by Leigh Chamberlain
“Ardencraig” was the residence of FDG Stanley (1838-1897), acclaimed 19th century Queensland architect, and was situated on Church (now Jephson) Street, Toowong. Fashionable Stanley followed the fashion of those who were notable in Brisbane Society by installing a telescope, in common with Toowong resident and architect Richard Gailey who had done likewise at “Glenolive” in Brisbane Street, Toowong. (“Glenolive” is now removed and the property is subdivided to form Sandford Street). As well as being used to observe, record, and develop theories to explain weather phenomenon, if positioned advantageously on hilltops, telescopes could also be used to watch in the comfort of one’s home the sailing events held on the St Lucia and Milton Reaches of the Brisbane River. There were two “Ardencraigs”, actually, as the house Stanley had built burnt down, and was replaced by a second residence. Upon that house also suffering a fire in the 1960s the then owners, feeling that they did not wish to take on the worry of repairing the damage, sold the property. The damaged building was subsequently sold for removal, and was replaced by the unit block which still stands here today. TDHS has been in touch with the current owners of Ardencraig 2, and they assure TDHS that the damage was limited and fixable. The house was restored to its former glory, and is located outside Brisbane.



Image courtesy of Wikipedia

by Leigh Chamberlain

From the early 1860s West Toowong was initially known as the Broughton Estate, named in honour of Queensland politician Alfred Delves Broughton.

Alfred Delves Broughton’s career was initially as a stock and station agent and general merchant in Ipswich. Then he was appointed the police magistrate for Drayton and Toowoomba, which position he held from 1855 to 1860.

Prior to this, on 24th September 1851 a notice by E. Deas Thomson of the Colonial Secretary’s Office included in the New South Wales Government Gazette announced Broughton had been appointed by His Excellency the Governor-General to be Clerk to the Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands at Sofala.

Broughton was elected in the Queensland 1860 colonial election for the first Parliament of Queensland as a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly. The first elections after Separation from New South Wales in 1859 for the Queensland Legislative Assembly were held between 27th April and 11th May 1860 across 16 electorates, with 26 MLAs elected. The electoral districts of The Town of Ipswich and of West Moreton were both multi-member electorates with three members elected for each seat.

Broughton represented the electoral district of West Moreton and he took office on 3rd May 1860 and served with George Thorn, William Nelson and Joseph Fleming (who was elected in a by-election on 9th July 1860). Parliament met for the first time on 22nd May 1860 in converted military and convict barracks in Queen Street, Brisbane. The term of the first parliament lasted until 20th May 1863.

Broughton resigned the seat of West Moreton on 21 December 1860 to take up the position of police magistrate in Drayton. Henry Challinor won the resulting by-election on 12 January 1861. By 1862 Broughton had moved to Ashfield, New South Wales, and was an estate agent.

Personal Life:

Broughton was born in England on 20 November 1826, the 15th of 18 children of Sir Henry Broughton and his wife Mary (née Pigott).

On 16 March 1858 Broughton married Clemence La Monnerie dit Fattorini at St James’ Church, Sydney, New South Wales. The couple had 2 sons and 2 daughters:

• Vernon Lamonnerie Delves (1859—1935)

• Dora Ethelind Lamonnerie (1861—1864)

• Mary Clemence (1862—)

• Ernest Clement Vermont (1865—1917)

Broughton’s religion was Church of England.

According to his biography on the Queensland Parliament website, Broughton died on 10 March 1895 in Sydney, New South Wales. However, Wikipedia claims he died in England on 10 March 1895 in Surrey, England.

The local streets of West Toowong

The Broughton Estate was one of the first subdivisions in the West Toowong area.

West Toowong is bounded to the east by Miskin Street, named after William Henry Miskin (1842-1913), the founding President of the Shire of Toowong in 1880. He was the President of the Royal Society of Queensland in 1890 and a member of the board of trustees of the Queensland Museum. He lived at Dovercourt, Sherwood Road until he left his wife and eloped with his servant.

Bywong Street is used as a major thoroughfare in West Toowong and the below 1904 map shows streets in its vicinity.

Map Source: Extracted from QSA Item ID 634549 Brisbane & Suburbs Street & Road A1A 1904

In 1904, Bywong Street was then named Grosvenor Street. Grosvenor Street may have been named for Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, KG, PC, JP (13 October 1825 – 22 December 1899), the 1st Duke of Westminster. He was known as the Marquess of Westminster. His titles were Viscount Belgrave between 1831 and 1845; Earl Grosvenor between 1845 and 1869; and 3rd Marquess of Westminster between 1869 and 1874. He was created the first Duke of Westminster, the most recent dukedom conferred on someone not related to the British royal family, and created by Queen Victoria, in 1874.

He was an English landowner, politician and racehorse owner. Although he was a member of parliament from the age of 22, and then a member of the House of Lords, his main interests were not in politics, but rather in his estates, in horse racing, and in country pursuits. He developed the stud at Eaton Hall and achieved success in racing his horses, winning the Derby on four occasions. Grosvenor also took an interest in a range of charities. At his death he was considered to be the richest man in Britain.

The street name ‘’Grosvenor’’ seemed to be still in use in 1944, and the change to ‘’Bywong’’ most likely occurred because of the Brisbane City Council’s policy of removing duplicate street names across Brisbane.

Bywong means ‘’Big Hill’’, and the word appears to be sourced from Bywong, a rural residential area in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia in the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council LGA. It is approximately 24 kilometres north-east of the Australian city of Canberra on the Federal Highway. It is also traversed by Macs Reef Road, Shingle Hill Way and Bungendore Road, the last two roads connecting Gundaroo and Bungendore. Its name is derived from an Aboriginal word for “big hill”.

Bywong Street adjoins Orchard Street to the north and Stanley Terrace to the south.

Bywong St, Toowong. August 1967. BCC archives. Accessed via Trove.


The street named Water Street is the short dead-end street that today borders the northern side of West Toowong Bowls Club. If required, Water Street enables WTBC access to its grounds from this end. The origin of the street name as Water Street is obvious as it ends at the water’s edge of the local creek. It may have had a small creek flowing along it in earlier times.

Two of the neighbouring streets on the western side of the West Toowong Bowls Club are Duke and Camp Streets.

The 1904 map shows Duke and Camp Streets running parallel to Bywong Street. There is a third street, named as Glower Street marked on the map, which also runs parallel to Grosvenor Street. Unlike Grosvenor Street, Camp and Duke Streets have retained their 1904 names to this day, but by 1905, Glower Street had morphed into Gower Street. The origin of this street name is also not known at this stage.

An old-time resident claimed that Camp Street was used in earlier times as a camp by drovers taking cattle across the district. There were at least 5 recorded drovers trails down from the Brisbane Valley through the foothills of Mt Coot-tha where the cattle was agisted before being taken along Milton Road and Sylvan Road to River Road, and thence to the cattle slaughter yards on the north side of Brisbane. The drovers then proceeded back to the Brisbane Valley to Nanango via Caboolture. This saga was captured in Sali Mendelsohn’s ballad Brisbane Ladies (or alternatively titled Augathella Station or Ladies of Toowong).

It was said that the streets in the area followed cattle trails. More information is not available, and the statement is based upon hearsay passed down from older residents.

However Toowong butcher William Land, of Lands Butchers, owned a 40 acre-sized holding paddock fronting Stanley Parade, Taringa. He also owned a property in Toowong (where Land Street is now located) close to his Sylvan Road Butchery premises. Prior to the 1900s William Land may have moved cattle through west Toowong between these two properties.

There was a dairy farm situated further towards the west that owned by the Dempster family. Dempster Street takes its name from the owners of the farm.

Duke Street was possibly named after Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Albert was the first member of the Royal Family to visit Australia in 1867, and did so during his ’round-the-world’ voyage. Stops were made at Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The Duke was shot by Henry James O’Farrell in an assassination attempt while picnicking on the beach in the Sydney suburb of Clontarf, on 12 March 1868. The Duke recovered fully and continued on to New Zealand seven months later.

If one looks closely at the above map, one note notices that Gower Street was marked as Glower Street. At this stage the source for this street name is not known.

Gower, Duke, Camp and Grosvenor Streets all run off Stanley Terrace, which runs along the top of the ridge from Miskin Street to Taringa where it adjoins Taringa Parade. Stanley Terrace is named after Brisbane architect Francis Drummond Stanley (1839-1897). Stanley had purchased a large property off Stanley Terrace and built a house upon it where he resided. He sold the property to Sir Arthur Palmer, and relocated to a house he built in Jephson Street called Ardencraig.

Sir Arthur Palmer retained Stanley to make modifications to the house, and to enlarge it. The property was renamed as Easton Grey. Later Palmer subdivided a large section of the land to form Mossman, Hunter and Palmer Streets. Today these streets all run downhill from Stanley Terrace to the vicinity of the current QSMT Academy.

The choice of street names are pertinent to the Palmer family history. Sir Arthur Palmer’s wife, Lady Palmer was Cecilia Jessie Mosman before she married. She was also the sister of North Queensland identity Hugh Mosman for whom the town of Mossman was named. Note how both the street name and the township’s name has erroneously acquired an extra ‘s’. Hugh Mosman lived at Easton Grey and continued to do so after the death of his brother-in-law, and later, his sister. He also agisted his racehorses here. ‘’Hunter’’ is Sir Arthur’s second name, named for his mother’s maiden name, Emily Palmer nee Hunter. Of course, the source of name of Palmer Street is self-explanatory.

Ecksleigh, a property bounded by Camp, Exmouth, Duke, and Market Streets, was owned by JB Fewing’s daughter, Ethel Charlotte Maud Munro Hull and her husband George Munro Hull, and included a farm. Later, the family moved to first to Dean Street, and then to Eumundi and operated a banana farm. It is possible that Camden, the property across the road from Ecksleigh, had been carved off the original Ecksleigh property. It is suggested that the street named Market Street is related to the farming activity in the area, and that Orchard Street’s name had the same origins.

When Exmouth Street was formed is still to be researched, and the origin of its name to be explained, as is the street name of ‘’Kapunda’’. Both may be the names of immigrant ships that carried immigrants to Australia, or have as yet unexplained associations to places elsewhere in Australia, such as Exmouth Gulf and Kapunda in South Australia.

Soudan Street’s name reflects the siege of Khartoum and the death of General Gordon. In 1884 Gordon was sent to the Sudan for the second time by the British government to evacuate Egyptian forces from Khartoum, which was threatened by the Mahdists, followers of Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahd. Reappointed governor-general, Gordon arrived in Khartoum in February. Khartoum came under siege a month later, and on Jan. 26, 1885, some 50,000 Mahdists, taking advantage of a gap in the ramparts along the White Nile and bursting through the Masallamiyyah Gate, stormed the city, overwhelming the defenders, and killed Gordon and the other defenders. The British public reacted to his death by acclaiming “Gordon of Khartoum” a martyred warrior-saint and by blaming the government for failure to relieve the siege. However, some biographers, such as the noted Lytton Strachey, have suggested that Gordon, in defiance of his government’s orders, had deliberately refused to evacuate Khartoum, even though evacuation was still possible until late in the siege.

Researched and written by Leigh Chamberlain.


Re-Member Database: Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 10 August 2023.

Wikapedia: (Australian_politician) retrieved 10 August 2023

NSW Govt Gazette, 108, p.1529 Friday, 26 September 1851·


Researched and compiled by Philippa Stanford including an extract from Glen Butler’s reminiscences included in TDHS’s book ‘Toowong Tramride from the Past’ by Leigh Chamberlain.

It seems that a significant proportion of the Chinese community in Brisbane were involved with market gardens. In 1916 there were 482 Chinese people registered in Brisbane. Nearly half gave their occupation as gardener with an additional 50 in associated businesses of fruiterer, fruit hawker or green grocer.

View looking over the Brisbane suburb of The Gap, with a Chinese market garden in the foreground, and Mt. Coot-tha in the distance, ca. 1950s. Image courtesy of State Library of Queensland.

In the period mid 1800s to the mid 1900s Chinese gardens could be found at Enoggera, Everton Park, Kelvin Grove, Toowong, and south of the river at West End, Eight Mile Plains, Runcorn, Belmont, Mt. Gravatt, The Gap, Sunnybank, Coopers Plains, And Yerongpilly. The ones at Enoggera, Kelvin Grove and Toowong were established first, before 1900, and the others later. It seems many of the gardens at Ashgrove were still operating in 1937 and the ones at Moorooka, Enoggera, Toowong and Newmarket in 1951.

At Toowong it seems there were Chinese market gardens close to Croydon St and Sylvan Road in 1913, Vera St (current basketball court of QASMT) and Bayliss St (near the current Scout Hall, formerly the Chinese Club)  Toowong. Further confirmation that there was a Chinese community in Toowong comes from historian Susanna De Vries, who writes that by ”the 1930s Toowong boasted an excellent Chinese Laundry in the Centre of the village.” There may also have been another market garden around the slopes of Stanley Terrace, Taringa.

The history of the market gardens in Vera St are interesting as it was  in the grounds of Karslake a house owned by Richard Langler Drew and then school teacher JB Fewings. Karslake was  a substantially-sized  property and reached from the corner of Miskin Street to where Sherwood Road bends to form Dean Street. It also ran down to the border of Toowong Creek. Later, after the deaths of Fewings and his wife, this back paddock was subdivided and sold. Various people purchased sections of land, and Fewings Street and  Vera Street were created. The land along the creek flats used as Chinese Market Gardeners, and was probably initially leased from Mr Fewings. Indications are that some time during the 1950s to 1960s, the land had been purchased by the Chinese market gardener at that time. When Toowong State High School opened in 1962 the Chinese market gardens were still operating, and the land did not become the property of the Education Department until later.

The market gardens at the back of ”Karslake”. Photographer not known but was probably Althea Munro Hull’s (nee Fewings) husband, Frederick Hull (aka Fred), who was a keen photographer. Photos sourced from the Fewings Family Album and provided by Fewings’ great granddaughter Genevieve Kennett].

In terms of the Bayliss St gardens Patrick Dixon recalled that his aunts who lived in Patrick Lane told him that after World War I the Chinese community grew Chinese vegetables on a fairly large scale. @The area was a creek eventually flowing into Dixon St., entering Brisbane river north of The Inn on the Park. Not sure of the exact timeframe but the land and building was sold for development when the Chinese club moved to The Valley.@

The gardens on Sylvan Street  were on private land facing the street which ran off Croydon Street, and adjoined the park. Several articles in local newspapers refer to Chinese Gardens on Cemetery Road (later Sylvan Road) Toowong.  In Toowong news the Queensland Times reported on 18 March 1890,  ”the water on the Cemetery Road rose considerably during Wednesday night and the Chinese gardeners were compelled to leave their humpies and camped on a high and dry patch in the middle of the road opposite the garden.” This article also comments on the Chinese Gardens on Sylvan Rd in 1913:
”It was decided that the Council should inspect the Toowong Creek Bridge with regard to the proposed alteration of the site, and further, that a visit should be paid to the land on Sylvan Road, known as the Chinese Gardens with the idea of considering its availability for recreation purposes”
Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), Wednesday 17 December 1913, page 6

Suburban growers took their produce to the main Brisbane produce market around Roma Street opened in the 1880s and also to a smaller one in South Brisbane. Several of these market shops were run by Chinese Fruiterers. Some of these were also shophouses and provided board and lodging for employees and out of town visitors. In 1908-1909 around one quarter of Brisbane’s Chinese population lived around Roma St. So possibly this is where the growers at Toowong would sell a lot of their produce although it is also possible that the local area purchased all the produce because most people went to the market gardens. In the High Street was Scholtz, the fruiter. They probably sourced produce from local market gardeners.

Reminiscences of the Chinese market garden at ToowongLeigh Chamberlain research and interviews

There was a Chinese market garden near the Butlers’ home in Vera Street, West Toowong. Glen Butler’s mother purchased the family property and house in about 1924-25, and Glen lived in this house all his life. Glen said he knew she paid £550 for it, which was equal to two years’ pay in those days.

Chinese people had first come to Australia in about 1839 to help with the pastoral industry. Later waves came during the gold rushes. Not all made their fortune and most could not return to China. Many chose to set up market gardens near towns and in suburbs.

Glen’s memories of the various Chinese gardeners are helpful. Bell’s shop rented rows of vegetables and came and picked them for sale in their shop. But by 1914 there was a Chinese market gardener in Carr’s Paddock. Leila Carr from Taringa (no relation to Carrs of Carr’s Paddock) recalls going with her parents as a child to buy vegies.

People went to the Chinese market gardens behind Toowong Memorial Park to buy fruit and vegetables. The produce was high in quality, but fertilized by human faeces.

Glen recalled (as told to Leigh Chamberlain):

”When I first remember the Chinese market gardener, he was ‘big time’. I can remember when we were kids, the shop around [in] the [other] street, Bell’s store, would buy a bed. A whole bed could be 50 yards long and full of lettuce. Ronnie Bell would come and pick them every morning, as he wanted them. Other shops in the area would buy a bed too…you would leave them in the garden, see — come around every morning and pick a couple of dozen.

The Chinese market gardener did not pick the produce. Ronnie’d pick them as he wanted them. He would pick as many as he would think he could sell, hopefully. To the best of my memory, the shopkeeper would come and cut them all as he wanted them, which was a good idea.

He’d say to Johnny, the gardener, ‘Right, I’ll give you this much money. In those days, it wasn’t really dear …he’d count them up and give him a couple of pounds for the whole bed, or ten pounds for the whole bed’, which worked out all right for the gardener. He had the bed sold before he even started.

Anyway, we — my brother and I — we got the idea that we could buy the lettuces for a penny and sell them for a three pence. We didn’t make much money out of it that I can recollect. It should have worked all right, but I think we tried to sell some to the woman over the road and she took them and didn’t pay us. We hung outside and they refused to pay us, so we took the lettuce back.

We had another lurk. There used to be horses in the paddock over the back. That paddock over there was Palmers’, as you know. [Now the grounds of the Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology] That’s right, the son had horses. We used to go and collect the manure and sell it for three pence a bag. We busted our guts. We tried to make some money for Exhibition — sell it for three pence a bag — horse manure!

I don’t know the early market gardeners’ names. You’re only going back 70 years! I don’t remember what their names were. But he was quite good. I think that gradually, as time went, the others weren’t as good as the first bloke. But I can remember about three or four different market gardeners were there until the Tomai family arrived.

They (the Tomai family) would have arrived at the property in the early 70s, I suppose; and he didn’t really use the property as a garden. He was a cook. He started his own restaurant down Geebung way somewhere. I think he had a heart attack on the job and died.

The old house that Mrs Tomai had lived in had no water, no electricity in the house. I think it had an earth floor. What I remember of it, the walls were wood, but the roof, naturally, was corrugated iron. And that property, they owned it apparently. And when they sold it, it was bought by the government. As was the Palmer’s Paddock!”

Sadly Glen Butler has since died.

Note from author: Update on the story of the school:

After purchase by the Queensland Education Department the former Chinese market garden became the Toowong State High School’s netball courts and volleyball courts.

Locals were always allowed to access the pathway along the creek to Miskin Street, and it was a popular bikeway as well. Students accessed the school buildings this way as well. The school authorities seemed to be supportive of the locals using the lower oval, and often people were seen practicing their golf and walking their dogs. It was a great place to take little children to have a play, and kids would practice their footy skills with friends. The school’s tennis courts were available for hire as well.

Later, when the school was renamed as Toowong College, the former volleyball courts were leased to the newly formed Vera Street Gardens.

A suggestion in about 2003 that Toowong State School expand its campus to build facilities on the lower oval was canned. Instead the Toowong College was closed by the Education Department and the SMT Academy was established. Toowong lost its local secondary school, and the decision was taken without consultation to the local community.


Joan Fisher, The Brisbane Overseas Chinese Community 1860s to 1970s: enigma or conformity, thesis, University of Queensland, 2005)

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Tuesday 18 March 1890, page 5, TOOWONG

Leigh Chamberlain; interview with Glenn Butler

TDHS Facebook discussions

Further reading:

Our Secretary Leigh Chamberlain was visiting Toowomba recently when she noticed a rocking horse in an antique store on Ruthven Street. On further inspection she discovered that it was made by Lou Peets, a name that was well known to the earlier children of West Toowong. In Leigh’s  words: “He made rocking horses in his factory under his house in Market Street. The bus stop was outside his house so kids would wander in and watch him while they waited for the bus to go to school.”

rockinghorseshed.Com describes Lou Peets as Australia’s third largest Rocking Horse manufacturer, 1915-1964. According to their site Lou Peets was a blacksmith who came to Australia from England. His shop was underneath his family home in Market Street, Toowong, near the corner of Duke St. Others have identified that it was near Billy Ireland’s house. After Lou died in 1964 his son Laurie and then his nephew, Syd, continued to make Rocking horses until 1972. It seems these rocking horses are still highly valued and valuable with restored horses being offered for sale for around $2000.


Photo Taken by Leigh Chamberlain October 2023

Leigh shared this story and photo on our Facebook page which elicited a huge response and was shared wide and far by other groups and individuals. There were lots of interesting comments with a few former connections reestablished between people. Many people had one of these rocking horses at one point in time and others had fond memories of watching Mr. Peets at work.

One woman, Heather, had lived across the road from Mr. Peets and had been “fascinated by his artistry”. Barry grew up living next door to Mr Peets and said “Under his house was a wonderland for a youngster like me who loved making things. Apart from the woodwork he did all his own leatherwork and metalwork. Such an inspiration! I became and still work as an engineer.”

Christina remembers him well, “we loved to sit on the horses and help out where we could, loved the smell of the sawdust that covered the floor under the house, the leather for the bridles & saddles, he would hang the horses from the hills hoist in the back yard after painting”.

Many people shared pictures of their rocking horses and there was an interesting discussion about the characteristics of a genuine Lou Peets horse and the differences in style between Lou, Lawrie and Syd’s designs. Katie was very knowledgeable and shared a few specific things that identified them:

Lou’s horses have rather square open mouths compared to many and the front swinging iron is approx 1” shorter than the rear from cleat to hoof rail (bend to bend). The shape of the front legs is also very different to other makers, they’re “flatter” in the angle of their front legs where the knees bend.  The pillar design is specific to him as well. Nephew Syd made the rumps in a flatter style he would also engrave a very subtle s on the underside somewhere.

Katie and Elizabeth shared details of an article about Lou from The Sunday Mail, Brisbane, November 24, 1929 which gives some interesting background about how Lou came to be making rocking horses under his house. The text is below.

Sunday Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1926 – 1954), Sunday 24 November 1929, page 23



THE Rocking Horse King! It is the nickname given him by his neighbours at Toowong. His real name is Peets, L. Peets, and he loves to carve in wood. Horse figures emerge — horses -with graceful, strong lines, with fluttering cow-hair manes and tails. He calls himself a toymakcr, a humble constructor of wooden rocking horses, but his use of hands and plane bespeaks the delicate touch of the real artist. And while he is creating his rocking horses for the Christmas shopping rush he likes to talk about the things he has seen and done — about industry, and the joy his rocking horses give to children.

Peets understand, is a cheerful fellow. His eyes are full of friendliness His mouth is a continuous pucker of amused admiration for life find sun light and children’s toys. His workshop, in the yard of his home, is little more than a tin shed, but his tools are sharp and his gift for carving in wood is there. What does the workshop matter? He declares, smilingly, that at Christmas time some 200 children in Queensland will be playing with his rocking horses — riding them to rescue fair maidens from turreted towers, tiny knees gripping their pic-bald withers. ”Yes, I only make rocking horses,’ he says. ‘But last year I made toys — many different toys. Tricycles and motor cars! Big and small ones. ‘All kinds of toys! But, now, no, they will not have my toys, only my rocking horses.’

Then if you are sympathetic he will tell you his story, a toy-maker’s story of a dream that was shattered against the concrete walls of commerce.  Back in Lancashire Peets’ parents make toys, and their parents before them made toys in the big factories that are there. Peets, however, did not like the sweated labour of the Lancashire mills and factories, and came to Australia in search of sunshine. He found it in Queensland, and obtained work as an engineer’s black smith. He worked hard, and saved, and at night time dreamt of starting a toy factory of his own in his adopted country.

Then came the war. He enlisted and served with the ‘Australian Imperial Forces. He was wounded and sent back to Australia. He made his home at Toowong under the shadow of the tree-covered slope of One Tree Hill, but his wound prevented him from seeking work in his old capacity. Again he dreamt of making toys. Then he made his dreams come true. With his small savings he bought timbers and started to make and carve wooden toys for children. He did fairly well, and built his factory — a spacious tin shed in the yard of his home. Children loved his piebald rocking horses with their fluttering cow-hair manes and tails, and gradually the big city firms heard of him and his wares.

The postman began regularly to bring him orders. He worked hard, some times well into the night, making rocking horses in an attempt to cope with the orders for more — at the price. And the more rocking horses he made the more orders came in. Peets was glad, and he employed labour. He worked with four assistants, making nothing but rocking horses for children. He continued to prosper, and at night to dream of owning a big toy factory — a factory that made many toys — mechanical toys — as well as carving rocking horses out of hunks of wood.

He talked with local business men, showed them samples of his toys, and, they too, became enthusiastic and dreamt, of sharing in the ownership of a big toy factory. They gathered together and formed a company, and Peets put his savings of £600 into the fulfilment of the dream. Machinery and electric motors were installed; his tin shed was enlarged almost to the size of his modest home. For many months his yard clattered with the activity of whirling wheels and flapping belts, and the buzz of timber be ing planed. Neighbours even complained about, the noise! Hundreds of pounds’ worth of toys were made. On paper the garden of toys was lovely. They were acclaimed as cheaper and better than those imported from America and the Continent. The shopkeepers and public alike were pleased with the samples submitted, and at least one big retail establishment took a considerable stock.

Then trade difficulties of one kind and another arose to block the expected developments. Distribution was more and more hampered, and, like other returned soldiers who had taken up this means of livelihood, Peets found himself baffled and beaten. Disappointed but not discouraged, Peets courageously returned to his first love, and restarted the making of rocking horses.

He is still a cheerful fellow. He is busy carving in wood; busy catering for the Christmas de mand for wooden chargers. The firms that would not or could not buy his mechanical toys now send him orders for wooden rocking horses, and he hopes by next year to have rebuilt his industry to such an extent that he will once again be working busily with, four assistants. ‘Children love to ride on my, rock ing horses!’ says Peets, while his cutting tool goes gently, ever so gently, over the graceful neck of what is to be a piebald pony.

Photo of Lauriston from Page 28 of the Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 25 October, 1919. Image courtesy of  SLQ


Following a recent inquiry about a house in Chasely St, Auchenflower we found the interesting story of Lauriston House at number 27 Chaseley Street which had several strong connections to World War 1.

The house was originally owned by William Jack who was a draper with his business William Jack & Co being located in Queen Street.  He and his wife Mary and children lived in the grand house with beautiful gardens and a tennis court until October 1919 when it was sold. During their time in the house there were highs and lows for the family most notably including the wedding of their eldest daughter Mary Jack who was married at the house while sadly their son Corporal William Neilson Leslie Jack died of wounds in France in October 1917 at the age of 22. He received several medals for his service and his name is commemorated in the Toowong Memorial Park.

The house was sold in October 1919 to the Red Cross for the sum of £3000 who intended to use the house as a convalescent home for returned war nurses. The Red Cross had begun campaigning and fundraising for such a rest home in late 1918. It made this impassioned plea in The Telegraph, Thursday 31 October 1918:

How they braved the awful mud of Flan-ders and the terrifying shell fire at Trois, Arbres, and Grevillers. The dis-comforts and overwork of Poperinghe, the bitter cold and snow of Wimereux. All these trials were laughed at by those devoted women, who, in spite of them all, worked bravely and success-fully to save life and limb. How devoted they were, how devoted they still are. Already many, alas, have re-turned broken in health. What can we do for them? Homes and hospitals we have for our soldiers. Where is the home for our Queensland war nurses? I am ashamed to say we have none. Then give, give freely if you can, but give, and we will provide for our war worn heroines as a great and generous country, such as Queensland is, should provide.

Lauriston House was officially opened as a rest home for nurses on 18 November 1919 and could comfortably accommodate 13 nurses. It was described as having:

“six well furnished bedrooms, each containing two beds, a wide sleeping-out veranda, and a drawing-room, opening into a commodious dining-room, arranged with small tables. Gas is installed, and a large gas stove is a feature of the well equipped kitchen, and the septic tank system exists throughout the house. Other features include a well equipped laundry, store rooms, and linen cup-boards”. (Home for Nurses, The Week, Fri 21 Nov 1919, p5)

Accommodation at the home was open to nurses of the AIF, who despite being discharged as fit, needed some extra rest and attention. The nurses could stay for two weeks and must present a certificate from their ‘medical adviser’ in order to be issued with the ‘necessary card for admission. (Women’s Realm, Saturday 17 April 1920, page 15)

The home continued to operate until November 1920 when it “was reluctantly cleared, the very small number of nurses who required convalescent treatment not justifying the expense of its upkeep” (Daily Mail  Saturday 6 August 1921, page 8).

Following its decommissioning the Red Cross tried unsuccessfully to sell the house and it seems it was rented out instead finally being used in the 1930s by several musicians, Miss Merlena Uewells and Mr. Hardy Gerhardy, who advertised piano, cello and singing lessons and also hosted musical evenings.

The house remains high on the hill opposite the entrance to the Wesley Hospital although it has been modified extensively and it’s spacious grounds subdivided for other housing. The only tell tale connection to the original house is the chimney.


Research: Philippa Stanford, Nick Feros, Sharon Racine

Compiled by Philippa Stanford

Toowong District Historical Society - High street and Sherwood road Toowong Brisbane c1890

Compiled by Philippa Stanford for TDHS

A brief history of Toowong

In 1842, the former Moreton Bay Penal Settlement (est. 1825), was made available to free settlers with land in the CBD offered first. These early colonists did not recognise that the penal colony occupied key Meanjin land and waterholes which lead to numerous conflicts.

The 1850s saw the auction of land in what became the Toowong shire and the construction of several grand houses. On 8 July 1851 the first parcels of Crown Land along the river bank in the Milton area of the Parish of Enoggera were proclaimed as Freehold. Between 1 March 1852, when the first blocks were sold in Milton, and May 1854, all the allotments along the Milton and Toowong Reach of the Brisbane river that had been offered for sale had been purchased. Among those to first purchase land made in the district were James Charles Burnett, Ambrose Eldridge, Isaac and John Markwell, James Powers, Michael O’Neill, James Henderson, Henry Buckley, Robert Towns and George Christie (tenants-in-common) and Robert Cribb.

In Toowong, parcels of Crown Land were freeholded on 10 June 1853. Robert Cribb purchased the first block, an area of more than 38 acres, 3 rooms and 30 perches and described as Allotment 28, on 16 December 1853. There were also other sales of land further away from the river bank offered in the Toowong and Auchenflower area. Gradually settlement spread further westwards in the district. Much of the land was purchased by people who became well known figures in Queensland such as Robert Towns (after whom Townsville is named), Arnold Weinholt, and WC Bellbridge, the government printer.

By the 1860s Toowong is a recognisable place within the settlement of Brisbane. However there is a severe economic recession in Queensland affecting growth and development which is linked to the economic crash in England, May 1866.

The 1870s sees considerable change and growth in Toowong brought about primarily by the opening of the Brisbane Ipswich Railway line with a station opened at Toowong. The Toowong cemetery is established and a number of businesses and churches are developed along the commercial Centre of Toowong (Moggill Road between the station and Burns Road Bridge and also along Sherwood Road). Shops included a grocery, butchery, an ironmongery, a bakery, a drapery meant there was no need to travel further for necessities. There were also carpenters, contractors and stone masons. New housing estates of Sylvan Grove and Kensington are released for sale.

By the mid 1870s much of these large blocks were subdivided. Properties were purchased by people who became well known figures in Toowong such as architect, Richard Gailey and Professor Samuel Kaye, the musician and music teacher for whom Kaye’s Rocks is named.

In the 1880s the Shire of Toowong was created. Milton and Toowong are early village business centres with schools opening in 1889 and 1879 respectively, and each with railway stations (Milton station opened in 1884). The shopping precinct at Toowong features ribbon development, which is typical of rural pioneer times with the shopping strip strung along the main road, then called Moggill Road, but later renamed in 1885 as High Street.

The Brisbane economy is booming as is immigration and new commerce and this is reflected in Toowong which expands enormously as land estates are subdivided and put up for sale. Estates known as Villa Estates are established. These are sizable rural properties with farms and vegetable gardens, staffed with cooks, maids and grooms, large enough to feature a stable for a coach or horse and sulky to facilitate transport to the city where many were employed in government or banking roles.

The nature of residents in Toowong changes as many more working class families move into the area which had previously only housed wealthier families on large estates. This is assisted by the growth in public transport from Alfred Roberts Omnibus and the railway line.

Following the economic boom of the 1880s Toowong is now a significant size and continues to develop with a number of fine houses were constructed in the shire including Dunmore, Fairseat, Moorlands. Davies states that, “Toowong was a satellite suburb favoured as a residential area by many politicians, civil servants, business leaders and professionals. As their large homes were set in spacious grounds, there were only 950 houses spread over four square miles. More than other suburbs, Toowong was a community in its own right with churches, private schools, sporting clubs and choral society.”

However the economic boom/excesses of the previous decade leads to a financial crisis with a decline in real estate and economic activity. Several banks suspend business and this combined with the floods in 1893 make it a difficult decade for Brisbane and consequently Toowong.

Queensland weathered this economic downturn better than its Southern counterparts and by 1895 there were signs of improvement, the colony was growing, unemployment had decreased, public works recommended and commerce revived. Davies p 142 The following decade saw a number of developments in Toowong including the electric tram, gas lighting and a pool established. In 1895 Pugh’s Almanac described the area as a ‘fashionable township’ with gas and water at the principal shops and villas.

From about 900 dwellings, the number grew to about 2500 by the early 1920s. In 1925 Toowong municipality was incorporated into the Greater Brisbane council.


ARCADIAN SIMPLICITY. J.B.Fewings memories of Toowong. Edited by Helen Gregory.
FEWINGS, John Bowden.Published by Bowen Hills. Boolarong Library., 1990
Auchenflower: the Suburb and the Name, John Pearn, Amphion Press, 1997
Brisbane Diseased: Contagions, Cures and Controversy, Brisbane History Group papers no. 25-2016, 2016
‘Historic Auchenflower’, The Brisbane Courier 21 Feb 1931,
Historic Brisbane: Convict Settlement to River City, Susanna and Jake De Vries, 2013, Pandanus Press.
Lang Farm Estate Toowong: An 1877 subdivision and the people who made it home, Bull. L, 2019, Toowong and District Historical Society.
Milton, Queensland Places website, 2018, Centre for the Government of Queensland – University of Queensland,
Surveying Success: The Hume Family in Colonial Queensland, Davies, HJ, 2011, Brisbane History Gorup, Boolarong Press.
The 1893 Financial Crisis in the Colony of Queensland. Stanford, Jon. (2012).
Toowong, Queensland Places website, 2018, Centre for the Government of Queensland – University of Queensland,
Warrior: a Legendary leader’s dramatic life and violent death on the colonial frontier. By Libby Connors, Allen and Unwin. (;

Toowong Key dates

1839 – surveyor Robert Dixon and assistants Granville Stapleton and James Warner map land in the area (creating the Parish of Enoggera) for sale to new arrivals. He cleared land on Mt. Coot-tha of trees leaving only one as an anchor point. This gave the area its name of One Tree Hill. 1843 – one of the first major roads out of Brisbane is the one to Moggill with a stretch along the river later known as River Road and then Coronation Drive (1937)

1862 – Richard Langler Drew bought land on the outskirts of Brisbane and set up a signboard to describe the area: ‘This is the village of Toowong’

1864 – William Shaw apples for a licence for the Toowong Retreat Hotel which he formally purchased off Drew in April 1865. The Hotel is situated on Moggill Road consisting of six rooms as reported in the Brisbane Courier, 19 Sept 1864.

1865 – The Reverend M. Bell applies for land at “One Tree Hill” later known as Mount Coot-tha said to be an Aboriginal word for honey.

1871 – Toowong is chosen as the site for a new Brisbane General cemetery to replace the burial centre at Milton.

1872 – Alfred Roberts establishes a form of public transport, a horse omnibus between Eagle St in the city and TARINGA allowing people of more modest income to travel between these areas.

The new Brisbane General Cemetery (also known as the Toowong cemetery) is officially opened.
First Indooroopilly Bridge is constructed.
the Brisbane to Indooroopilly (and Ipswich) railway line was opened, with a station at Toowong and Milton. The naming of the station at Toowong caused the whole district from Patrick Lane to the intersection of Moggill Road and Stanley Terrace to adopt the name.
The Regatta Hotel was opened on River Road (Coronation Drive) overlooking Toowong Reach.
Toowong Post Office established and operates out of Toowong Railway Station.
1877 – Toowong Town Council acquires the land to establish Anzac Park opposite the Toowong Cemetery. This land was originally gazetted as part of the Toowong Cemetary (Brisbane General Cemetary) in 1871.

The Toowong Division was established on 11 Nov 1879 under the Divisional Boards Act 1879
Toowong State School opens in Aston St

the more populated part of Toowong Division ( population 1000) was proclaimed the Shire of Toowong, while the remaining part of the Toowong Division was renamed as the Indooroopilly Division. The Shire of Toowong included Torwood and Milton (south of Boundary Road), Auchenflower and Toowong southwards to Toowong Creek. The western boundary approximated the summit of Mount Coot-tha.
Mt. Coot-tha area was gazetted as a public park/reserve

Patterson’s Sawmill, the Bon Accord, moved to a site near Toowong Station which used to be a waterhole.
Hiron’s Biscuit Factory established in Sherwood Road

One Tree Hill name is changed to Mt. Coot-tha (said to be an Aboriginal word for honey).

The first Regatta hotel building is replaced by the present Regatta Hotel building which was designed by Richard Gailey .
The Royal Exchange Hotel in High Street, Toowong was initially known as the Railway Hotel, and it is also believed to have been built in the 1880s and designed by Richard Gailey.
Toowong Post office relocates to High Street. A purpose built facility was opened in High St in 1899.

1887 – The Metropolitan Rifle Range used by the Queensland Rifle Association was moved to Toowong (Anzac Park area) in 1887, then Enoggera in 1910 and finally Belmont in 1964.

1893 Floods in February and March devastate Toowong and see the railway line submerged and water rising 18 inches (45cm) over the second floor of the Regatta Hotel

1895 – Pugh’s Almanac describes Toowong as a ‘fashionable township on the Brisbane River’ where ‘gas and water are laid on in the principal shops and villas’

The Toowong Shire became the Town of Toowong.
An electric tram service began in 1903 along Milton Road to the cemetery, and then along Dean Street and Woodstock Road to the terminus.

Royal Exchange Hotel, established ca. 1908.
Gas lighting is established in Toowong., 15 Oct 1908 as reported in The Brisbane Courier.

1909 – Toowong Swimming Pool established on Coronation Drive by popular subscription on the western side of Coronation Drive.

1910 – new Toowong Rowing Club with boat sheds near the Regatta is formed. This replaced an earlier club based close to Park Rd Milton which was destroyed in the 1890 and 1893 floods

1911 – December – Toowong Pavilion opens – open air picture theatre around 51 Sherwood Rd

1913 – Picture Palace opens on Jephson Street (until 1916)

1915 – Anzac Park is established at Toowong opposite the Cemetery when the Toowong Shire Council purchases land previously set aside for the Cemetery

1918 – Toowong Memorial Park, Sylvan Road was officially opened in 1918 in honour of those who enlisted from the Town of Toowong during World War I

1920 – Stuartholme school opens in March with 5 pupils

the Soldiers’ Memorial on top of the hill at the Toowong Memorial Park on Sylvan Road was dedicated
Savoy Theatres built the Gaiety in Jephson street which operated until 1961. It was renamed the Jubilee in 1935 (celebrating 25 years since the coronation of King George V)

1925 – the Town of Toowong was one of many local municipal authorities that amalgamated to form the Greater Brisbane Council.

1931 – Brisbane Boys College, formerly a day boarding college in Clayfield est 1901, opens at Toowong

1937 – River Road is renamed Coronation Drive

1957 – ABC Radio station moves to a new studio at Toowong

1961 – The Toowong Municipal Library Building was built 1961 on Coronation Drive opposite the Toowong pool, and was formerly the district library for the western suburbs.The library was designed by Brisbane City Chief Architect James Birrell, and is one of the few remaining examples of his work. The library is now used as commercial premises.

1962 – over the 1962-63 period the bus services replaced the Toowong tram service, the first move in a process to retire the metropolitan tram service in 1969.

1970s – Woolworths takes over the Brisbane Cash and Carry site (High street & Sherwood Rds)

1977 – Wesley Hospital built in the grounds behinds Moorlands house

1986 – Toowong Village drive-in shopping centre built (1986)

2013– ABC Radio moves from its Toowong site to South Bank Parklands

2016 – Woolworths Toowong closes


ARCADIAN SIMPLICITY. J.B.Fewings memories of Toowong. Edited by Helen Gregory.
FEWINGS, John Bowden.Published by Bowen Hills. Boolarong Library., 1990
‘Auchenflower: the Suburb and the Name’, John Pearn, 1997, Amphion Press, p21
“Classified Advertising” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 19 September 1864: 1. Web. 16 Sep 2021 <>.
‘Gentlemen of Honour – A history of Brisbane Boys College 1902’ – 2002 by Dr Noel Quirke.
Historic Brisbane: Convict Settlement to River City, Susanna and Jake De Vries, 2013, Pandanus Press.
“Historic Toowong ABC antenna tower demolished”, Jorge Branco February 2, 2015, Brisbane Times, Web 16 Sep 2021,
‘Honouring our history’, BBC website, 16 Sep 2021,
“LIGHTING OF TOOWONG.” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 15 October 1908: 2. Web. 16 Sep 2021 <>.
“Milton”, Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland, web, 16 Sep 2021,
The History of Mt. Coot-tha, Janet Spillman, 2013, Boolarong Press
Toowong: Bridging the Rail at Burns Road, Leigh Chamberlain
Toowong State School history, Toowong State School, web, 17 feb 2020,
“Toowong”, State Library of Queensland Blog, JOL Admin, 14 October 2008.
“Toowong”, Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland, web, 16 Sep 2021,
‘Village of Toowong – Drew’,

Mt Coot-the picnic at waterfalls - image courtesy SLQ

Compiled by Philippa Stanford for TDHS

Mt. Coot-tha is part of the Taylor Range and lies Eight kilometres West of the Brisbane CBD. It was declared a public reserve in 1880 and by the 1930s it was a popular picnic spot.

Mt Coot-tha – Key Dates

1839 – surveyor James Warner and his team cleared the top of the mountain of all trees except one large eucalypt tree.

1865 – The Reverend M. Bell applies for land at “One Tree Hill” later known as Mount Coot-tha said to be an Aboriginal word for honey.

1873 – In 1873 the forests were declared a timber reserve to supply timber for railways.

1880 – Mt. Coot-tha area was gazetted as a public park/reserve

1882 – the Duke of Clarence and Prince George (later King George V) commemorated their visit to Mt Coot-tha by planting two Moreton Bay figs on the summit.

1883 – One Tree Hill name is changed to Mt. Coot-tha (said to be an Aboriginal word for honey).

1886 – first shelter shed is built around the location of the kiosk

1890 – Gold was prospected and mined at Mt Coot-tha intermittently from 1890-1950

1890 – Mt Coot-tha was proclaimed a reserve for native birds

1902 – around this time the metal plate engraved with directional lines pointing to distant landmarks and views establishes the site as a viewing spot.

1918 – Mt. Coot-tha reserve was put under the management of Toowong Town Council  and Brisbane City Council upon municipal amalgamation in 1925.

1918– larger kiosk is built and this forms the basis of the present day one.

1920 – The park is expanded under Mayor William Jolly.

1924 – Subdivision planned for Mt Coot-tha 1924 (SLQ image M E0986) did not go ahead as BCC Mayor Arch Watson wanted to prevent the erection of buildings on the mountain, The Brisbane Courier 2 Dec 1925 shows the council agreed to resume the land….

1930s – Mt. Coot-tha is a popular picnic spot with walking tracks

1942 – August 1942 -1945 Mt. Cootha area is used by the US Navy as an ordnance depot.

1960s – television towers are built

1970 – Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens established

1976 – Mt. Coot-tha Botanic Gardens opens

1978 – planetarium at Mt. Coot-tha opens

1983 – new summit restaurant is built


USN Mine and Torpedo Depot (Camp Cootha), 30 June 2014, Queensland WWII Historic Places, Queensland Government, Web, 17 Sep 2021,
“Mt. Coot-tha”, Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland, web, 17 Sep 2021,
Mt Coot-tha Reserve (Mt Coot-tha Forest)14 August 2001, Brisbane City Council, web, 17 Sep 2021,
“Mount Coot-tha Lookout & Kiosk‘, Queensland Heritage Register, Queensland Government, web, 17 Sep 2001,
“Looking at Mt. Coot-tha”, by Janet Spillman, 7 October 2010, Queensland Historical Atlas, web, 17 Sep 2021,
“SHIRE OF TOOWONG.” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 14 September 1883: 3. Web. 17 Sep 2021 <>.

Milton View across Milton Heights from Rosalie

Compiled by Philippa Stanford for TDHS

The suburb of Milton is thought to have been named after the house and farm owned by Ambrose Eldridge from the river to east of Cribb Street. He named his property  ‘Milton’ after his birthplace, Greater Milton, near Oxford in England.

Milton – Key Dates

1824 – John Oxley, Surveyor-General for NSW camps on the river near Milton as part of a visit to look at possible settlement sites

1843 –  the North Brisbane Burial ground was established at the current site of Suncorp Stadium

1853-4 – Milton House built by Ambrose Eldridge on high ground on the northern shore of the Milton Reach of the Brisbane River, east of Cribb Street.

1868 – the Bishopsbourne Anglican residence  was built at 233 Milton Road for Brisbane’s first Anglican Bishop, Edward Tufnell.

1870 – The first church (Anglican) is established near the burial grounds (now Suncorp stadium)

1874 – Tram service established along Milton Road

1875 – the Brisbane to Indooroopilly (and Ipswich) railway line was opened, with a station at Toowong and Milton.

1878 – The Milton Distillery, later Castlemaine Perkins (Fourex) brewery opened

1888-9 – Cook Terraces constructed on Coronation Drive by Brisbane Builder Joseph Blain Cook  as a two-storeyed brick row of six houses in 1888-1889.

1889 –  Milton State school opens in 1889 on the site of Red Jacket Swamp which was drained to allow construction of the school. It was originally called Rosalie State Schoo, but soon changed its name.

1890 – first State of Origin match held at Lang Park

1913 – The Morrow biscuit factory opened in December 1913 on the north-east corner of Coronation Drive and Boomerang Street. This became Arnott biscuit factory in 1949

1914 – Milton State School gets a pool making it only the second school in Queensland to have a pool

1915 – Queensland Lawn Tennis Association formed its headquarters at Frew Park.  across the road from Milton Park. The Milton Tennis Centre had 19 hard courts and four grass courts

1916  – old North Burial Ground Open is named Lang Park in 1916 and used for athletics, circuses and the accommodation of trenches during the war.

1930 – Milton Tramways Workshop established in Little Cribb Street

1956 – Frew Park hosted the Davis Cup

1964 – The Coronation Motel, The ‘Coro”, the in spot for functions and accommodation until it was demolished in 2002.

1988 – Savoir Faire precinct at Park Rd established with its iconic Eiffel Tower

1990s – Arnott’s Biscuit Factory moved to Geebung

1999– Milton Tennis Centre closes

2008 – Milton Bowl closes

2014 – Frew Park, including the Roy Emerson Tennis Centre, opens on  the former Milton Tennis Centre and Milton Bowl site.


Bull, Lee. Lang Farm Estate Toowong: An 1877 subdivision and the people who made it home, 2019.
John, Pearn. Auchenflower: The suburb and the name, 1997.
John Pearn, ‘Auchenflower:  the Suburb and the Name’ Amphion Press, 1997, p21
“Classified Advertising” The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933) 19 September 1864: 1. Web. 16 Sep 2021 <>.
“Milton”, Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland, web, 16 Sep 2021,
“Milton – suburb of the City of Brisbane (entry 49246)”. Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved. 16 Sep 2021,
Fisher, R & Shaw, B (Ed’s) People, Places and Progress. Brisbane History Group 1995
“Frew Park: former Milton Tennis Site”, Brisbane City Council, web, 16 Sep 2021,
“Milton Heritage Trail”, Must Do Brisbane, web, 16 Sep 2021,
“Rosalie, Brisbane’s Forgotten Daughter”, A.T. Miles, presentation 23 October 1980, web, 16 Sep 2021,

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 <>.

Archer Street is named after Alexander Archer (1828-1890), manager of the Bank of New South Wales in Brisbane and a member of the Queensland pioneering Archer family. His wife was Mary Louisa, a daughter of Sir Robert Ramsay Mackenzie, 10th Baronet (1811-1873), a Queensland Premier (1867-68). The Archer residence, ‘Arley’, sat on the river bank at Toowong high above the flood zone of the Brisbane River.

The Archer brothers were explorers and pastoralists and were among the earliest European settlers in Queensland. Seven sons of William Archer, a Scottish timber mer- chant, they spent varying amounts of time in the colony of New South Wales, mainly in parts of what later became Queensland. A substantial number of locations in Queensland were either named by or for them. The first of the Archer brothers to settle in Australia was David, who arrived in Sydney in 1834. He was joined by William and Thomas in 1838. In 1841 David and Thomas, joined by their brother, John, travelled to the upper reaches of the Stanley River, an eastern tributary of the Brisbane River. There, near present-day Woodford, they established Durundur Station, a holding of 200 square miles (520 km2), which is equal to 128,000 acres (51,800 ha). Charles Archer arrived in Australia in 1841, and joined his brothers at Durundur in 1843.

Alexander Archer and his wife were aboard the R.M.S. Quetta, bound for England from Queensland, when on Friday, 28th February 1890, the ship foundered without any warning on a calm moonlight night within a few miles of Albany Island, at the entrance to the Torres Straits. Of the 293 people board, no fewer than 133 persons were drowned. The ship’s master was Captain Sanders, and with Captain Keatinge aboard, was piloting the ship through the Torres Strait. Destined for Thursday Island, the ship turned into the Adolphus Channel to round the Cape York Peninsula. The pilot was experienced, the weather fine and visibility good, but at 9:14pm the ship struck an uncharted rock in the middle of the channel near Albany Island. The rock ripped a hole through the plates from the bow to the engine room amidships, four to 12 feet wide, sinking Quetta in 5 minutes and sending 134 of her passengers to their deaths. When the disaster struck the Quetta had 292 people aboard: a crew of 121, comprising 15 European officers, 14 from other trades and 92 lascars from India; 70 Javanese in temporary deck houses, travelling to Batavia after working in the cane fields; and 101 other passengers. At the time, Quetta’s loss was thought to be the worst maritime disaster of Queensland.

The Quetta now lies on her port side in 18 metres (59ft) of water and is a protected historic shipwreck under A ustralia’s His- toric Shipwrecks Act 1976. As a memorial to the lives lost on the Quetta, the Quetta Memorial Precinct was established on Thursday Island, comprising a church (later a cathedral) a rectory and a Church Hall.