Coorparoo

The answer to the question asked last week - what is the suburb crossed by Norman Creek and home to historic residence Hatherton? - is Coorparoo.

The suburb of Coorparoo is believed to have been named by local residents at a meeting at Frederick Wecker's home on 22 March 1875 with those present resolving that the district as well as the newly established school should be named Coorparoo. The word was said to be the Aboriginal name for Norman Creek and the name was subsequently accepted by the Board of Education as the name of the proposed school.The original spelling was "Cooraparoo" but the shorter version was chosen and came into common usage.

An alternative name for the area was Steven's Town after Samuel Stevens who donated the land for the proposed school however this suggestion was rejected by Stevens himself.

The word "Coorparoo" is also said to be an Aboriginal word describing the sound of wild doves that were common in the area.

Coorparoo, 1914. Image no. 90836

Coorparoo, 1914. Image no. 90836

Eastleigh, Brentnall family home. Image no. 99713

Eastleigh, Brentnall family home. Image no. 99713

Some early settlers and businesses included:

  • Thomas Blackett Stephens (1856). By 1859 Stephens had established a wool scour on the banks of Ekibin Creek, near the present site of the Greenslopes Hospital. Stephens Road, South Brisbane is named in his honour. The present day Hanlon Park is on part of Stephen’s original holding.
  • Gottlieb Klumpp (1858) purchased 15 acres of land facing the future Chatsworth Road. The Klumpp family's low set slab cottage was one of the earliest dwellings in the vicinity.
  • Abraham James (1880s). James operated a large brick works situated in the vicinity of the present day St. Leonards Street.
  • Thomas Brentnall (1884) who was a Methodist minister, journalist and later member of parliament. He purchased land in the vicinity of the present day Coorparoo Junction.
  • Edward Deshon (1885) purchased land adjacent to the present Cavendish Road
  • Reubin Nicklin

Racecourse Estate, Coorparoo, 1919

Image no. 186938

Some early housing estates included 1880 – St. Leonard’s Estate; Stanley Bridge Estate (1880), Cavendish Estate (1890) and the Racecourse Estate (1919).

Coorparoo has a range of distinctive homes, buildings and sites of interest, including:

  • Spanish Mission Revival homes along Cavendish Road. This was a popular inter-war house style introduced from California.
  • Ridgelands (1880s), built for the Blundell family
  • Cardington (1880s) located at the corner of Norfolk Street and Cavendish Road. This residence was built by Thomas Howling who had purchased the allotments from early settler George Harden.
  • Barston Place (1880), built for Scottish born James Burstall and named after his birthplace.
  • Coorparoo Shire Hall (1892) located at the corner of Cavendish Road and Halstead Street. The building is now owned by the Coorparoo RSL Club and is now know as the Coorparoo School of Arts.
  • Restored Tram Post located at the corner of Old Cleveland and Cavendish Roads.
  • Hatherton (1886). This elite residence was built for Reubin Nicklin who previously residence was called Langlands. Reubin and his wife Jane were drowned in the “Quetta” disaster in 1890. The house has subsequently been extensively renovated and changed and is known as the “Queen Alexandra Home” having been used as a Methodist Home for children, teaching classrooms for the local TAFE College and more recently as a community centre.
  • Chatsworth (1888), built for William Evans who worked at Stewarts of Stones Corner. Chatsworth Road is named after this residence.
  • Langlands (1883), built for Reubin Nicklin. This building is located in the grounds of the present Villanova College and is the oldest surviving masonry residence in Coorparoo.
  • Cavendish Road. The name of this road is said to have been derived as a result of the local residents’ preoccupation with card games. The book Cavendish on Whist was said to be often consulted as an authority.
  • Roxy Cinema with seating for 1,200

Coorparoo Methodist Church, ca. 1895

Image no. 172462

Some important dates in the history and development of Coorparoo include:

  • 1856 – first bridge across Norman Creek constructed.
  • 1876 – Coorparoo State School.
  • 1876 – Frederick Robinson was operating a horse-drawn transport service from Coorparoo to Victoria Bridge.
  • 1886 – Construction of the Stanley Street bridge.
  • 1886 – Methodist Church located at the corner of Cavendish Road and York Street.
  • 1888 – the Shire of Coorparoo is proclaimed, encompassing what is now the Coorparoo of today. Coorparoo originally included the present area of Stones Corner, Greenslopes and part of Holland Park.
  • 1888 – the railway line extended through Coorparoo
  • 1891 – Street lighting was first introduced. Later (1922) electricity was first used.
  • 1893 – Floods had an adverse impact on the area. The access bridges were destroyed.
  • 1913 (August) – St. James Catholic Church.
  • 1922 (October) – Anglican Church

more photographs of Coorparoo

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Just advising that the Coorparoo Shire Hall on the corner of Cavendish Road and Halstead St. Coorparoo is not owned by the Coorparoo RSL .Also advising that the Coorparoo RSL Sub Branch which is located on the corner of Holdsworth St. and Harries Road Coorparoo has now purchased the contents of the Coorparoo RSL Club. The Sub Branch also ownes the building that is the Coorparoo RSL Club. The name to the club has been changed as of the 18th November 2008. The new name for the facilitity is the Coorparoo RSL and Community Club.It is the intention of the club to cater for the needs of returned servicemen and also the wider Coorparoo community.RegardsNeville VealPresident

Thank you for these comments Mr Veal.

Thank you for this interesting information on Coorparoo. I am trying to locate the position of a home called Rosebank, advertised in 1886 as "Coorparoo, Old Cleveland Rd, near the tram terminus, 15 acres of land, with furnished or unfurnished House, known as Rosebank, most charmingly situated". Was the tram terminus then where the restored tram post is now.

Thanks for this - we'll check this and get back to you.

I have been asked to write a short profile on Coorparoo Junction and given the time restraints I have been unable to locate on the net anywhere just when Coorparoo Junction really began to thrive as a shopping destination other than the opening of the Myer building in the 60's. Do you have any other info which would be interesting to readers other than the history of Coorparoo.Your assistance in this would really be greatly appreciated.Kind regardsCass Conwell

Can anyone tell me where to find more information about the Coorparoo Race Course, or where I might find photos taken at the course? Many thanks.

Dear Mr CroweWe will look into this for you and get back to you soon.Thanks for your interest.

Dear Mr Crowe,An article concerning the Coorparoo Race Course was found in the Telegraph, Thursday, February 24, 1966, page 31. It states" Punters once tried to beat the books there, on one of Brisbane's early racecourses....Today, on the same ground, 907 scholars are striving to master books of another kind for a more secure reward.The Coorparoo State High School, opened four years ago and teaching Senior pupils this year for the first time, is on the site of the old Coorparoo racecources.The course was last raced on in 1931. The land lay vacant for many years until construction of the school."Unfortunately, no photographs were located within our collection for the Coorparoo Race Course.Thanks again for your interest.

I was a student at Coorparoo State School for seven years from 1958 and I have a query about the children from The Queen Alexandra Home which was run by the Methodist Church. These children attended the Coorparoo School but I was wondering what their circumstances were to actually live at the home. I recall that some were from the country but can't recall if they were orphaned or whether their parents had fallen on tough times and had given the children to be wards of the church.Any advice from the JOL archives about this would be greatly appreciated as I am still in touch with some of my primary schoolmates unfortunately none of them can remember the circumstances.

For Cass ConwellMy grandparents owned a Fish Shop demolished for the building of Myers and my brother and I attended Coorparoo State School until 1949. There was a hairdressers next to us and a newsagent on the corner beside it. We lived in an attached house behind the shop. (I was born there - at home. I remember we has vegetables growing - lots of tomatoes -probably for use in the shop.dornell

Im trying to find any information on a house its The Austral on 189 old cleveland rd. im just trying to find out what its history is because inside is so random it might not have even been used for a house. If anyone can point me in a direction that would be greatthanks

Hi KellyWe'll look into your query and get back to you.Best Regards

I lived at Coorparoo for 26 Years and all my mates went to Coorparoo s School I have been looking for robert evens any help.I my self went to Buranda Boys And Cavindish rd HighThanks Ron H

I would appreciate any historical information on Coorparoo Creek...any personal anecdotes would be great too.eg. did anyone fish or go crabbing there?Cheers.

Hi Karen, please fill out our online enquiry form: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/askWe'll have someone have a look into this query for you and see what we have on Coorparoo Creek.

I am wondering if there is any further information on Eva Street Coorparoo. A friend's nanna used to live there and we went there as children to play in Majestic Park. I remember there were some shops in the street - such as a butcher but just wondering if anyone knows further info and if there is any historical significance or some interesting facts about the street? Thank you very much!

Hi Ron,Please fill out our online enquiry form:http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask.We'll see what we can find out about Eva Street for you. There may be some images of Eva Street/Majestic Park in our copy print collection for Cooparoo.In the mean time perhaps others out there might have some insights for you.All the best

Just offering a little feedback wrt the questions above about the Coorparoo Junction shops and about the Queen Alexandra Home. I lived in Gladstone St, Coorparoo from the age of 3 when we moved there in 1957 before Myers came to Coorparoo Junction. One shop I specially remember in that strip was the Dolls Hospital -- in fact we used to travel from Highgate Hill to visit the Dolls Hospital to get our dollies mended even before we moved there. I started school at Coorparoo State School in 1960 and remember Myers at Coorparoo going up around mid-year and then a little while later, the traffic lights going in at the intersection. Prior to that a teacher had to be rostered to walk us down to Coorparoo Junction (always known simply as "The Junction" when I was a child) and cross us over if we had to walk home in that direction. Re the Queen Alexandra Home, I am not sure either about the children's circumstances, but we did have a few of the little kids still in our classes at Coorparoo State School which was just next door across an unpaved lane, during the first part of 1960 -- I think only the girls and the preschool boys and girls were still in the home at that time and the older boys and children had already been dispersed elsewhere. The girls wore those plastic "jellybean" shoes and had thin clear plastic belts for their school tunics that were of the very cheapest kind you could purchase at the time. They were definitely not very well off at all, and all wore a very pale, limp and silky-looking tunic that I thought was rather beautiful like a softly draped 1920s frock and which I thought must have been from another school -- but which I realised later were actually our rather robust coarse navy blue school uniforms which had been unchanged for several decades, washed and re-washed (probably boiled in the copper) and handed down over the years through all the girls who had lived there, to the point that it did not even resemble the original. There was one of the Queen Alexandra children in our Grade 1 class with Mrs Gilbank -- a little girl with straight white hair, light blue uniform and jellybean shoes called Lucy whom I used to give my currant luncheon biscuits to on the steps at Little Lunch as she never had any food of her own for the break -- and my most vivid memory of Lucy is still of her upside down in the "S" for Scraps bin with her feet sticking out, looking for something she could pull out and eat : ( Also a terrible memory of a small, round, middle-aged lady running up to the door of our Grade 1 classroom in the Big School, the first one she came across in her panic, asking for help from our teacher Mrs Gilbank, puffing and carrying a limp, little barefoot Queen Alexandra Home preschool age boy in her arms whom she had found "run over" in Old Cleveland Rd or the lane outside. Soon after they were all gone and we moved up the road to the new Infants School and never saw or heard from them again.

I am a 'native' of Coorparoo, born 1952 and originally living in the house that had belonged to my father's aunt Maud DESHON, on Cavendish Road [ in front of Loreto Convent ]. Edward DESHON, died 1924, was my G. Grandfather and the builder of 'Kemendine' [ now demolished ] which stood on the present site of Loreto.Arthur DESHON was my Grandfather and Thomas my Father.Trams terminated at the small Cavendish Road shops near my home and the later electric [ trolly ] bus service [ Route25 ] had a turn around point on Belgaum Road [ later Dale St.] where they would occasionally drop one of the two poles that powered the bus. The electric bus service was later extended up the hill to Elgar Street.The name of Eva Street came from Evangeline KING, sister to my Grandmother Violet DESHON. Eva married into the Coorparoo BLUNDELL family and my father Thomas and Peter BLUNDELL, Grandfather to the country singer James, were cousins.The DESHONS resided at the site of the present Loreto, the KINGS at the site of the Xavier Home and the BLUNDELLS at 'Ridgelands', beside the Catholic Church on Cavendish Road.I remember the construction of the Myer complex.

Hi, just wondering if you had any further information on Robinson Street Coorparoo or Burkes paddock?

I attended Coorparoo State School from about 1955 until 1964 and even after all these years, I do often wonder what 'happened' to the children from Queen Alexandras home and my feeling are of deep concerned for their short and long care - no doubt there as no love and secruity for those children. Please I need to know the truth and/or information I can read.I have lived in the UK now for 41 years (mainly to escape an sexual and physical father along with his verbal and mental cruelty.If anyone would care to write, I certainly be delighted to know as much as I can. Did those suffer as maybe I did.

Is there any information about what the street names of Coorparoo are linked to???

Hi DennisPlease fill out our online enquiry form:http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask and let us know which streets in Coorparoo you are researching.

Dear Roger,I am wondering if you can identify the house opposite Loreto College that you lived in, as my in-laws live in a house there and it would be interesting to know some history. Their house used to be a doctor's residence I believe.

I understand that a building from toowoomba was transported to Crn of cav rd and goring street for mr & mrs Harrison. The front section was converted for use as the Coorparoo clinic. Property was later sold and then purchased for removal to Harty street.

Would anyone have s photo of this building?

Does anyone by chance happen to remember the Richardson sisters- Jeanette and Margaret- who attended the primary school and lived at the Queen Alexandra home at the time? Please let me know. My grandma and I would be very interested to know!!! :)Please feel free to email me!-Steph

1939 was the year sorry

Dear Paul,I am researching my grandmother's life at the moment. My grandmother remembers Queen Alexandra home around about 1939. Her mother passed away young when she was 6 and her father placed her sister and herself into the care of the home. She does not have fond memories of the place at all. Hated every moment. I'm sure there is more information there. Grandma doesn't want to talk about it much. Kind Regards,Stephanie Schrader.

My grandmother remembers Queen Alexandra home around about 1939. Her mother passed away young when she was 6 and her father placed her sister and herself into the care of the home. She does not have fond memories of the place. -- Kind Regards,Stephanie Schrader.

Does anyone have knowledge of Mansfield Private Hospital on the corner of Mansfield Street & Old Cleveland Rd Coorparoo. My Brother was born and died after 1 day in that hospital. Any information would be gratefulGary

I too am seeking information about the Mansfield Private Hospital. I have put in a request with the State Library of Qld. If I receive any information, I will post it.

I am the son of Keith Webster and Valerie Stevens, a 3rd great grandson of Samuel Stevens, one of the original landholders in Coorparoo. It was he who donated the land for the Coorparoo SS. I wonder if anyone knows where "Homewood", Samuel Stevens and his wife, Jane Colton's home was or is? My mother grew up and lived in Letchworth Rd., Coorparoo. Her father was Samuel Colton Stevens, son of Alfred Colton Stevens, who I think also lived in Letchworth Rd., Coorparoo. I think Alfred was the original Samuel Stevens' son.I grew up and lived in Beresford Tce Coorparoo and went to Coorparoo SS until the end of grade 4 in 1960 at which time I went to CEGS in East Brisbane.Mum also went to CSS from about 1926. She and her father used to buy vegetables from the Chinese market gardeners on the banks of Norman Crk. near Stanley St.I too remember the kids from the hostel next to the school but can't remember any by name.

I've since been informed that "Homewood" was in Shakespeare St., bounded by Old Cleveland Rd., and Milton Lane.

Hi StephenThanks for this and for earlier sending me this info on Ancestry. Somehow I only saw it recently and was going to write back to you after this week going to look at this site but could no longer find your comment to reply to. Was the information about site of "Homewood" from relatives and if so do they have any more information or photos?I have found that Samuel took up his land in 1860, one of the first to do so, and I think with the largest acreage. All his land was on the sth side of Old Cleveland Rd (the higher side) and he had 2 blocks comprising a total of 91 acres between Pembroke Rd & Cavendish Rd and a third block of 47 acres on the other side of Cav Rd (from which the 2 acres for the school was given) - a total of 138 acres. Most selectors took up only 1 block. So the location you describe was certainly within this area. Coorparoo Ck started at the top of Cavendish Rd, crossing Chatsworth Rd and thence to Pembroke Rd, turning then towards Shakespeare St and Wellington St, so it might have run through the part you describe or perhaps slightly higher up. It may have been nice to have the house fairly near a creek. I did wonder when I looked at the site why Samuel wouldn't have sited the house on slightly higher ground, since he owned so much of it, but perhaps being closer to their other property in Stanley St etc would have been an advantage?

Stephen, we bought your home in Beresford Tce in 1981 and raised 6 children very happily there over next 29 years. A young family with three children now live there enjoying the happy vibes we inherited from the Webster family My grandfather was Jack Halligan and the original Halligan home was in Shakespeare St. I remember my great aunts relating stories about rock hopping to Whites Hill in their youth. Janet Staunton

Hi Cheryl, Did you receive and further information from the State Library? Are you abel to share this information? I'm interested in the history of the hospital and when it operated. Cheers mark c