Bywong Street 1967 courtesy BCC

The naming of our streets: Bywong Street


As the Toowong and District Historical Society has been meeting at the West Toowong Bowls Club since July last year (2020), it might be of interest to our members if some information is provided about the local area.

The West Toowong Bowls Club is located diagonally opposite the Queensland Academy of Science Mathematics and Technology (QSMAT) on the flats of Toowong Creek on the western side of Bywong Street. Change in the local neighbourhood has occurred over time, and some of these changes can be discerned after a close examination of the 1904 map.

In 1904, Bywong Street was then named Grosvenor Street. The name change most likely occurred ca.1938 onwards when the BCC insti- gated a policy of removing duplicate street names across Brisbane.

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 West- minster, 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 origin of the street name of Bywong Street is not known at this stage, and more research is required. When the Brisbane City Council (BCC) decided to change street names it appealed to the public for suggestions. A list was drawn up, and as names were altered the next name on the list of suggestions was selected. Due to the manner of street name reselection there was no guarantee that the any new name applied had any connection to the area to which it was to be allocated. As names were used, they were crossed off the list. Sometimes there appears in the BCC files a notation which was added to the column against the new street name selected with infor- mation as to the origin of the name.
One suggestion that has been made is that a Chinese market gardener named Wong operated a market garden nearby in Market Street, and the street was named ‘Bywong’ because the street went ‘by Wong’. Was there a market garden at Market Street as well as on the creek flats at where the Toowong State High School was later located ? It is quite plausible that a local resident submitted this sug- gestion to the Brisbane City Council and it was adopted. If Irving Street, named for Mr William Irving, a long serving Town Clerk of Too- wong, could be renamed as Bangalla Street, after the home of the Phantom, anything is possible.

So perhaps there is a notation in the files of the BCC Archives that gives more information. This is yet to be researched.