Toowong and its neighbouring suburbs feature many places of historical interest.
Some places are well-known to the wider community and are regarded as being iconic to the area. These include buildings such the two hotels, Regatta and Royal Exchange; churches such as St Thomas’s Anglican Church and St Ignatius Catholic Church; residences such as Warrawee, Moorlands, Milton House and Dovercourt; and businesses such as the Castlemaine XXXX Brewery and Peerless Dry Cleaners.
Significant places in Toowong aren’t necessarily always buildings and houses. The divided road in High Street, now officially known as Patterson’s Folly, is in this category, as is the Crow’s Ash Tree on the corner of Sylvan Road and Milton Road.
There are others places less well known and these are hidden gems. These include Toby’s the Dog Postman’s Memorial and the Clock Tower in front of Toowong Village.
Other places can be described as localities or vicinities. In times past locals referred to the business area of Toowong as ‘The Village’—hence the origin of the name for the shopping centre now located in Sherwood Road. Other examples are Kayes Rocks and the bus turnaround in front of Toowong Village.
Yet other places have disappeared from the streetscape—some a long time ago and others more recently. These places may have disappeared but they still remain in the memory of those who still live here and also of those who used to live in the area. Sir Robert Philp’s former residence ‘Mallow’ is in this category—long gone due to fire, but still fondly remembered. Another is the Brisbane Cash and Carry (BCC), later bought out by Woolworths. Now Woolworths is also gone!
And who would forget Patterson’s Sawmill? Gone now for many, many years but still recalled nostalgically.
This article is the first segment of a series of articles about places of historical interest. Stay tuned as more articles will be added at a later date.
Badger’s house: Arlington; now known as Endrim
Address: 28 Woodstock Road, Toowong
Arlington was built in 1905 for American Joseph Stillman Badger. Badger, the manager of the Brisbane Tramways Company, had been sent to Brisbane in 1896 as its chief engineer by the General Electric Company to oversee the electrification of Brisbane’s horse-drawn tram network, but left GE in 1897. A proud American, Badger named the house Arlington in honour of the United States National Cemetery.
The property was financed by the Brisbane Tramways Company, possibly as part of a salary package. Badger appears to have had a free hand in the design as the architecture has an American flavor. Rumours that the house was rumoured used steel tramway tracks as bearers has subsequently verified.
Badger moved to Arlington when work commenced upon the extension of the tramline from the gates of Brisbane General Cemetery, down Dean Street, and into Woodstock Road to terminate at the (Toowong) Tram Terminus situated just near his front gate. Badger used a gate built into his side fence to walk down concrete stairs built into the steep slope of the ridge to access the tram stop near to his residence where his private tram collected him to go into work.
Due to both his role in the electrification and extension of the Brisbane tramway network and his hardline opposition to unionism and the role he played in the lead up to the General Strike of January 1912, the residence has ever since been associated with his name. However, people refer to as Endrim, the name the property was later called, and not as Arlington.
Leigh Chamberlain and Lindy Salter, Toowong; A tram ride from the past, Toowong and District Historical Society Inc., 2018, p.124.
David Burke, One American too many. Boss Badger and the Brisbane Trams, Queensland Museum, 2012.
Brisbane Boys’ College Rowing Shed
Address: Opposite the Regatta Hotel, Coronation Drive, Toowong
The Brisbane Boys College (BBC) boatshed was built on the river bank opposite the Regatta Hotel. After BBC relocated to Toowong from Clayfield in 1931, the school used the facilities of the Toowong Rowing Club. An application to build a new shed for the school was submitted to the Brisbane City Council (BCC). In response, the BCC closed off a public road located at the proposed site which allowed the application to proceed. Finance was raised through debentures offered to the Old Boys, from the college sports fund, and from the sale of the school’s former Breakfast Creek rowing shed. The use of Relief Labour during the depression years allowed the new rowing shed to be ready for use in September, 1933. After the 1974 flood in which the rowing sheds were destroyed the Toowong Rowing Club and the BBC rowing sheds were reconstructed next to The University of Queensland at St Lucia. The original ramps used to launch the shells at Toowong are still visible. GPS schools regattas were held on the Brisbane River up until 1973. After the 1974 flood a variety of venues have been used.
Noel Quirke, Gentleman of Honour: A History of Brisbane Boys College 1902-2002, Brisbane Boys College, 2001.
Brisbane Cash and Carry, Toowong
Address: High Street, Toowong
The arrival of Brisbane Cash and Carry in 1923 changed the nature of how ordinary Australians did their weekly grocery shop and was the first Australian self-service grocery store. Claude Fraser and his wife, Gladys, travelled to America to investigate the advent of self service grocery stores. Customers embraced the concept.
On the 7th November, 1953, BCC Store Pty Ltd purchased a large block of land in High Street, Toowong, where a new branch of BCC was opened. William Land, butchers of Toowong provided meat to BCC. Kevin Cocks, son of Leslie Cocks whose family had operated Cocks grocery store across the road in Sherwood Road, attributes the closure of the 2-generation Cocks family-run business to the arrival of BCC in the Toowong shopping precinct. By 1965 the Cocks Family business had closed. BCC continued to trade here until early 1967. Later that year new owners, Guardian Assurance Co, Ltd. leased the property to Woolworths (Queensland Ltd) for 40 years. Woolworths continued to trade here despite changes in land ownership until January 2017.
Webpage at https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/brisbane-cash-and-carry/ extracted 2018.04.18.
Castlemaine Perkins Brewery
Address: Milton Road, Milton
The Castlemaine or Milton Brewery was established at Milton Brisbane in 1878 by Fitzgerald Quinlan and Co. The brothers Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald had established brewing interests at Castlemaine in Victoria and then in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Newcastle. In Brisbane Quinlan Gray and Co had taken over interests of the Milton Distillery that was established on the site at Milton in 1870. The first brew by the new Milton Brewery was called Castlemaine XXX Sparkling Ale and was made to the same formula as the beer brewed by Castlemaine Brewery in Victoria.
Since medieval times when brewing was confined mainly to monasteries X, the sign of the cross, was a standard symbol of purity for alcoholic beverages. The number of X’s represented the strength of the beer. It was not until the early 1890s that the first trademark showing the 4Xs was applied for by the limited liability company Castlemaine Brewery and Quinlan Gray and Co.
History of the Castlemaine Perkins Brewery, 1877-1993, compiled by the Public Affairs Department, Castlemaine Perkins Limited Public Affairs Department, Milton, Qld, 1993.
Melva A Welch, Bergin Beauty. John Delaney Bergin Family, 2014, p.36.
Address: Corner of Park Road and 249 Coronation Drive, Milton.
JB Cook, who was a builder, applied to the Toowong Shire Council to build an hotel on the corner of Cribb Street and The River Road in 1887, but the Council rejected the proposal as it felt it was not necessary. There were two other hotels in the district. J B Cook then built Cook Terrace as his own residence after the application was rejected. Architects of the building were Taylor & Richer of 169 Queen Street, Brisbane. By 1922 Cook Terrace were also known as the Home Flats. Mr and Mrs Frederick and Ethel Laugher, brother and sister-in-law of the Misses Laugher after whom Laugher Park was named, leased a terrace house here c.1922-1929. By the early 1970s Cook Terrace had ceased to be a residential building and instead became commercial premises, which included restaurants. The property is a landmark in the district and is now heritage-listed.
RHSQ Queensland History Journal, May 14 Vol 22, No.5, p396-7.
Leigh Chamberlain, The Laugher sisters of Toowong and their park, Toowong and District Historical Society, 2011.
Cross River Ferry
Address: across from the Regatta Hotel, Coronation Drive, Toowong
The ferries have existed since convict days and have been a vital transport facility for Brisbane. The first ferry in the district ran from Park Road Milton to South Brisbane commencing around 1914, and ceased in the 1940s. Percival Patrick Hanlon, the lessee, commenced the new Toowong–Hill End ferry service which operated from near the Regatta Hotel to Ferry Road, West End in 1922. It ran until1953. He first commenced operation using a row boat and then graduated to motor boats. An elderly Toowong resident recalls enjoying a ride across the river on the ferry for one penny. Various fares applied but “elephants were free’’. When Mr Hanlon became ill his wife Elizabeth Hanlon, nee Dale, obtained her Master’s license and ran the ferry during her husband’s illness but in 1953 Mr Hanlon was forced to retire from work. This ferry service continued until January 1974 when the Australia Day floods destroyed the jetty and pontoon.
John, Pearn, Auchenflower. The suburb and the name, 1997.
Percy Hanlon, ‘Oh-ver’: History of Brisbane Cross River Ferries, 2000.
Percy Hanlon, ‘Memories of a Ferryman’s son’. p124 in Leigh Chamberlain and Lindy: Salter, Toowong. A tram ride from the past: Toowong and District Historical Society Inc., 2008