Friday, May 6, 2016

BRM 5.2 A Need for Government Housing - A locality no longer

A Locality No More

In 1962, Lord Mayor of Brisbane Clem Jones arranged with the Barclay Development Corporation to develop a small community behind the suburb of Sandgate. 1,600 residential allotments were created, and the first homes were completed in 1966.

A state high school, a Catholic school were also established, with second primary school (Norris Road State School) established in the late 1970s, followed by the opening of the TAFE college on Norris Rd in 1982.                                                                             Wikipedia:

Time to ask Questions.

There is still a huge question as to how Barclay Development Corporation, or perhaps the Barclay Overseas Development Corporation was selected to develop the lands.

When researching sometimes there are many questions that are raised, and which lend themselves to "Why?"

For me this was one of them.

Firstly how was so much land available,  and secondly what was the relationship between Brisbane City Council and Barclay Development Corporation?  The answer had to lie in housing or construction.

Anyone who has sold englobo land parcels, will tell just how difficult it is to get consensus from all landowners in a particular area, in order to create an estate.

So how on earth did the Brisbane City Council and the Department of Housing manage to acquire such large parcels of land?    Nothing can be found to explain why.

Another was why were so many English families housed in the original Barclay Development?

Perhaps then until disproven, a theory could be that it was all a case of some community leaders "thinking outside the square"

Were Barclay Overseas Development Corporation granted resumed council lands, as a contra payments for  involvement in skewering of Brisbane? 
Their Chairman visited in 1949.  Lots of dots could be joined, English financiers, English migration scheme, Government need for housingBarclay Overseas Development Corporation carried out projects world- wide.  Perhaps they were involved in many more projects than just those in Brisbane.

Barclay were also later involved in the rebuilding of Darwin after Cyclone Tracey, and they built the pre-fab houses for the staff of Bougainville Copper Limited in Bougainville.

If they were, then it certainly was smart thinking on behalf of both Lord Mayor Clem Jones and Mr Slaughter.

Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 - 1954) Sunday 27 September 1953 p 8 Article Illustrated  ... . So our street got the idea that nothing much is happening to improve Brisbane's sewerage. Many other ... plan it has: Laid 18 miles of mains and sub-mains; Tunnelled 200 feet deep under the Brisbane Biver ... 1669 words

Sewage had been a talking point since after World War I.  When the Nightsoil Depot was built on Depot Road, it was a very clean operation, according to a newspaper report in 1919.     Imagine reading this in today's papers!   
Mr Slaughter in 1949 was still awarding contract for the collection, from memory it was Hunter Brothers.

In the years following the end of World War 2 there was a desperate need for housing. 

In 1952 the Council introduced Zoning Ordinances for the first time,  and residents reported of men with tape measures wandering about the streets, which was a sure sign that their suburb was going to be sewered.

But before laying pipes and creating a facility to treat sewerage, pumping stations had to be built.  The costs of providing  these services were enormous.     Bickering between the different levels of Government was then as it is today.  Nothing seemed to change. 

There were financial schemes offered by the Federal Government for housing to be built by State Governments.

The following paper was laid on the table:Report of the State Stores Board for the year 1953-1954.
Dr. DITT)IER (Mt. Gravatt) (11.21 a.m.): I move-

'' That this House is cognizant of its responsibility to the people of Queensland as regards housing, and as successive Queensland Labour Governments have realised that home ownership is an essential to our Australian way of life and have contributed greatly to this policy , we appeal to the Commonwealth Government to co-operate with the States by providing the most liberal conditions to facilitate home ownership. I, as mover of the motion, and the seconder of it, realise that this matter has to be approached in a spirit of great seriousness..

The Queensland Government Department of Housing had undertaken a scheme of building 800 houses in Zillmere.  The houses were pre-fab and imported from France.  The reason was the great influx of English migrants who were arriving daily.

No doubt that Housing scheme also included the development of an estate at Bracken Ridge.  This large estate was developed to the northern side of Gawain Road some around 1959/60.  

The State Government suffered years of financial loss due to the failure of the French contractors to complete the houses at Zillmere.  The scheme was a joint funding arrangement with the Federal Government.

The land was that parcel owned by W. Davis, Lot 100. 

Reading a Hansard report from 1997, regarding Harold Dean, indicates that he would have been instrumental in not only securing the housing for Bracken Ridge but also for ensuring that the suburb was sewered.

He was elected the Council Alderman in  1952   By 1954 the population was 204.

 Photo Brisbane City Council Archives

472 Motion of Condolence 18 Mar 1997  (abridged)

Harold Dean was born on 20 February1913, the son of Andrew, a businessman, andEmily. Harold was educated in Brisbane at Sandgate State School and Brisbane State High before working in the Public Service, principally within the State Housing Commission

In 1952 Harold was elected to represent the Sandgate region as an alderman within the Brisbane City Council. He stayed there for eight years until he was elected as the member for Sandgate in 1960. Perhaps like all members who enter this place via local government, Harold's views were characterised by an understanding of the problems faced at that level, particularly in relation to infrastructure development and levels of financial assistance and subsidies from State and Federal Governments.

Above all else, Mr Dean was certainly an enthusiastic and strong local member, committed to his home turf of Sandgate and constantly trying to achieve more for the residents in his electorate. Whether it was trying to get ceiling fans installed in the local school, obtaining improved health facilities or advocating the installation of sewer systems, he was often vocal in his criticism of the
Government of the day.

He was the Opposition spokesman on community and welfare services, he was a member of the
Queensland Central Executive of the ALP from 1950 to 1955 and he was the past president and secretary of the Sandgate branch of the ALP. He was a patron of the Sandgate boy scouts, he was a member of the Lions Club, he was a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, he was vice-president of the Queensland Band Association, he was a member of the Musicians Union and he was a member of the Brisbane QATB Executive, which gives the House some idea of the broad interests that Harold Dean had.

Mr Dean also told Parliament

I might add that I have received hundreds of such letters. Every school in the Sandgate electorate, except Shorncliffe, where the population has not increased, has had increased accommodation. Seven extra schoolrooms have been added to the Zillmere school. The Secretary for Public Instruction has his inspectors out inspecting a site for a school in the Brackenridge area

Housing and the Zillmere problems were very newsworthy items in the 1950's

Agreement On Housing   The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930 - 1956) Thursday 31 March 1955 p 5 Article ... Agreement On Hwang The state Government's proposal for the selling of Housing Commission Homes ... valuation "Whilst it Is true the Government may sell some houses, at a profit It is' also true th

ZILLMERE SEQUEL MP speaks on pre-fabs  The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954) Thursday 27 May 1954 p 3 Article ... Housing Commission and the State Government about the true history of the Zillmere housing settlement. He ... ' spoke on the history of the Zillmere housing estate. He was constantly heckled by a group of me

An article from the newspaper of 8th March 1956 INQUIRY SOUGHT INTO ALLEGED DISAPPEARANCE OF 80 HOUSES  The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930 - 1956) Thursday 8 March 1956.

Apparently 80 houses were stolen!  Rather a political "hot potato".


After World War II the Federal Government introduced a scheme which gave rise to "Ten Pound Poms".

From Wikipedia (again)

The Assisted Passage Migration Scheme was created in 1945 by the Chifley Government and its first Minister for ImmigrationArthur Calwell, as part of the "Populate or Perish" policy. It was intended to substantially increase the population of Australia and to supply workers for the country's booming industries. In return for subsidising the cost of travelling to Australia—adult migrants were charged only ten pounds sterling for the fare (hence the name; in 1945 pounds, equivalent to £385 in 2016), and children were allowed to travel free of charge—the Government promised employment prospects, housing and a generally more optimistic lifestyle.

However, on arrival, migrants were placed in basic hostels and the expected job opportunities were not always readily available. It was a follow-on to the unofficial Big Brother Movement and attracted over one million migrants from the British Isles between 1945 and 1972, representing the last substantial scheme for preferential migration from the British Isles to Australia. In 1957, more migrants were encouraged to travel following a campaign called "Bring out a Briton". Coming to an end in 1982, the scheme reached its peak in 1969; during this year over 80,000 migrants took advantage of the scheme

That was a lot of people, and how were they going to be given housing?  

Building Zillmere

There was a joint funding arrangement between the Federal and State Governments to construct these homes.  The Zillmere housing project was one of many of these schemes.

In 1961 Brisbane voted and there was a new Lord Mayor.   His name was Clem Jones.  At the time complete sewage of Brisbane had not occurred.  The costs were huge, and the residents expected their homes to be connected to a basic commodity, and their protests had been voiced for many years.

Clem Jones and J.C. Slaughter devised ways to fix the long term problems. 

1961 saw the election of Clem Jones as Lord Mayor. Ald Jones, together with the town clerk J.C. Slaughter sought to fix the long term problems besetting the city. 

Together they found cost-cutting ways to fix some problems. For example, new sewers were laid 4 feet deep and in footpaths, rather than 6 feet deep and under roads. 

In the short term, "pocket" or local sewerage treatment plants were established around the city in various suburbs to avoid the expense of developing a major treatment plants and major connecting sewers.

They were also fortunate in that finance was becoming less difficult to raise and the city's rating base had by the 1960s significantly grown, to the point where revenue streams were sufficient to absorb the considerable capital outlays.

Work continued slowly on the development of a town plan, hampered by the lack of experienced staff and a continual need to play "catch-up" with rapid development. The first town plan was adopted in 1964

During Jones' 15 years in office as the head of the Brisbane City Council, assisted by the Town Clerk J. C. Slaughter, Brisbane underwent considerable change.

In 1961, Brisbane was a city with no town planning, many unpaved streets, limited water supply and few areas with sewers—relying instead on outhouses or septic tanks. Through the 1960s Jones successfully led the council to develop a town plan, seal roads, improve drainage and connect sewers to most of the city.

 The city council, under his stewardship, purchased city properties to build underground car parks, which were then topped with public parks and gardens

Bank Chairman's First Visit  The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954) Friday 24 October 1952 p 6 Article
... . Sir Geoffrey is chairman of the Nuffield Foundation, chairman of Barclay's Overseas Development ... Corporation, the Advisory Council Export Guarantee Department and the National Provincial Hospital's Trust

Barclay Overseas Development Corporation was attached to an English Bank.  They undertook massive projects world wide.  Perhaps then they were closely aligned with the English migration to Australia

While Lord Mayor Clem Jones entered into an agreement with Barclay Development Corporation, the next question is how was Willmore and Randell linked to Barclay Development Corporation?

Willmore and Randell were Sydney based land developers who specialised in subdividing large tracts of land outside cities, and creating new suburbs with hundreds or even thousands of building blocks, and providing infrastructure and community facilities from halls and kindergartens to other resort style features.

"In the 1950's the partnership split and Randell took over the Victorian and South Australia operations, and George Willmore had control of the New South Wales and Queensland operations. 

They envisaged becoming the "Woolworths of real estate", and eventually the company became one of the largest broad- acre subdivision firms in Australia."

However to finance these extensive projects they were a customer of Cambridge Credit Corporation Ltd.  This company went into receivership in 1974.  Cambridge Credit Corporation was the country's biggest property financing and development company in the late 1960's and early 1970's.  Its land portfolios was extensive.

Cambridge secured the land, subdivided it, installed sewerage systems, street kerbing and lighting, and then planned to sell the blocks for suburban housing.  In 1974 interest rates rose sharply, property prices dropped and new housing activity stalled, with that Cambridge was unable to raise fresh funds. 

Cambridge Credit held title to estates in Bracken Ridge. 

The relationships between these financiers, development and marketing of englobo estates was linked.  Unfortunately they did not provide any community facilities in Bracken Ridge such as a kindergarten.

Their contribution to estate developments is no doubt fully detailed in the family book.

In 1957, a major first happened, when Chermside Shopping Centre was built and opened.
We had never seen anything like this concept before.  But getting to it was rather difficult, and this report from Hansard detailing the cost of the bus fare is interesting.

Mr Dean though was trying to get some increased services, as this report from Hansard indicates. 

Mr. Dean, pursuant to notice, asked The Minister for Transport,-

With reference to the take-over conditions of the Rex Mitchell Bus Company by the Redcliffe Bus Company-

Cl) What area of Bracken Ridge district will be serviced by the Redcliffe Bus Company?  Bald Hills to Chermside drive-in shopping area and the city?

(3) Has there been an increase in fares from Bald Hills to Chermside shopping centre since the take-over? If so, what is the relative increase from the areas referred to?
( 4) What is the reason for making passengers alight outside Chermside shopping drive-in area on the main Gympie Road, thus creating a grave traffic danger to aged and infirm people?

( 1) "No part of the Bracken Ridge district will be serviced by the Redcliffe Brisbane Motor Service Pty. Ltd. The Bracken Ridge area was and still is being serviced by Mr. R. G. J. Mitchell.

The Commissioner for Transport has granted Mr. Mitchell approval to provide services between Bald Hills and Sandgate via Bracken Ridge which will result in improved services to the Bracken Ridge area."

(2) "(a) Bald Hills to Chermside Drive-in Shopping area-15 cents single.  (b) Bald Hills to the City-25 cents single."
(3) "There has been no increase in fares from Bald Hills to the Chermside Shopping Centre since Mr. Mitchell discontinued his Aspley-Bald Hills service on November 3 last."

( 4) "I have asked the Commissioner for Transport to have enquiries made in connection with this matter.

Willmore and Randell Estate in Bracken Ridge

The land which became part of the Willmore and Randell development seems to  be the two parcels owned by J Ferguson and J. McPherson. 

Had these blocks been subdivided as to their use in the 1952 Zoning Map, indicating schools and residential housing?     From previous information, there were many farmers living on the land

An old Ascot State School friend was one of the salespersons at the Bracken ridge estate, and while he probably have sold ice to the Eskimos, with charm and personality, from memory, sales in the estate were rather slow.

Back in the late 1960's I was one of those annoying Tupperware ladies.  Demonstrating the lovely ladies, the benefits of using plastic containers as the "perfect" storage solution.  The parties were fun, and enjoyable, and many of my customers were English ladies all living in the streets around the Bracken Ridge State School.

It was probably the first time that I enjoyed the company of "the English immigrants".  I did wonder at why so many lived there, but it never entered my head that perhaps that bit of usual trivia could be used 50 years later.

Stage 1 incorporated all the streets with "B" located around the Bracken Ridge State School.  Sometimes there were just two houses in a street, and then a fence, with broad acres behind. 

As more land was sold and developed Stage 2 began in Tallara Street.  Ron and Joan's first home looks rather stark against the landscape.  This was 1968.

Mr Harold Dean was the State Member, and Ron recalls meeting with  him trying to get something done about the roads.  

Eventually roads and services were installed, possibly as part of the responsibility of the developer, which was generally the case.

 At this point, finding the name of the owner of the lands prior to Council releasing the land, is not possible.  Somewhere in the bound minutes of the Council meetings this information is certain to be found.  In all probability it may have been stored in the depths of City Council. 

"The Cave" we called it way back then or lost in the floods in 1974.

As residents. we had no grocery chain, nor did we have access to Chermside Shopping Centre that had opened in 1957.  There was a limited bus service to Sandgate, but most of us became "two car owners".

Shopping and banking were done at Sandgate or Aspley.

By 1970, the Willmore and Randall sales office had moved up the hill a bit further, into Tarwarri Street.

Doug and Jan Evans recall purchasing their first block of land in Tulee Street, off Tallara Street, for $2850.

Around the same time, the area of Cramb and Harleigh Streets was sub-divided and the blocks sold.  

It had been a potato farm.  On the corner of Pellinore Road and Bracken Street, was a lovely old farm house. 

Little did I realise that it held quite significant historical value, or I would have kept all the photos that had been taken over my time in selling property.

Note: Any reference to Politicians in this material, is not in any way connected to my personal political persuasions, rather, it is to recognise and respect  their contribution to the benefits they have made for the residents of Bracken Ridge. 

Throughout my career, my involvement with so many on all levels, Federal, State and Council was done with mutual respect from each of us. Without their contributions, the suburb may not have become the vibrant place it is today.

Their willingness to listen to ideas and suggestions, and their friendship was greatly appreciated.

1 comment: