Sunday, May 8, 2016

BRM 5.6 Bracken Ridge Growth and Business Development

With a huge catchment area of housing, and a rising population, the need for schools became a priority.

The Bracken Ridge State School was opened in 1957.  The school grounds covered a block from Binaburra Street to Tallara Street.  Adjoining the school at the northern end abutting Tallara Street was parkland.

Pre-schools were not introduced in Queensland until 1973, although there had been plans to do so since the 1940's.   The Pre-school at Bracken Ridge State School opened after the kindergarten in 1976.

The next school to open was Norris Road State School in 1977. 
It was sited on Lot 98, owned by Whitehill, Norris, Barbour and Barbour, on the site of a dairy farm, Norris Road State School opened.

 We enjoyed a long  association with the school.  In those early days the condition of the oval was a serious concern,  a great deal of money was spent to ensure the children could use the facility.

The P & C were active, and we needed to raise funds to spend on much needed facilities around the school. The oval being one of them. 

We operated a tuck shop, and organised "garden competitions", encouraging the kids to have pride in their school and to learn how to get their hands dirty.   And we ran very successful fetes!

A time capsule was buried near the entry.

Wonder where all these 1974 babies are today?   Some headmasters included David Buckley, Kev. Jones and Adrian Brown.  Brian McGrath was President of the  & C, for many years, Betty Fuller was Secretary, and Kris Herron the treasurer.

Year 4 in 1983, we thought it was terrible that the kids had to have a "demountable" as a class room!

St Joseph's Primary School opened in Eldorado Street Bracken Ridge.  Possibly the land was originally owned by W. Loudon.

Shortly afterwards the girl's college, St John Fisher opened.  It was located on the corner of Bracken Street and Bracken Ridge Road  which was previously known as Bald Hills Road, and ran as the connection between Sandgate and Bald Hills.

The land was Lot 100 recorded in 1938 as being owned by W. Davis  A rather special young lady now attends!

Most of the secondary school children attended Sandgate State High School.  No bikeways back then.
Private schooling for boys was at St Paul's Bald Hills, an Anglican school, Nudgee College at Boondall or St Patricks at Shorncliffe

In 1982 the Bald Hills TAFE College was built in Norris Road Bracken Ridge, also on the Whitehill lands.  Talk about confusing, the only thing relative to Bald Hills was the railway station!  The name change to TAFE Queensland Brisbane's Bracken Ridge campus obviously eliminated the confusion.

Around 1986 funding was sought and approved to operate a Community Youth Support Scheme in Bracken Ridge.  Neil Richardson a local solicitor was the President, with myself as the Treasurer.  We operated as a training organisation  for the youth, and were reliant on the Government guidelines and parameters.

In 1988, a project which we ran, won a National Award for Jaycees, Australia wide.  Quite proud of that achievement, but nothing would have been possible without the dedication of the staff.

We operated out of another original farmhouse, then owned by Michael Spatuzzo and his wife Lisa.  Long term Bracken Ridge residents, and builders in the suburb and commercially.  The house just a little way past the Bracken Ridge Milk Depot which then was on the corner of Quinlan Street and Depot Road.


Gawain Road strip shops were the first built by the early 1970's.  Then followed the Tavern Shopping Centre in Barrett Street, and the Ampol Service Station.

Later a Mobil service station was built on the corner of Denham Street and Telegraph Road.

Churches were constructed and over time childcare centres flourished.  At the time zoning provisions on the land made it difficult to build a church or childcare centre on residential land.  The optimum was to purchase an acreage property and then develop and built the structures. 

Good examples include Baptist Church on Norris Road.  The Uniting Church was the home of many community event.  

The decision to build Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints in Lanyon was a controversial one, the spires became a landmark.

The library commenced in 1987, inside the newly constructed Neighbourhood Centre.  25 years after gaining suburb status, finally we were rewarded with the Centre. 


Bracken Ridge Municipal Library Opening - Alderman Keith Murray with City Librarian Jenny Cramb
Author: Brisbane City Council
Subject: Bracken Ridge--Brisbane--Queensland
Date: 29 September 1987
These are the only two photo held by the Brisbane City Council archive!
Brisbane City Council, may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with acknowledgement.
Publisher: Adobe Acrobat 9.4.7 Image Conversion Plug-in
Creator: Adobe Acrobat 9.4.7
File Size: 8.51 MB

Our office was an extremely busy one, and we sold around 25 properties per month.  Within Bracken Ridge the trend was to begin in a starter home, sell it, then move into a more established home in a different location.  Many of us chose to "go up the hill", to enjoy the afternoon sea breezes, which was the one benefit that we sold to everyone.   Around this time also new housing estates of low set homes were being developed in the Pine Shire, people enjoyed the "no more steps".

Developers used to frequently visit our office, and eye the open land, or englobo as it was known. 
In 1986, Northwind Estate in lands opposite the radio mast at Bald Hills, was developed and many houses constructed by Long Homes.  

We had never heard of "Long Homes" but they had purchased the ailing A.V. Jennings group.  One day the sales manager came into the office and asked if we would like to be the Master agents.  Certainly was the reply, but we had no idea what that entailed.

Long Homes had a policy of presenting homes totally finished complete with paths and gardens, and lawns. Previously spec homes were just that, no landscaping at all.  Bare house, surrounded by bare dirt.   

After a particularly heavy rainy season, I was showing people through the Northwind Estate. 

The grounds were supposed to be finished, but I managed to leave my "heels" and the complete shoe in the mud that surrounded the house.  In those days mobile phones were a bit of a novelty, and so a complaint was made to Glen Spink, the sales manager about the condition of the houses. 

Unknown of course that the State Sales Manager, Alan Soutar was in the car listening to my slight rant!
Never again did a salesperson leave their shoe behind in the mud of a Long Home! 
Now Alan is the Executive General Manager of A.V. Jennings NSW.
"I began my career in building materials and moved into building when I joined Long Homes in 1986. Over that time, I’ve been involved in most aspects of delivering a dream home to our customers.
 In 1995 AVJennings was acquired by Long Homes, so I’ve spent a number of years with the company.Alan Soutar Executive General Manager, AVJennings NSW, AVJennings traces its history to 1932 when "proud old builder" Albert Jennings founded Australia's most famous house building company in Melbourne. Jennings was a household name until the mid-1980s, when the group moved into commercial building and was almost destroyed by the market crash of the early 90s.

Jack Chia's Sydney-based Long Homes and Simon Cheong's Singapore-based SC Global later resurrected the residential building business, with Mr Milkovits joining in 1999."

Another estate was opened called the Oaks Estate.   Long Homes built many homes there as well. We had a long business relationship with Long Homes. 

By now all spec builders were following their example and houses came "finished".  In 1986 Villa World Limited, another major spec home builder had commenced building.  The built hundreds of houses round Bracken Ridge, including the College Green Estate behind Nudgee College.

Both Long Homes and Villa world became popular with investors.  There were several "investment" schemes which were the subject of investigation for their practices.  

At the time many investors had purchased over valued properties, and were losing equity.  Many were caught financially.  

As time has gone, those properties have probably doubled in worth.  Something they couldn't have envisaged back then.    

The map drawn in 1984, shows how the suburb looked back then.   All around was open space.  Parcels and parcels of opportunities waiting to happen.    The only other place in Brisbane that had similar green belts was the Browns Plains area.

Geographically Bracken Ridge was bounded by the railway to the west, Telegraph Road to the south, Bracken Ridge Road to the north and the lagoons and racetrack lands to the east.

Except for one small pocket.  At the time it was known as Elizabeth Park an A.V Jennings estate. developed around 1979. 

The boundary of Bracken Ridge ended at the entrance to the Estate.  The area adjoining was called Nashville, later, Brighton.

Without a doubt, Keith Murray made a huge contribution to the development of Bracken Ridge area
Keith and his wife were business people and he stood in the 1985 Council Elections when Sally Ann Atkinson became Lord Mayor.  Keith and family  moved into Wilpie Street,

He was energetic, and approachable.  Under his "watch"  Bracken Ridge Neighbourhood Centre was built.  A beautiful hall, complete with a library, and set in the picturesque Ferguson Park.

So many local community projects and developments happened from 1985 onwards.

Keith had a "green side" with his philosophy and that has probably transcended into the number of parks, and sporting facilities that are enjoyed by many today.

The next major project to affect the suburb, was the construction of the Gateway Bridge and the Arterial Road.  Bracken Ridge was split at the northern boundary.

The motorway was constructed to connect the then-recently opened Gateway Bridge to the Bruce Highway in the north and the Pacific Motorway in the south. Construction on the road commenced in September 1985 and it was opened to traffic in December 1986.

Originally, the route was called the Gateway Arterial Road because the road was not at motorway status, the road passing through three large roundabouts north of the Brisbane River. Therefore, to cope with the heavy traffic, the government began upgrading the road in 1987. Duplication to four lanes and grade-separation was completed in several stages between 1991 and 1995

During this Council administration, the Green Street Concept of zero lot housing was introduced.
The first land releases were in Fitzgibbon, on the north side of the railway line at Carseldine.

In 1988 World Expo came to Brisbane.

What lasting memories we had of that wonderful 6 months, and the ability to walk around the globe each visit.  We sure learnt how to wait in lengthy queues.   The New Zealand Exhibition was one of the favourites.  There was even a monorail!.

1988 it has been said, was when Brisbane became a first class city. 

We were able to release the shackles of a "boring" town, to one where we could finally eat at a city restaurant on a Sunday!

The 80's also saw most of us walk the Gateway Bridge!

Back in Bracken Ridge a bus service to the City was a very major and most welcome improvement.

Slowly but slowly the green open spaces around Bracken Ridge disappeared.  We would often shake our heads and wonder where all the people were coming from

During those years the Defence Housing Authority undertook a scheme to purchase homes for its personnel.
Later the parameters changed, and they required new homes.  Again our office worked in conjunction with several local builders.

This was also about the time that Enbrook Heights Estate was developed in stages.  Eric Oxenford was the developer, and the very first home was built on second block from the Telegraph Road corner, 6 Denham Street.  The "colonial" style home was extremely popular, and was built by Colleen and Rivers Conway.   Rivers built a series of different "spec" homes..  Often we would sit in the office, with a bottle of white out, and amend his standard plans so people could "customise the designs".  One Saturday we sold 4 of his designs in 2 hours! 

There were many local builders, and a couple that come to mind  are B & S Homes, Brian Langton,  Hartley Crouch, Don Johnson, Barny Gastaldon and John Thompson.  Each of these builders had a personal network of clients, who built not once but often 3 times with one of these preferred builders.

We developed an estate in conjunction with an Australian who was working overseas, in Quinlan Street.  It was the first one, and new "ground".  Extensive engineering and pumping station updates were required to enable the land to be sewered.  This allowed subsequent development.  The first townhouses were built behind the Mobil Service Station (as it was) in Denham Street.   The lands at the top of Phillip Street were sought after.  Fireworks in Brisbane can easily be seen.  I remember when the Gateway Bridge was first opened, and how visable it was from these high lands. 

Yet for decades the farms could not attract buyers.  If only we could turn back time!  Land speculators would again be out in force.

In 1987, almost 30 years ago, the Brisbane City Council Library was opened.

Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson did the honours, along with Keith Murray, and the "dress-ups" were part of storytelling. 

 Library Photos from Brisbane City Council Archives

A very unfortunate business partnership split meant my relocating to Taigum.  Our office still serviced the Bracken Ridge area, but this was one of the speed bumps that regretfully caused me a change in direction.

The Taigum Shopping Centre was first opened in 1982, by Peter Harburg.  Later extensions were carried out, and Woolworths and all the associated stores increased the size dramatically.  What a day, there was no parking for miles around, we had extreme difficulty getting to the back door of our shop!

After Keith retired, Carol Cashman represented the area.  She also showed her genuine concerns and the wish to promote and expand the facilities whenever possible.   Teresa Gambaro and Gordon Nuttall, both were involved with projects and would always have the time to share thoughts and ideas on how to make improvements.

In 1991 the population increased by 60% and was 11,675, in just 15 years.
It was almost impossible to keep up with the changes in the suburb.
The next major development was the Coles Shopping Centre built at the corner of Telegraph Road and Norris Road.  A major supermarket, and an internal "shopping mall".  The suburb was catching up with the modern world.  Perhaps the biggest tick of approval came from the kids. 
Around 1994, Rod Chiapello opened the very first Mc Donalds.  Needless to say the local children were very impressed.  
Rod has devoted his time and energy into the Community in every way possible, since the first day.

Along Hoyland Street, construction began on the building of a rehabilitation hospital for people with an Acquired Brain Injury, or ABI.  The hospital is run by Queensland Health, and is under the umbrella of the Prince Charles Hospital Rehabilitation Unit.

As someone who knows firsthand exactly what an ABI is, and the wonderful job that the staff at the Prince Charles Hospital Rehabilitation Unit do,  let me share the centre's purpose and aim.

The Jacana Centre provides comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment and rehabilitation for acquired brain injury clients. Rehabilitation aims to prevent and reduce the disability associated with brain injury, and focuses on managing the disability from a physical, psychosocial and vocational viewpoint. The ultimate goal of this service is to achieve community reintegration of clients.

Unfortunately it never occurred to me until conducting this research, that as someone with an ABI, how fortunate some of us have been with our recovery, and for me, something that has taken years

While the hospital was built and became such a worthwhile project, it was the community who assisted them in many different projects.  The Bracken Ridge Central Lions Club were fully supportive of the facility, and donated of their time and resources, for additional improvements for the patients.

The members of the Lions Club have had a very important and long involvement with the Bracken Ridge Community.  Always willing, no matter what the project, even house moving!

Our last home in Bracken Ridge was on 3 acres at Norris Road, Bracken Ridge.

The Council Reservoir easement adjoined our neighbour's acreage.  Their home was way up the top of their land.

The bus stop was at our driveway.  Our horses and cows would regularly get a "pat" from those waiting to catch the bus. 

Progress, and this is our property today. 

We had the occasional bracken fern growing along with all the original gum trees.

What stories those old gum trees could tell.

Here they have stood tall and proud since Captain Cook sailed by in 1770.   

They have seen amazing progress.  From just 84 residents in 1921 with 40 dwellings in 1938,  207 residents in 1954;  7017 in 1976 then increasing to 11675 in 1991 and in 2011 to 16,799.

Due to expansion at the Taigum shopping centre we had to relocate, and a name change followed, we became Raine and Horne Carseldine, and moved to the Carseldine Shopping Centre next to the station.

A second office was opened with move back to Bracken Ridge to an office in Gawain Road in 2002.

In May 2003, my life changed forever, and my real estate career ended with an explosion.

Had that not happened, would this story have been written?  Perhaps not, as before then my interests did not lie in the historical events and research.  Sometimes we have to re-invent ourselves, and follow a different path.

Those are the positive aspects of my "second" life.

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