Queensland Place Histories - Kelvin Grove

This inner northern Brisbane suburb's name derives from the 1868 purchase by Joseph Bancroft of land in the area and on which he built a residence called “Kelvin Grove Park.”  It is believed that he named the property after Kelvin Grove Park in Glasgow.  Dr. Bancroft was a renowned botanist and scientist and a prominent member of the community.

 Bancroft home at Kelvin Grove, ca. 1868.  John Oxley Library image no. 6713

Booth’s Bakery in Kelvin Grove, 1937, John Oxley Library image no. 185376.

Buildings

There are, or have been a number of significant buildings and sites in the area now encompassed by the suburb of Kelvin Grove, including:

  • the remnants of a World War 2 air raid shelter which survived as a bus shelter on Kelvin Grove Road, near the corner of Prospect Terrace.  This is a good example of one of the many air raid shelters built around the city during World War 2.
  • the proposed Government House.  When the old Government House, in the grounds of what is now the Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point, became unsuitable as the residence of Queensland’s Governors, a portion of Victoria Park in Kelvin Grove was proposed as a suitable site for the construction of a new Government House and approximately £6,000 was spent on foundations.  However, the site was abandoned when “Fernberg” in the nearby suburb of Paddington became available and which remains the residence of the Governor.
  • Hunstanton House situated in L’Estrange Terrace was built in 1914 by William L’Estrange, a surveyor who became manager of the Brisbane Electric Supply Company.
  • Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Kelvin Grove Campus.  A brief timeline of the use of this site and the development of the present university campus follows:
    • 1942 – Teachers’ Training College (or sometimes Queensland Teachers’ Training College)
    • 1944 – Senior Teachers’ Training College
    • 1950 – Queensland Teachers’ College
    • 1961 – Kelvin Grove Teachers College
    • 1974 – Kelvin Grove College of Teacher Education
    • 1976 – Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education
    • 1982 – Kelvin Grove Campus of the Brisbane College of Advanced Education
    • 1990 – QUT

Timeline

Some important dates in the suburb's history and development are:

  • 1864 – Army Barracks established.  These later became the Gona Army Barracks.
  • 1875 – Kelvin Grove State School opened.
  • 1897 – The railway line passes through Kelvin Grove.
  • 1901 – The tramline passes through Kelvin Grove.
  • 1961 – Kelvin Grove State High School opened.

Subdivisions

As the population grew, various housing subdivisions were developed, some of which included:

  • Lilley’s Hill Estate – 1888 - 67 allotments
  • The Long Hill estate – 1911 – Park Street area
  • Bancroft Park Estate – 1914 – Bancroft Street area

“Clydesdale,” a Kelvin Grove residence, ca.1910.  John Oxley Library image no. 146811

Streets

As the suburb continued to develop, the names of many early settlers or prominent residents were commemorated in the names of Kelvin Grove's streets:

  • Bancroft Street – named for Dr. Joseph Bancroft
  • L’Estrange Terrace – named for William L’Estrange
  • Herston Road – named for Robert Herbert (first Premier) and John Bramston (lawyer and attorney-general)

More information

Find more photographs of Kelvin Grove in the State Library's collection.

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I moved a house from 5 School St. about 5 years ago , above the doors in the 13 foot ceiling house are fan-lights to let in air etc. They have a kangaroo and an emu holding a sheld with only 4 state emblems.Do you know if this was an army house in the past? Thanks for your time.

HiWe will look into this for you and get back to you.Thanks for your comment.

Hi! my mother and her family have lived in Kelvin Grove/ Red Hill for around 60 odd years, a few years ago she purchased 30 Bancroft st K.Grove and I was wondering about the history of the place as there are references around the home that refer to this place as 'Bancroft House'. There is alot of old brickwork under the house eg fireplace and what looks to have been a well?Any information would be greatly appreciated!!We are very curious!

Hi DanielleWe'll take this as a reference query and get back to you.Best Regards

Hello, We are researching Eureka St, Kelvin Grove as we live in the wonderful old St. Can you point me to any more specific reference points?

Hy LyndaWe have a range of resources that might be worth looking at. These include Post Office Directories, Real Estate Maps, and books about Kelvin Grove. The Post Office Directories came out each year up until 1949 and are particularly useful as they show the names of people living in the street.We are open from 10-5 every day of the week if you'd like to come in and have a look at these.

Hi im looking for any information on the gibson store on the corner of eureka street in kelvin grove. photos anything. if you could help that would be fanasticregardsjared

Hi JaredPlease enter your query into our online webform: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask .We'll have a look for information on the Gibson store in Kelvin Grove and get back to you.Regards

RE:- I moved a house from 5 School St. about 5 years ago , above the doors in the 13 foot ceiling house are fan-lights to let in air etc. They have a kangaroo and an emu holding a sheld with only 4 state emblems.Do you know if this was an army house in the past? Thanks for your time.Comment by Alex — 23 April, 2009 @ 10:06 pmI have lived in School St since 1053 and ther is no No 5. Was it Blamy St. My mother's family hae lived here since 1922.

Hello, I am investigating the history of Propsect Terrace, in particular, 47 Prospect Terrace, Kelvin Grove. I would appreciate your advice on how to find out the age, history, photos and any other information on the property. Thank you for your time.RegardsDeb

Hi Deb,The Brisbane City Council has produced a excellent guide on how to trace the history of a house. This guide is available online at http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/planning-building/building-selling-renov… State Library of Queensland holds Post Office Directories and old photographs which may be useful with your research. If you would like further assistance please contact us via on online enquiry form - http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-us

Hi ,Are you able to give me any information about 19 monro street, kelvin grove. I have been told it is one of the oldest houses in the street.Thank you

Hi DianneThank you for your question. Could you please fill in our online enquiry form and our reference librarians will look into this for you. Here is the link – http://askslq.altarama.com/reft100.aspx?pmi=SEKkiqXPG2RegardsMyles Sinnamon – blog editor

Hi, I am looking into my family history. I was told that Reginald John Tame and his wife Florence lived in Kelvin Grove and purchased a shop. I have an address of 329 Kelvin Grove Road that there son lived at. Any information that you have would be great. Regards Mel.

Hi MelIf you would like submit your question via our online enquiry form, one of our library staff will assist you. http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-us

Require image of overlooking Kelvin Grove Road towards Bancroft House and Bancroft Park and Normanby Bridge . Could you please help.

Hi MerleIf you would like to fill in our online enquiry form with your details, one of our helpful librarians might be able to assist you with your question. http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-usRegardsMyles Sinnamon – blog editor

Wondering if you have any information on Tim Bowman, storekeeper. I have a relative Thomas Bowman who was a storekeeper at Kelvin Grove at that time. Wondering whether connected, maybe the same person. What more do you know about Tim Bowman?

Hi RobynThank you for your question. Could you please fill in our online enquiry form and our reference librarians will look into this for you. Here is the link – http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-usThanksMyles Sinnamon – blog editor

Hi, After some digging through Trove I have found announcements regarding construction and opening the North Brisbane Intermediate school at Kelvin Grove (or Victoria Park) through 1935 . Built as a "depression Era brick school" the Central and south wing was built sometime in 1935 image was to open in the New Year. see https://library.brisbane.qld.gov.au/client/en_AU/search/asset/33715/0 By the end of 1935 school was "nearing completion". References to children attending the new school but no official opening is recorded for the school. Aerial photos taken on 20th April show the north wing completed but the grounds look fairly rough and unsuitable as children's playing fields.In Feb 1939 Ned Hanlon opens the State Air Raid Patrol School (in preparation for impending war) and by October 1939 there are complaints that the school has 10 empty classrooms.There is more of a backstory to be had as to why this school appears never to have been fully utilised pre-war.Kind regards.

Does anyone know the history of L’Estrange Tce in Kelvin Grove?

Hi LisaIf you would like to fill in our online enquiry form with your details, one of our helpful librarians will assist you with your question. http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-usRegardsMyles – State Library of Queensland

How can I find out if there was a Kelvin Grove Oval in Brisbane as my great grandfather's funeral notice said his house was in Victoria St, Kelvin Grove Oval, Brisbane.

Hi, If you would like to fill in our online enquiry form with your details, one of our helpful librarians might be able to assist you with your question - https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/plan-my-visit/services/ask-us