Auchenflower Toowong

Compiled by Lee Bull for TDHS

During the convict era the Brisbane settlement extended as far west as Boundary Creek, while the area beyond was home to the Jagera and Turrbul people.

However as more pastoralists and timber getters moved into the region the land was surveyed and the area was soon characterized by large farms with stately homes on hilltops. Chemist Ambrose Eldridge built Milton House in 1854 and the area west of Brisbane became loosely known as Milton. Further along River Road, Robert Cribb built Dunmore House and nearby was John Markwell’s 52 acre property Moorlands Villa, which was later purchased by the Mayne family. Other property owners included Randall MacDonnell, inspector of schools who built Rathdonnell House in the 1860s and Arnold Weinholt whose Weinholt estate was part of the family’s large holdings of grazing land.

By 1875 the railway line was constructed with stops at Milton, Toowong and Indooroopilly. As more people moved to the area, the large estates were broken up. The Markwells sold the western section of their property to John Ward, who built a grand colonial home on Milton Road. This property was bought by Thomas McIlwraith in 1880 and renamed Auchenflower. Meaning ‘field of flowers,’ the name reminded McIlwraith of his uncle’s Ayrshire estate in Scotland.

Sir Thomas McIlwraith was three times premier of Queensland and he refurbished and extended the house, which became the hub of Brisbane society in the latter part of the nineteenth century. With the premier living at Auchenflower, a whistlestop train station was added to service the local needs.

Immigration in the 1880s caused Brisbane’s population to expand rapidly. As the demand for land increased gradually more estates were subdivided into 16, 20 and 23 perch allotments and sold to working class families. In 1887, Torwood was broken into 161 blocks; in 1899 Robert Cribb’s Dunmore Estate was subdivided into 461 blocks; and in 1903 Auchenflower Estate was divided into 98 allotments. With a surge in building, a tram line was laid along Milton Road in 1904 to service this growing community.

Although these estates were divided into small allotments with a commuter suburb in mind, people frequently purchased several blocks, thus enabling them to build large federation style homes with room for stables and kitchen gardens, along with poultry, goats and the essential house cow. Hence the mix between small cottages and grand homes at the turn of the century, as the subdivisions continued.

A century later the pressure for land in the western suburbs continues at an unprecedented rate as the federation homes and cottages are rapidly giving way to units. Dunmore Terrace where Robert Cribb once lived is now dotted with high rise apartments and a section of Auchenflower House has been relocated to Tambourine, where it currently forms part of the Albert River Winery.


John Pearn, ‘Auchenflower:  the Suburb and the Name’ Amphion Press, 1997
Trove: The Brisbane Courier 21 Feb 1931 p19 ‘Historic Auchenflower’
“Historic Auchenflower: A Pleasing Landscape.” Article in the Brisbane courier, Sat 21 Feb 1931.

Auchenflower – Key dates

1876 – Brisbane ironmonger, John Ward, acquires land near the present Auchenflower railway station and builds a substantial house.

1880  – John Ward’s house was sold to Thomas McIlwraith, Queensland Premier (1879-83) who named it Auchenflower after the McIlwraith family estate in Ayrshire, Scotland.

1887 – Auchenflower’s station opened in 1887

1892 – Moorlands House (now Heritage protected) was constructed for the Mayne family, designed by architect Richard Gailey and replaced an earlier timber structure that was known as Moorlands Villa

1903 – Auchenflower Estate subdivision offered for sale

1904  – the opening of the electric tram line along Milton Road

1904-5 – Drysllwyn (later Raymont Lodge) is built in Cadell St, Auchenflower, a homestead for Welshman William Davies esq. a gold mining magnate

1905 – Randall MacDonnell built Rathdonnell  house in Rathdonnell Street, Auchenflower.

1911 – Rathdonnell Estate, Auchenflower, (including Rathdonnell House) offers 84 allotments of land for sale on Milton Road, Wienholt Street, Irving Street (now Bangalla Street), Heussler Terrace (now Birdwood Terrace and Haig Road) and an unnamed road (Rathdonnell Street).

1913 – Auchenflower Presbyterian Church established in stables of Rathdonnell House in Weinholt st (1913). This later became the church Hall

1920 –  “Drysllwyn Estate” made up of 37 allotments was advertised to be auctioned

1922 – Auchenflower Infants’ Provisional School opened on 30 January 1922. It closed in 1960.

1923 – St Alban the Martyr Anglican Church, Milton Road was dedicated by Archbishop Gerald Sharp on 18 November 1923.

1927 – Auchenflower House was acquired for a Carmelite Monastery in 1927

1957 – The Chinese community, which once had market gardens in the suburb’s lower lying areas, established a Chinese Club in 1957, but it closed in 1982.

1986 – From 1975 to 1986, Auchenflower was officially a neighbourhood with the suburb of Toowong, but obtained independent suburb status on 16 November 1986.


John Pearn, ‘Auchenflower:  the Suburb and the Name’ Amphion Press, 1997
Auchenflower, Queensland Place Names Search, Queensland government, web, 16 Sep 2021,
“Auchenflower – suburb in City of Brisbane (entry 49850)”. Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 16 Sep 2021,
“Item ID2627737, Queensland Place Names Act 1981 – Approval of Place Name. – Mr W.H Glasson”. Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 16 Sep 2021,
“St Alban’s Anglican Church Milton Road, Auchenflower”. Organ Historical Trust of Australia. January 2017, web, retrieved 16 Sep 2021,
Auchenflower”. Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland, web, 16 Sep 2021,
“Advertising” The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947) 6 May 1920: 12. Web. 16 Sep 2021 <>.