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BUILDING A GARDEN SUBURB.     

ASHGROVE AND ST. JOHN'S WOOD.

 

Where Royalty Was Entertained.

The first attempt to make Ashgrove a pros- perous suburb of Brisbane in 1884 met with only partial success, and it was not until the coming of the trams in 1924 that the suburb again sprang into prominence. The large estates were laid out under the most progressive town plan- ning principles, and a garden suburb sprang up almost overnight. Farther out lies St. John's Wood, which recalls the visit of the present King and his brother when they were mere youths.

ALTHOUGH the origin of the name

Ashgrove is obscure, it Is be- lieved that it Is derived from the Grove Estate, owned by the late  

Mr. Henry Holmes, a contractor held in high repute in the settlement days of Brisbane. For years the estate, which was known merely as the Holmes' paddock, was put to little use, although the family home was built on the extreme corner of the property. There came a time, however, when the expansion of Brisbane was such, that the subdivision of the estate for closer settlement appeared to be a pro- gressive as well as a profitable step. The coming of Dr. Lang's immigrants commenced in real earnest the settlement of Moreton Bay as an expan-   sive colony, and in the years that followed shiploads of immigrants were   deposited in Brisbane, and the city grew and expanded in all directions. The 'eighties marked the definite de- velopment of Brisbane as a town, as it was in that period that most of the suburbs of Brisbane were wrested from the bush. There was no reason why Ashgrove should not share in the land boom. The land was undulating and ideal for suburban residence; it was situated on the Waterworks-road, the main road leading to Brisbane's chief water supply. It was between two and three miles from the city, and the Enoggera and Ithaca creeks were within easy walking distance. Such were some of the advantages that were expected to induce the people of Brisbane to make their homes in Ashgrove, in 1884, when the Grove Estate of over 200 acres, was cut up by   Mr. Francis Fraser Holmes, an archi- tect, and son of Mr. Henry Holmes, and sold by Mr. John Cameron, auc- tioneer and land estate agent. The sale was fairly successful, and several people settled on their 16-perch allot-

ments.

NAMING THE STREETS.

It is a matter of local interest, as well as of historical value, to know how the streets of the new suburb were named. Holmesborough-street perpetuates the family name; Grove street, was called after the Grove Es- tate; Fraser-street (incorrectly spelt Frazer) was named after one of Mr. F. F. Holmes's Christian names; Celia was the name of his wife; Harry, one of their sons; Devoy-street was named after Mr. John N. Devoy (manager and director of Castlemaine, Perkins, Ltd.), an old friend and for a long time a near-by neighbour; Globe street was named after the Globe Hotel, city, the proprietor of which, was a close friend of the late Mr. Henry Holmes; and Brisbane-street, after the town and first Governor. It is interesting to note also that Stew- art-road was originally marked on the plan as a tribute to the late Mr. Alexander Stewart, another neigh- bour, but subsequently had been changed to Lindsay-street, in which Mr. R. A. Lindsay, an uncle of the grandsons of the late Mr. Henry Holmes, still resides. As a matter of fact all the decendants of the late Mr. Henry Holmes reside on the estate or in the vicinity.

Adjoining Holmes' paddock was a dairy conducted by Mr. Graham, whose name was given to that portion of the Three-mile Scrub road, known as Graham-avenue, when the paddock was subdivided, and sold some 15 years ago. In spite of the fact that these estates had been made avail- able for closer settlement many years ago, the district was slow In being thickly populated. For years the suburb lay practically dormant, and only made real and rapid progress with the advent of the trams late in 1924. Land which in 1915 realised £15 per 16

"A section 0f the suburb of Ashgrove, which is daily increasing in popularity as a residential area. "  

perch allotment is now worth not under £100.

METEORIC GROWTH.

It was due however, solely to the initiative and organisation of T. M. Burke Pty. Ltd., that Ashgrove has rapidly gone ahead in the last few years has become the most progressive   and best laid-out suburb of   Brisbane. Where there are now over 200 modern homes, six years ago was thick bush, such has been the meteoric rise of Ashgrove, due to what is probably the biggest real estate deal transacted in Brisbane. For   years the magnificent house prominently situated overlooking 250 acres   of virgin scrub on the Glenlyon Estate,   was the home of the late Mr. Alexander Stewart. Nothing was done to   disturb the natural beauty and tran- quillity of the spot until 1924, when Ashgrove came into prominence as a potential first-class residential area, Brisbane, about that time, was again crammed for space. Once more it was experiencing growing pains. Im- migrants were again pouring into the country, and new suburbs were rapidly being settled. People had money, and were quick to spend. There was the   urge for more room and better homes. It was the period of expansion, and 1924 marked not only the turning

point In the history of Ashgrove, but also an important period in the de- velopment of Brisbane, for at no pre- vious time had Brisbane expanded so rapidly and so far in all directions. This phenomenal growth may be gauged from the fact that the Bris- bane Tramway Trust approved of 12 new and important extensions between March and November of that year. The tramway octopus extended its ten- tacles for 10 miles in every direction, and the new works were estimated to

St. Joint's wood, wnere Prince George (now his Majesty King George) was entertained during his visit to Brisbane in the

'eighties.

cost something like £90,000. In addi- tion, single tracks were duplicated, and 30 more trams of the most modem de- sign were built. Railway services, too, were greatly increased, and the Tram- way Trust definitely embarked upon a policy of operating 'buses as feeders and pioneers for the trams. In order to finance all its undertakings, the Trust floated a loan of no less than £500,000. Such were the prosperous conditions of Brisbane in 1924.

History was repeating itself, and once again all eyes were focussed on Ash- grove as an outlet for the crowded areas of Ithaca, Red Hill, and Pad- dington. In 1922 there were insistent requests for the Ashgrove tram exten- sion. In 1923 there was much talk and excitement about the "proposed extension," and statistics had been gathered to show that the area to be benefited contained 571 houses, with a population of 2300. Such an urgent call could not be ignored, and on March 23, 1924, the Tramway Trust de- finitely decided to built the branch line. So great was the necessity for the line that it was actually the first of a dozen extensions to be commenced.

ON MODERN PRINCIPLES.

In the meantime, however-January 1, 1924, to be exact--T. M. Burke Pty. Ltd., had purchased from the trustee of the late Mr, Alexander Stewart practically the whole of the Glenlyon

Estate. From out of that bush the purchasers planned a garden suburb. The location and outlook were unsur- passed. Transport and domestic facili- ties were bound to come in a few months. The estate, which was named the Glenlyon Gardens, was laid out on modern town planning principles. Re- servations for playing grounds and breathing spaces were made, and everything that contributed towards an attractive residential area, and a remunerative Investment for the pros- pective householder, received careful consideration. Of the 250 acres, 84 were devoted to parks and gardens, and over. £7000 was spent on laying out roads and delightful drives. In March, the same month in which the tram extension was decided upon, Glenlyon Gardens were offered to the public, and such was the demand for allotments in this new suburb that fancy prices were paid. The average price for a 16-perch allotment was about £90; to-day the same land can- not be purchased for less than £150, and in favoured portions as much as £180 has been, reached. On March 3 the adjoining land, known as Frazer's Paddock, was purchased from Mr. James Frazer by the same firm. Tlic estate of 66 acres was portioned into 178 lots, after 26 acres had been

set aside for parks and gardens, roads had been mapped out at a cost of £500, and £1000 had been spent on a concrete and wooden bridge across Enoggera Creek to connect the two estates and give easy access to the tram terminus. Dorrington Park, in the same vicinity, was also acquired from the Presbyterian Church of Eng- land on May 11, 1924, and the same careful town planning principles were applied. Of the 22 acres, four were devoted to gardens and breathing

spaces. The amazing success of these sales hastened the subdivision of smaller estates in the Ashgrove dis- trict, and to-day the locality is served by no fewer than 30 shops. The dis- trict has become amazingly progressive, and the tram fares, which, in 1924 were 4d., were reduced to 3d. in 1926, and the service doubled. The Ashgrove tram service is regarded by the Tram- ways Department as one of the best paying lines in Brisbane, and is the only line that consistently shows marked increases in revenue and passengers each week. The streets in the Glenlyon Gardens arc named after native flora, and Mr. F. J. Moore, the then Brisbane manager for T. M. Burke Pty., Ltd., even went as far as to consult an old aboriginal who had lived in the district as to the correct names and their spelling.

Besides planning parks and gardens, in order to make Ashgrove a model suburb, all contracts stipulated that on the smaller allotments no house was to be built at a cost of less than £500, and on the larger areas not less than £600. In addition, Ashgrove, in Janu- ary, 1926, was declared a first-class residential area by the Brisbane City Council, and these two factors have helped to maintain Ashgrove's name as a garden suburb. It only remains for the residents to continue to carry out the original plans of the suburb and It will become the most beautiful

spot in Brisbane. Of the original estate, Glenlyon, the old home of the Stewarts, became the property of Arch- bishop Duhig, and was converted into St. Paul's Roman Catholic Seminary for the Marist Fathers. Grantuly, the beautiful home of Mr. J. K. Stew- art, son of the late Mr. Alexander Stewart, was purchased by Mr. F. J. Moore, and later sold to Archbishop Duhig for a convent for the Sisters of Charity. The Farnborough Estate, originally part of Glenlyon Estate, was acquired fully 30 years ago by Mr. A. G. C. Hawthorn, and he and his wife, a daughter of the late Mr. Alex- ander Stewart, still live there. Other residents of Ashgrove are Mr. Richard Trout and Mr. Denis O'Connor.

"HOUSE OF ENTERTAINMENT."

Farther out is St. John's Wood, a de- lightful spot that retains much of its original rusticity. When Brisbane was still a straggling village, and, its citi- zens were clamouring for separation, the Hon. Mr. McDougall owned a cattle station containing some 600 acres, which included St. John's Wood, part of Ashgrove, and stretched as far back as the Taylor Range. In the early 'sixties Mr. McDougall sold St. John's Wood to the late Mr. Somerset, then Registrar for Pensions, who dreamt and

planned of a magnificent home on his landed estate. The hills at the back were quarried for granite, which form- ed the principal building material, and, although the building had been started, Mr. Somerset was reluctantly compelled to sell, and about 1869 St. John's Wood passed into the hands of the late Mr. Justice Harding, who was destined to play an important part in making the district a scene of splendour and activity. The new owner not only com- pleted the mansion, but also effected many improvements to the estate. He increased his holding to 600 acres, stretching from Bailey's quarry to Trouton's old residence at Ashgrove, and from the late Sir Charles Lilley's quarry to the Glenlyon Estate. Later years the home was increased three- fold and extensive stablings were added, and St. John's Wood soon became known far and wide as the "House of Entertainment." The late Judge was a man of many parts. He planned and schemed and experimented with many subjects, but above all he dearly loved company, and almost all his life kept open house. There were many gay gatherings of the society of Brisbane at St. John's Wood, and all visitors of note were warmly welcomed at its portals. St. John's Wood became the brilliant social centre of Brisbane for many years, and it was in this charm- ing spot that the friendship of the subject with his monarch was renewed through the sons.

THE TWO PRINCES.

Among the most cherished of his possessions, Mr. Walter C. Harding, a Brisbane solicitor, and a son of the late judge, counts a bundle of faded letters which, in their simple enthusia- ism. reveals the friendship that exist- ed between Prince Edward, the future monarch, and young Harding, the future Justice of Brisbane. The let- ters show how close had been the sym- pathy between the future peacemaker of the world and the future peacemaker of a loyal and flourishing colony, and this friendship was continued by corre- spondence even after their separation. One can well imagine with what feel- ings of pride and almost fatherly in- terest, and with what warmth the judge welcomed to his home Prince Albert and Prince George (the present King), the eldest sons of his old friend. The visit of these noble youths to Bris- bane in the 'eighties not only gave him an opportunity of renewing the friendship through the sons, but also of proving the loyalty and affection of himself and the young colony for the Queen and the Old Country. Dur- ing their stay in Brisbane the two young Princes spent most of their lei- sure hours at St. John's Wood and Ashgrove. The children of the judge were of the same age as the boyish Princes, and together they rode and rambled through the country and fish- ed and boated on the Enoggera dam. Tiley had no cares, these free young children, and when the holiday came to an end they took an affec- tionate farewell from the friends of their father.

As stated before, the late Judge   Harding undertook many schemes, and   one of his greatest hobbies was an   orange grove, 10 acres in extent, which   he had established on the other side   of St. John Wood. The grove, which   cost thousands of pounds, was cared   for by Mr. Bailey, a botanist. To-'   day, practically nothing remains of that pleasant grove. The judge, too, spent

a considerable amount of money in   forming a passable road to his pro-   perty, and Mr. Harding still remem-  

bers a handful of chained convicts under a ganger and "red coats" build- ing the road. The deep cutting past

the Ashgrove State School was the   result of their labours. The road, too,   led to the Enoggera waterworks, and  

straggled on in the form of a track to the gold diggings. In the early days the Enoggera dam gave much concern to the scattered settlers, as periodic- ally the by-wash caused tremendous floodlngs, and the water, sometimes 20ft. high, swept through the district. On one occasion Mr. Justice Harding and one of his daughters nearly lost their lives, and a baker was carried downstream for about two miles. St.

John's Wood Is now owned by Mr. F.   M. Anglim, and the Embassy Cabaret situated on the land keeps it still

an attractive spot.

Another point of interest in Ash- grove is the State school, which had its origin as the result of the gener- osity of the late judge. He pre- sented the Government of the time with the site for the school, and added to the gift a substantial cheque for the school-house. When the Glen- lyon Estate was cut up in 1924 an offer was made to the Government to exchange five acres of land on the Glenlyon Estate for the li acres on which the school stood. Eventually the offer was accepted, and the school was shifted over the road to its present site, and at the same time opportunity was taken of making

valuable additions.

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