 1864, and marked the beginning of an independent history for the Queensland Police Force.

The new colony was strapped for cash, and the deliveries of government services were consequently impacted. On 31 December 1864 the total ordinary Police Force of all ranks in the colony numbered 176 men, who were distributed around 28 stations. By 1865, the credit squeeze of 1862-65 eased, and during this year, 15 new stations were formed, with a consequent increase of the force

Four indigenous Troopers at the Mistake Creek Native Mounted Police Barracks 1880s.

by 38 Constables. Meanwhile, the overall population of the colony increased by 13,052 and was stretched over 22,331 square miles of new country.

Between 1864 and 1869 Queensland police occupied buildings in the City centre, and then in 1870 they moved into Victoria Barracks. In 1885 they moved next door into the old Brisbane Gaol buildings after the prisoners were moved to Boggo Road Gaol. One wing of the gaol was demolished while the second wing was converted into Police Barracks, later a second storey and verandah were added to this building.

From the Vault—the Early Days extracted from the Qld Police Museum webpage at:
THEN and NOW – Petrie Terrace Depot 1938 to 1972 extracted from the Qld Police Museum webpage at:

Can you help?

George_Rogers_Harding_thumbThe photograph on the left features George Rogers Harding IV, son of Judge Harding, standing outside a flooded house, presumably, although not necessarily, located in Brisbane’s inner western suburbs.

Click on the thumbnail for a larger image

A family history researcher has contacted our Society to request assistance with identifying the house and address and also asks for information about which flood it could be. It is before 1941.

Are you able to assist with information about the photo? If so, please contact the Society.

Congratulations to Melva


Melva A Welch OAM received a Special Mention Award at the Queensland Family History Book Awards presentation on June 11th at the Society’s AGM for her local municipal history book, Cradle to Grave – Toowong Council.

The book is a cameo record of the elected and appointed men who served Toowong’s local government from its 1880 formation until 1925 when the area became part of the Brisbane City Council under the Greater Brisbane Act.

Melva compiled Cradle to Grave – Toowong Council for the Toowong and District Historical Society and it was published in February, 2013. Many of the councillors’ descendents attended the book launch, which was hosted by the BCC Toowong Library. The book was launched by Denver Beanland, former local and then state government representative, as well as former Deputy Mayor of the City of Brisbane and former Queensland Attorney General.

After the formalities were completed, a large framed photograph of the Toowong Town Council 1915-16 was presented to the BCC Archives to be hung in Toowong BCC Library. Cr Peter Matic accepted the photograph on behalf of the BCC Archives.

The Queensland Family History Book Award Co-ordinator described the book as “a fine book with excellent presentation and an excellent index”.

President Paul Meyers said, “The Society is delighted that Melva’s scholarship has been thus recognised by her peers. It is well deserved. She has produced an excellent piece of work, and the details of genealogical and other historical facts have been meticulously researched. On behalf of the members, congratulations, Melva!”

Copies of Melva’s award winning publication can be ordered through on the Publications’ page.

Volunteers needed


  • typing
  • clipping newspapers
  • sorting materials for filing
  • scanning
  • library expertise to advise on aspects of cataloguing
  • writing, proofreading and editing.

Come along and join the working bee!

Call Mobile: 0401 180 092 if you would like further information.

If you are registered in a ‘Work for the Dole’ scheme, then please consider volunteering to assist the Toowong and District Historical Society Inc.