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Chapter 8 – Consumer Society 1990-2008 and Beyond


Australia 1990-2007

The early part of the period was marked by high unemployment especially of youth, up to 25%, with low inflation of less than 2% and a very prosperous economy, if you had a job. Multiple income families where the norm along with welfare families where there was no job. Prices were relatively stable and gradually the unemployment level dropped and stabilised around 4-5% level.

Pollution of the environment was increasing and attracting more attention and the public was more militant about changes in their local neighbourhoods. The NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) syndrome was becoming more prominent. Large governmental enterprises continued to be privatised in order to make them more efficient and more workers were being laid off as redundant. Retraining was the watchword for many provided they were not too old, which in many cases, meant over 40 years of age.

Street kids, graffiti, crime hysteria driven by the media and assisted by some politicians, tax avoidance and welfare cheating all combined to make the times frustrating. They also made many people increasingly cynical about politicians and their promises, which in turn caused many to turn to alternative political parties, some of which were extreme. Scapegoats for the troubles abounded and the ‘quick fix’ type of solution became all too common.

Evidence of illegal drugs can be found in parks in the form of bongs for smoking marijuana, bottles used for chroming and syringes for injecting. The needle exchange scheme has lessened the number of syringes being thrown away in public spaces and now it is mostly the paper wrappers off the syringes that are left behind.

The use of legal drugs, such as alcohol used to be evidenced by beer and spirit bottles left behind but now it is more likely to be cans or bottles of cola mixed with rum, vodka or whisky. They seem to be the most popular drink for young people who are not used to the bitter taste of alcohol.

Tobacco smoking has declined significantly as people become more aware of the dangers to their health and with the government restricting its use in many places.

The government undertook campaigns to warn people of the dangers of: Hiv-Aids, unprotected sex, asbestos, motor exhaust gases, lead in petrol, carbon dioxide emissions, diabetes, heart ailments and obesity, amongst others. Warnings were placed on cigarette packets which showed photos of people with diseases caused by smoking. Accompanying the gruesome photos was a table of statistics listing the annual rates of death: smoking tobacco – 19,019, excessive drinking of alcohol – 2,831, use of illegal drugs – 863, murders – 203.

Divorce has risen, non married partners and parents are more numerous, single mothers are more common, often because the father disappeared, civil marriage is increasingly popular and church attendance has declined but religious affiliation seemed fairly stable.

The booming business financial sector of the 1980s was replaced with a more subdued and cautious approach while several of the corporate ‘high fliers’ were prosecuted and some jailed for their activities in the 1980s. The mining boom of the late 20th and early 21st centuries stimulated the economy and increased the demand for skilled labour. But the financial turmoil of 2007-8 ended the long boom period as credit became scarce and business slowed.

More ‘ordinary’ people were investing in the share market as a means of setting aside something for retirement and superannuation schemes, aided by government legislation, were flourishing.

Landmark decisions by the High Court favoured the Indigenous people. The Mabo case erased the concept of Terra Nullius and paved the way for Aborigines to claim land rights. Many highly educated and very able professional Aborigines skilfully developed their case and many white people supported them. However, while Aboriginal people have gained much the same rights as whites the levels of poverty, poor health, imprisonment and unemployment are still too high and still have to be fully addressed.

Membership of trade unions declined as the old ‘smokestack’ industries declined and more workers were entering the professional ranks and joining associations which did much the same as trade unions did but they were not trade unions; the Australian Medical Association, Chambers of Commerce and Trade Associations.

Wars and rumours of wars abounded and the Australian Defence Forces increasingly took part in peace keeping operations in several places. Australia went to the two Iraq wars with much protest against joining the second one and troops are still there after five bloody years. The Vietnam Veterans have been fighting for recognition of war service maladies which governments are always reluctant to grant.

Workplace Health and Safety legislation by the Queensland Government made many changes to work practices and work places, with careful planning to remove any likely dangerous items which might cause accidents. Preventative measures included wearing protective and easily seen clothing, smoke alarms, fire prevention measures, handrails on elevated places such as a roof while work is being done there, removal of hazardous materials such as asbestos or lead paint, special slow driving areas such as those around schools. These measures push up the immediate cost of production but save much in the long term by avoiding costly accidents and their effects on the families involved.

Child protection laws were tightened in response to violent and abusive behaviour towards children, with severe penalties for those found guilty of offences. Measures to curb domestic violence were taken with special training for police officers who have to intervene in some very nasty incidents. Bullying in schools and workplaces was also addressed with training for staff members who are primarily responsible for detecting this form of abuse and preventing it from happening.

With the decline of the old extended family more parents have had to resort to child care centres to look after their children leading to an enormous expansion of these services.

Young people are staying longer at school because higher skill standards are required as jobs become more technical; political parties are foreshadowing the day when all young people will go on to Senior before leaving school.

The status of women had risen steadily as they have achieved equal rights with men before the law, in financial matters, in business, in politics and in social relationships.

Homosexuals have achieved most of the rights that heterosexuals take for granted and further equalization is planned.

Asian and African migrants form a growing proportion of the population with equal rights, often enforced with anti-discrimination legislation. The religions of Asia and Middle East are growing in importance.

Flexibility of shopping hours has been beneficial for shoppers but not to shop workers as it is much harder to get people together for social events as they have different days off work.


Census Year Population

1991 6,329

1996 6,297

2001 6,498

2006 6,348

As in the previous period the population has remained stable. But with new building regulations encouraging more unit and higher rise buildings it is expected to rise. This will occur especially in the Playfield Street – Kittyhawk Drive high rise apartment complex area.

Pollution Control

This is not a new problem it is as old as the village of Downfall Creek and the first records tell of the attempts by the Kedron Shire Council to enforce the public health regulations governing the slaughterhouses, tanneries and fellmongers.

Toxic Waste

In 1907 R J Jackman had to build new premises before his licence to slaughter would be renewed; Chong Foon was threatened with prosecution because of the bad smell from his slaughterhouse; A C M Campbell complained that he had been unfairly treated because of the blood manure in his paddock but admitted that he created a nuisance when he carted manure; he was ordered to desist carting any more slaughter yard manure along the roads and to bury without delay the heap in his paddock.

In 1908 the Health Department Committee had to take action to prevent pollution of Kedron Brook by fellmongers and tanners. In 1922 the State Government had to deal with a burst dam at Gibson’s tannery polluting Kedron Brook and the Kedron Shire Council tried to conciliate.

The slaughterhouses ceased to be a problem for Chermside in 1931 when they were all closed and the State Government took over the abattoirs at Cannon Hill while the tanneries closed or moved out of the district as housing moved into the area. But that was not the end of the problem for in the development of Huxtable Park in the 1980s drainage was undertaken to remove smelly water and the bulldozers uncovered filthy smelling tannery waste which had to be dug out and neutralised . Also every now and again people protest about some ground that may be contaminated because it was the site of a former tannery and there might be arsenic in the soil; in the 1970s Craigslea School had playground soil removed and replaced with fresh soil.

However the stream pollution continued with grazing animals dropping manure and people dumping rubbish in them, including the content of fish tanks and weeds from the gardens.

In 1917 the boys from the Chermside State School used to swim in “a pool in the creek near the school”, probably Somerset Creek. It was inspected by Dr Kelly for the Department of Public Instruction and condemned because it was polluted by cattle, had a soft mud bottom which the children stirred up and swallowed and if the children had skin breaks they could contract tetanus. But, outside of school, some people still used the creeks for their weekly bath and swimming


When Chermside State School was built in 1900 Gympie Road, the main thoroughfare, provided easy access for the community and the only traffic was horse and bullock vehicles; in 1900 the motor car had not long been invented and it was confidently thought that it would never replace the horse, which left manure all over the roads.

By the late 1970s, Evan Daniels (Head Teacher 1976-78) noted that the noise from Gympie Road was always a problem but, when the traffic lights on Rode Road changed, the roar of starting traffic was so bad that one could not hear the phone ring in his office which was located near the road.

The Telegraph 19 October 1979 reported:

At Chermside GO really means STOP – When traffic lights outside Chermside Primary school turn green, lessons stop. Mrs D Neale, a Grade two teacher, said that on some days the noise was so bad that she had to give the children written work instead of the usual oral work. The children have to speak louder to be heard.

Noise pollution along the main roads in Chermside is growing as the traffic density increases; the large trucks carrying heavy loads are particularly noisy. The ordinary traffic noise along Gympie Road is enough to make pedestrians shout rather than talk to communicate with each other.

Sirens of ambulance, police and fire brigade are significant along the major roadways at all hours, but are most noticeable in the late night and early morning hours when residents are sleeping, or trying to sleep. However the horses are gone with their pollution, but the keen gardeners miss it.

Electronic music is a major source of noise, especially when it is played ever more loudly by people at parties which often go on until the early morning. This tends to get nosier with the increasing density of accommodation which is caused by building a second house on some blocks and blocks of units on others. The problem is further exacerbated with the occupancy of these small units by young people, to some of whom, continuous loud music is a normal feature of life.

Automobile exhaust gases

These form another major pollutant and are most pronounced along the major roads which have been described as “the smokestacks of the new millennium.” The fine and ultrafine particles in these emissions are linked to atherosclerosis or ‘hardening of the arteries’ which leads to heart problems and, if not treated, death.

In the US, high ultra-fine particle counts have led to new laws such as in California where it is illegal to put a school or day care centre within 150m of a freeway. With the dependence of Chermside on motor transport there is a real danger, along the heavy traffic roads such as Gympie, Hamilton and Rode, from the increasing volume of vehicle emissions.

Wheelie Bins

In 1984 the Brisbane City Council issued new wheelie bins to assist with rubbish disposal and at the same time banned the backyard incinerators. This reduced the smoke pollution in the city and was followed up by the yellow top wheelie bin to collect recyclable materials which would other wise go into land fill. Large rubbish collection stations were set up throughout the city were the rubbish was concentrated and sent to a major land fill where it was finally deposited in water proof pits.


In the 1990s the Brisbane City Council began installing gross pollutant traps on creeks to strain out the larger pieces of rubbish which get into the creeks. These are like giant steel sieves set in concrete through which the water flows and the rubbish is trapped; they are emptied periodically into large trucks. Growth of vegetation firstly, in creek beds is encouraged to slow the flow of flood water and spread the silt and secondly, on the banks to prevent excessive erosion of the area.


In the 1990s a concerted effort began to eliminate the dangerous asbestos cement sheeting which was so prominent in the houses of the early post-World War II building period. Strict regulations apply to the removal and disposal of the asbestos now that the danger of this widely used product is more fully understood. Fears were voiced when the old Dawn Theatre was being demolished in 2005 about the large amount of asbestos sheeting that had to be removed. The demolishers had to state, in the local newspaper, just how they intended to deal with the sheeting before the fears were allayed.

Health Services

The Prince Charles Hospital

By 1995, with new medical procedures and new ideas developing rapidly, it was necessary to spend $80 m on a major upgrade which would extend over five years. It incorporated extended care facilities, rehabilitation and day care facilities with a new block and expanded operating theatres. The old Prince Charles Hospital block built in 1960 was demolished to make way for the new buildings; it had served its purpose and could not be adapted to modern hospital technology.

By the 50th anniversary on the 13 October 2004 The Prince Charles Hospital was performing 1800 cardiac surgical procedures each year, and over the 50 years there had been 248 heart transplants, 87 lung transplants, six heart and lung transplants and the first heart-lung-liver transplant in Australia.

On 1 August 2005 development, costing $85m began to expand The Prince Charles Hospital into a major general hospital for the Northside of Brisbane. Stage 1 saw the building of new general emergency department, two new medical wards, a new critical care unit and two new operating theatres added on to the existing theatre complex. It was completed in about December 2006.

Stage 2 followed and was completed in about December 2007 and included expansion and refurbishment of some of the hospital’s current services, including the expansion of day surgery and recovery services and the collocation of the current children’s ward with the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Also 120 extra hospital beds and an eight-place renal dialysis unit were added. In 2008 the staff expanded to 3,500 professionals.

Beneke’s Bush

After several years of campaigning and planning between Greening Australia, The Prince Charles Hospital and the Neighbours of Huxtable Park Inc a remnant of the original bush on the western end of the hospital block, measuring about 4.92 hectares, along Webster and Rode Roads was dedicated for posterity in October 1995.

This is one of the few remaining areas of the original bushland in the local area and consists of a regrowth of the original stand of dry sclerophyll woodland of mixed eucalypts. In 2007 there were a few old growth trees measuring 800mm in diameter and 25-30m to the top of the crowns, but the rest is young growth of between 100mm – 150mm diameter interspersed with some of 300mm. They are all very straight as befits an open forest with tuft grasses growing in some sections; local volunteers planted some 200 native species in the remnant.

The are many eucalyptus species including spotted gum, ironbark, stringybark, grey gum, forest red gum, as well as a few hoop pines, wattles, melaleucas, silky oaks and many small shrubs.

During World War II it was used by the US forces as a bomb storage site for 250 (113.5 kg) and 500 pound (226 kg) bombs when the preparation for the roll back of the Japanese army was gathering momentum .

Ironically the name of the bush is taken from a German settler family which lived on Rode Road near the entrance to the hospital where Heinrich Beneke used to cut wood from the area and sell it as fuel; maybe he gave a wry smile when the dedication took place.

It is an eerie feeling to stand in the remnant of primeval bush and watch the traffic lights attempt to control the increasing traffic on Webster and Rode Roads during the morning peak hour; how much time do people spend sitting in their cars waiting?

Holy Spirit Hospital Northside

This private hospital stands in the same grounds along side of The Prince Charles Hospital and was opened on the 30 July 2001. It is a private non-profit hospital jointly owned by the Sisters of Charity and the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters. The original Holy Spirit Hospital was located on Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill and was sold in about 1999; it is now the Brisbane Clinic.

Holy Spirit Northside has 162 bed accommodation, eight operating theatres, two cardiac catheter theatres, emergency centre, neurosurgery, endoscopy centre, day surgery centre, oncology centre and specialist medical centre. Costing $70 m the hospital employs about 500 people in full and part-time employment.

Green Cross Veterinary Clinic

In a society as wealthy as Australia health care extends to animals, not just the ones that work but also those that provide company and recreation to people. Whenever there is an example

of animal abuse people are revolted and call for measures to prevent it happening again.

Probably the first veterinary clinic in Chermside opened in 1957 and the practice was focused on farm livestock with the vets travelling as far as Gympie to attend sick or injured animals. The clinic was located on Gympie Road opposite the Shoppingtown in the building which currently houses PC Easy, a computer business.

Dr Tony Thelander took over in 1973 when the focus was changing to the care of small animals, mainly family pets in the suburbs. During the 1990s the clinic moved into a house on the corner of Thomas Street and Hamilton Road. After acquiring the two adjoining houses on Hamilton Road the three were merged to form the present large building. This refurbished clinic was opened in November 2000.

The technology has changed greatly over the years with the use of x-rays, ultrasound, blood testing, computerised technology, including record keeping and the use of microchip implants which can be scanned to identify an animal. A wide variety of drugs are used especially in the control of arthritis as pets grow older while other treatments such as physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and acupuncture may be used.

Today the veterinary clinic is able to consult with a city wide network of Veterinarians who specialise in the treatment of various problems and also some who specialise in certain animals such as birds or fish.

One of the problems facing the community today is the disposal of unwanted pets, especially cats and dogs. Between 2002 and 2006 the RSPCA in Brisbane has had to put down 53,000 cats alone and the State Government is looking for methods of reducing the number of animals killed; one method is to neuter all animals except those used for breeding. The clinic has always provided a service of finding homes for pets that are brought in by people who can no longer look after them.

Native Title

On 3 June 1992 the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in Mabo v The State of Queensland, ruling that the treatment of Indigenous property rights based on the principle of ‘terra nullius’ was wrong and racist.

“It is imperative in today's world that the common law should neither be, nor be seen to be, frozen in an age of racial discrimination.” – Thus the High Court ended ‘terra nullius’.

The Court ruled that Indigenous ownership of land has survived where it has not been extinguished by a valid act of government and where Aboriginal people have maintained traditional law and links with the land. This legal recognition of Indigenous ownership is called Native Title. The Court ruled that in each case native title must be determined by reference to the traditions and customary law of the Indigenous owners of the land.

Some people were afraid that the judgement would take away the land on which their homes were built; they had been manipulated by opponents of the Indigenous people. As it happened the law change made little, if any, difference to Chermside and district. But it did give a psychological lift to the Aboriginal people living in the area because they now had some means to redress the wrongs done to their ancestors and from which many of them still suffer.

It also made the white people realise that the Indigenous people were aware of their rights and were making progress in claiming and using those rights. Many organisations and individuals began to openly acknowledge the dispossession of the original inhabitants and pay them the customary respect due to their status.

The Aboriginal people were claiming the same rights that the white people already had, in the sphere of land ownership and use; they were not claiming any special rights. This was only part of the great 20th Century movement of equal rights for all people in Australia no matter what colour, race, gender, religion or sexuality they were.

The first were women claiming equal rights with men in the franchise, equal pay, borrowing money, ownership of property, recognition as individuals, among other rights. The Women’s Liberation movement of the 1960s caused much heartburn to many conservative Australians.

Migrant groups had to claim their rights in the face of discrimination from earlier migrant groups who acted as though they had superior status because they arrived earlier. The names given to the new migrants were often derogatory: The Irish “drank like fish, bred like rabbits”; the Italians “greasy wops”, “dagoes”; the Chinese “the yellow devils”; displaced persons after World War II “reffos”; the later English arrivals “winging Pommies”; the Vietnamese Boat People “taking Australian jobs”; the Asylum Seekers “Queue jumpers” or “they could be terrorists”, with the Commonwealth Government leading the way in this last phase.

The Legacy of Murphy’s and Early’s Paddocks (Cont from Chapter 6)

The original 204 hectares block of bushland in Dead Man’s Gully, purchased by William Murphy in 1865, has became, in the 21st Century, a prize of inestimable value. Today the primal bush is all gone and the land it is surrounded by housing and commercial buildings and provides one of the largest areas of parkland in Brisbane.

Due to a set of fortuitous circumstances, it remained largely intact and free of development until after World War II; the Chermside area was far enough from the city centre to retain some of its rural character and there was plenty of room for building development.

The western section was separated in the early 1880s and, in 1921, became Marchant Park and developed into a major cricket centre.

Little building was done on the remainder till the post-war period saw an unprecedented wave of house building in many parts of Brisbane, including Chermside. The north east and south east parts of the paddock were developed for housing, leaving the remainder to develop into parkland, sporting and recreational spaces.

Early’s Paddock consisted of four blocks totalling about 19 hectares on the corner of Gympie and Hamilton Roads. It was never part of Murphy’s paddock and was bought by the storekeeper, George Early, sometime possibly in the late 19th or early 20th Century.

This area was flood prone and remained undeveloped except for the strip of houses along Gympie Road and in Playfield Street. In 1957 this area was developed and drained to become the site for Allan & Stark’s Drive-in Shopping Centre.

In 2008 the area is geared to the private automobile with extensive basement and roof top parking on the Shoppingtown, as well as a City Council Bus transit centre off Hamilton Road. The Australian Tax Office and the Commonwealth Government Offices are on the north side of Banfield Street with the Brisbane City Council offices on the western side of Gympie Road.

Tower blocks of up to 10 levels of units are rapidly spreading along Playfield Street on the eastern side of the Shoppingtown, replacing the traditional 50 year old houses on their separate blocks of land.

On the eastern side of the newly extended Kittyhawk Drive, which now links Hamilton and Murphy Roads is the Chermside Centre Hub which incorporates:

The Municipal Library which includes meeting rooms for local community groups and a coffee shop.

On the east side of the library is the Aquatic centre which incorporates an outdoor swimming pool and an indoor heated therapeutic pool with physiotherapy services and a high rise triple slippery dip tower.

North of these two centres on Kittyhawk Drive is the large Kedron-Wavell Services Club, three hockey fields, two of grass and one with a synthetic surface and a large open car park.

To the north of the hockey fields is the Chermside Historical Precinct in which is located the Voyager Craft Centre, the 9th Battalion War Memorial Museum Collection and Property Trust and the Chermside and Districts Historical Society Inc

The remaining area on the east of Kittyhawk Drive reaching to Somerset Creek is set aside for affordable housing with at least four tower blocks of about 400 units.

In 1865 William Murphy bought the paddock as a speculation, and, unintentionally, provided the citizens of north Brisbane with a huge area to develop in the heart of suburbia. For his part, George Early’s Paddock provided the land for the Shoppingtown. (Aerial photo of Shoppingtown and Hub needed)

Third Chermside Municipal Library

David Hinchliffe, Chair of the Brisbane City Council Recreation and Health Committee, in discussing the proposal to build a new library at Chermside remarked “The council has the land and the RSL has the money.” He was alluding to the fact that the new library would be a joint venture between the two organisations.

Costing $2.7 million the new library, on the corner of Kittyhawk Drive and Hamilton Road was opened by Lord Mayor Jim Soorley on Friday 17 January 1997. The building covers approximately 1,500 m², the size of a 50 perch block of land, and five times bigger than the old library. In 2006 the library held 85,000 items of which 80,000 were books in the reference and lending sections, the remaining 5,000 items were audio visual, multi media, compact disks, video tapes, digital video disks and audio disks. The latest addition was the facility which allows members to download books from the library computers into their personal MP3 players.

The Chermside Library, the biggest in Brisbane, is a Hub library in that it is the control centre for 9 smaller libraries in the North East Region of the City of Brisbane.

Managed through a network of computers in all departments, the library is connected to the internet and email system. Within the library is a further system of 44 public access monitors consisting of 34 for general use, 2 for research, all of which are connected to the internet, 2 dedicated word processors and 6 more for catalogue or index use.

The library is connected to the Brisbane City Council libraries throughout the city making it one of the three largest city libraries systems in the world. It encompasses 32 suburban libraries and 1 mobile library with a total of some 1 million items all, or most of which, can be ordered by members from home via the ElibCat website and collected at a designated library.

The highly trained specialist library staff of librarians, library technicians and library assistants consists of 22 part time and full time women and men, led by a Hub Team Leader who also supervises the 9 connected libraries in the North East Region. The staff, which is overwhelmingly female, contrasts strongly with the 1898 and 1909 situations when women did not rate a mention in the administration, they could only be members.

Technologically, the 21st Century Chermside Library contrasts strongly with the two earlier ones in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries on the corner of Hall Street and Gympie Road. Each a product of its time and technology, each is serving the demands of its time and each changes with time but all adhere to the same basic ideal of the Downfall Creek Recreational Club and Library of 1898:

The diffusion of Knowledge among the Members by the Establishment of a Library and Reading Room; and if practicable, by providing Lectures or Evening Classes

However, the second part remained un-fulfilled until the Hub was built.

The Chermside Library Hub

This addition of two fully equipped meeting rooms, a small kitchenette, a coffee shop, an open veranda dining area and library extension, costing $2 million, was officially opened on Saturday 20 March 2004 by the Lord Mayor Cr Tim Quinn – an addition of 500 m² which brings the total library area up to 2,000 m². The Coffee Shop is leased to Kedron-Wavell Services Club which works closely with the Library.

The addition of the Hub finally equipped the modern library with proper meeting hall facilities which had disappeared when the old Chermside School of Arts was demolished in about 1980. As there are over 150 community organisations active in the Chermside district, the need for a moot centre was obvious, and urgent; progress, it seems, comes in fits and starts.

In June 2005 the Brisbane City Council payment centre was opened in the library with several assistants to accept payment of most services provided by the BCC.

So the story, begun in 1898 with a small collection of books, continues, and the dream of the founders lives on. What will our dreaming find after the next 110 years?

Computers in the 1990s

In conjunction with the widespread growth of the Internet since the 1990s, personal computers are becoming as common as the television and the telephone and almost all modern electronic devices contain a computer of some kind. The information age gathered pace as the internet developed with a multitude of specialist sites offering seemingly endless streams of information, often at not cost to the user, apart from the service provider charges; it saw telegrams superseded by email which gave almost instant communication to any part of the world from the computer room at home.

The internet and information highway as a means of communication has become as important to Chermside as Gympie Road is for transport of people and goods.

The telephone facsimile was supplemented by the email and the typewriter, after about 120 years, all but disappeared. There were reports that mobile phone (mini computers) companies were targeting children as young as 10 years old because the market for the older people was saturated; the pace of change was increasing.

Social Effects of Computers

People, including the elderly, are becoming more computer literate.

Programs are available for practically any type of business, job or amusement.

Computers are used in virtually all business and most homes along with the internet.

Children are raised watching shows and playing games on computers.

People can become isolated using home entertainment, home shopping, email or phone contact and travelling by private car. This can be a problem especially for the aged so that senior’s services and centres become more necessary.

Children and teenagers can become obsessed with the more macabre websites and be enticed into self-destructive activities such as the suicide of two teenage girls in April 2007.

Paedophiles use the web to trade images and entrap lonely young people

Since the mid 1990s computer users have been able to upgrade their computers by downloading the programs and paying by credit card. This method has been carried a step further by many different business firms to allow customers to order goods and services, arrange delivery and pay for them on the internet.

These include the major supermarkets, specialty stores, southeast Queensland's two major cab companies, department stores, clothing stores, tickets for everything from concerts to football matches with seating plans, new DVD rental services will deliver movies to your home, also video taping of films. Long-distance education is offering courses allowing students to use the internet to complete their university degrees as well as assisting campus-based students, booking travel and accommodation arrangements and the end is not yet in sight.

This new mode of shopping could bring about changes to traditional shopping, where the customer has to physically go to the shop to buy the article. As programs are developed to allow an online customer to examine goods in great detail there may be little incentive to travel on traffic choked roads to the shop. This could cause changes in the modern one-stop shopping towns with their huge parking facilities; perhaps the vast basement parking caverns may be used for water storage like the ancient rock cut cisterns.


Disability Support

Much work has been done to improve the life style of disabled persons by making provision for them so that they can more easily move around the shopping centres and other public buildings.

There are disabled and senior parking spaces, ramps and lifts in place of steps, hand rails, wheel chair access, walking frames access, disabled toilets, sound signals at pedestrian crossings and specially shaped tiles on footpaths to help partially sited persons to feel their way with their feet. On the

30 November 1991 an access ramp for disabled swimmers was opened in the swimming pool at Chermside Aquatic Centre

When the old building of the Chermside State School was removed to the Historic Precinct it was placed on high steel posts until the Society discovered that a lift had to be installed, at a cost of some $60,000, for disabled access. Since the cost was too great the building was lowered to low set level and a ramp installed for wheel chairs; this was required of a public hall under the current legislation.

Local Government Offices Return to Chermside

In 1999 the North Regional Business Centre, a $6m, 62,100 m² building, was erected for the City Council on Gympie Road opposite the Australian Tax Office. It was officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Jim Soorley on 20 January 2000 . This houses the Brisbane City Council offices for the Northside and is a movement of the local government back to Chermside after it relocated to Brisbane in 1925. The old Kedron Shire Offices were located about 100m north along Gympie Road opposite Murphy Road on the other side of Downfall Creek; the site of the new offices is near where the old cattle dip was located.

Even closer to the consumer is the local government office located in the Chermside Library where all Council rates and charges may be paid while the rate payers are browsing.

Global Warming and Climate Change

In order to limit the damage done to the atmosphere many changes have been made by the City Council such as bus fleet operating on natural gas, toilet cisterns which deliver half flushes, urinals which don’t use water and interior lighting which switches on when someone enters a room and switch off when they leave. Water tanks have made a dramatic return; banned in the 1970s as an anti-mosquito measure, they are now subsidised by the State Government and the Brisbane City Council.

Due to global warming, Chermside, like the rest of South East Queensland, has become much drier in a prolonged drought with rainfall being only half of the average over the past 50 years. Water meters were introduced in the early 1990s to enable charges to be made according to use, with the drought they can also be used to check on how well people are conserving water.

For many years watering of gardens was limited to certain days of the week, but with the drought new Level 1 restrictions were imposed in May 2005 when the average daily consumption was 1,007 million litres. In April 2007 Level 5 restrictions began and by mid-September consumption had dropped to 528 million litres. Level 5 restrictions mean no lawn watering, no pool water and bucket watering of gardens at designated times on designated days; tank water can be used as people wish.

By the end of April 2007 the average consumption of water had dropped to 155 litres per person per day, while the government was aiming to reduce it to 140 litres; that target was reached soon after and usage dropped to about 122 litres following rain in September and Brisbane water consumption was down 33% on the previous financial year.

Water storage dams have reached levels of about 15% capacity and a large network of pipelines was built by the State Government to channel drinking water from north of Brisbane to the south and west linking various towns and cities; rain in September raised the dam levels to 20% capacity while a wet period in December-January 2008 raised them to 25%.

In 2006 some 75,000 people migrated to Queensland from other states, mostly into Brisbane and the South East exacerbating the already critically short water supply. In 2007 the migration continued at a rate of 1000-1500 per week and reached 2,000 per week in June 2007.

With the drying of the soil cracks appeared, as they often did in the earlier regular dry season, but they are persisted for longer periods as the dry continued. This earth movement began to affect some buildings by altering their footings (foundations) and then their structural supports. The Bayside Star reported:

As a result of the seven year drought, Bracken Ridge Hub including the ward office, Library and community hall had to be immediately evacuated last Tuesday because of structural damage….. They had one hour to pack up all necessary items and equipment and vacate the premises.

The news report went on to quote a local locksmith who had been responding to a spate of calls from residents with lock and door problems due to minor shifts in floors. A later report said that the buildings at Bracken Ridge may have to be demolished and a still later report noted that the local councillor and staff had been able to move back into their quarters from the cramped temporary demountable buildings. The Library re-opened temporarily but the threat of demolition remained.



In April 2004 late at night, a group of young people, including James Bachelard 34, an information technology expert, were walking home through 7th Brigade Park from Gilhooley’s Bar & Restaurant where they had been celebrating Bachelard’s recent promotion. On exiting the park at Hodgkinson Street, they met a group of young males and an altercation broke out; Bachelard fell and hit his head on the kerb sustaining fatal injuries.

Subsequently four youths were charged, three found guilty and sentenced for manslaughter. Not only was a man killed but three others ended up in jail – one silly confrontation with four young men and four families being affected. The youngest one of the offenders was on bail waiting trial for punching a teenager earlier in the year.


Chermside has its share of deliberate destruction that goes under the name of vandalism but often it is not noticed except by those immediately concerned. One such example is the stealing of newly planted flowers, shrubs and trees in parks or the slashing of sun shades over children’s play areas or the stealing of newly laid turf or the endless stealing of the smaller cycle/walking path signs in parks.


This is a more vicious form of vandalism and occurs too often. In 1999 the newly built toilets at Kidspace in 7th Brigade Park were burnt in a $60,000 blaze one night by a group of youths; they were subsequently ‘dobbed in’ by their families.

In May 2006 on one night five fires lit by vandals in Chermside and Geebung burnt the Marchant Park cricket curators compound, containing expensive machinery; damaged Kidspace, torched a crane on a construction site; burnt a shade cloth at a John Wesley Gardens and lit a large grass fire in 7th Brigade Park. Four adults all 17 years and one juvenile 15 years were charged with arson which destroyed about $289,000 of property.

Three of the above, two aged 18 and one 19 were sentenced to between 3 years and 18 months for their alcohol-fuelled ‘arson rampage’. The cricket club has since spent $230,000 to build new fire proof storage sheds and replace machinery; they were assisted with a $50,000 grant from the Council Liveability Fund and a $100,000 gift from ex-Lord Mayor Clem Jones who was an enthusiastic supporter of Warehouse Cricket.


Painting or scratching something such as words or pictures on a surface without permission of the owner is vandalism and illegal; it is an ancient practice and has often been used as a form of protest.

In Chermside it is aided by spray can paint packs which, judging by the number of empty cans found lying around, are readily available and eminently usable for chroming and graffiti. The user can graffiti a wall and add his tag or signature which proclaims to other graffiti painters that he owns the work; it is a claim to fame, a statement of defiance, an attempt to bolster his image or he is just ‘having fun’. Then using a handy plastic drink bottle he can spray paint inside and suck the vapour into his lungs, then he can walk on air and be the lord of all he surveys, for a while; others get the same effect with alcohol, but you can’t graffiti with alcohol.

For graffiti painters who wish to improve their technique there many websites which offer information on the subject; a Google search yielded 37 million such sites.

The problem with stopping the graffiti

is to catch the offenders, who often operate by night and are constantly on the look out for police and security patrols. One Brisbane Northside group used to meet at a well known take away food outlet in the evening and then plan their night’s operations. Travelling by car they can operate over long distances far from where they live.

The State Government through its Youth Justice Service in the Department of Communities tries to counter the graffiti problem by its Street Artists program. These are young people who, led by an artist, paint murals on public spaces with the aim of discouraging the graffiti people from defacing that space; the process has mixed success working well in some places but being graffitied over in other places.

The Brisbane City Council uses two methods; one is to simply paint out the graffiti as soon as it appears which discourages the graffitist as his work is destroyed as fast as or faster than he can paint. The Brisbane City Council also employs a Community Graffiti Reduction Officer who devises strategies to foil the graffiti painters such as keeping clear lines of sight on obscure places so that anybody lurking there can be seen, growing appropriate vegetation such as hedges or trees close to wall spaces and so obstruct the graffiti painter or hide his work. All of the above three methods are in use at the Chermside Historic Precinct, with mixed success.


This is less destructive but very time consuming activity, which can waste police time in fruitless searches and cause unnecessary anxiety for the public. A poison threat occurred in May 2006 when a note, scribbled on an electric power box at Nundah, was found threatening to spread rat poison in schools and a popular children’s playground on the Northside ie Kid Space; green pellets were found there but proved to be harmless.

A second note appeared in August and the whole charade was repeated. A large number of police was diverted to the search assisted by the staff of several hundred schools on both occasions. From the point of view of the perpetrator it was a great success, but the community found extremely annoying, to say the least.

These threats have to be taken seriously as sometimes one is a genuine threat as happened twice at Top Taste cake factory in Kedron when metal was found in cakes and at a Sizzlers Restaurant where the food had been contaminated.

Sexual Attacks

These have been occurring on the bike-walking tracks in the parks during 2007 when several women have been assaulted by a man or men hiding in the shrubbery. The most recent one resulted in the victim punching the assailant in the face and fleeing to safety. Police have been patrolling the tracks on bicycles and quiet motor bikes but no one has been apprehended; free safety classes for any woman who wants to learn self defence have been offered by the Council and other organisations.

Community Groups

In recent years, legislation regarding safety, privacy, legal rights and GST, has been enacted and community groups have to take these laws into consideration prompting many to adopt a more formal structure.

Consequently many, if not most, of the middle to large groups are incorporated, have Australian Business Numbers, a constitution, by-laws and elected officials. Many of the smaller less formal groups operate effectively within less structured frameworks but if they want to apply for grants then they have to be sponsored by an incorporated group.

Another important influence is the widespread practice of making of cash grants by all levels of government and private firms to help community groups. If a group wants a grant then it has to meet formal criteria so that the grantors know that they are dealing with legitimate and accountable organisations.

Chermside and the surrounding suburbs currently have in excess of 150 local organisations operating; some are very well established and have a long history while some are recent and some are ephemeral.

church and associated groups, school and associated groups, hospitals and associated groups, many sporting, Indigenous, Kedron-Wavell Services Club, child care, senior citizen, respite, Neighbourhood Watch, Probus, Home Help, service clubs, Meals on Wheels, Scouts, Girl Guides, political parties, quilters, Disability Help, Book Readers, library, musical and entertainment, special interest groups including history, armed service, crafts, lodges, dog obedience, writers, slimmers, social, internet, environment groups from the large Mountains to Mangroves to the small 7th Brigade Bushland Group; the list goes on and on and indicates a healthy attitude to civic responsibility.

Some have closed down including Chermside Rotary after 50 years, Chermside Lions after 48 years, the P & C of Chermside State School which grew out of the older School Committee, after 97 years, Chermside Country Women’s Association after 43 years and Chermside School of Arts after 52 years.

Chermside is an old area and has a long history of community organisations from the 19th Century, whereas suburbs such as McDowell are a late 20th Century suburb which developed in the motor car age enabling people to be much more mobile and able to join communities outside the suburb.

Zillmere Multicultural Festival

Supported by the Brisbane City Council, the Festival has been celebrated every year since 2002 in O’Callaghan Park on Zillmere Road. It is a one day festival from 10am to 5pm with free entry, free parking and free activities for all.

The aim is to bring together the Indigenous people, the recent immigrant groups and the older immigrant groups, to display and celebrate the different cultures existing in the local area.

Traditional cuisines, arts and craft displays, performances of dance and other activities, games, stalls selling all manner of cultural items, activities, workshops; multicultural Australia alive and in action.

In the first year rain fell and the promoters were not very optimistic but about one thousand people came and since then the attendance has varied from three to five thousand, which is indicative of the success of the venture.

Not In My Backyard

NIMBY refers to the attitude of people who want some public convenience but not near where they live. In March 2000 a very vigorous campaign by local residents in the Lawrence Road area of West Chermside was mounted against the building of a One Tel Phone tower. The residents, many of whom no doubt possessed mobile phones, were worried about health risks from radiation which, they feared, would be generated by the tower. Also there were other worries such as the damage to bushland, a drop in land values and the risk that the tower could act as a lightening rod.

The matter was resolved by the following May when it was announced that One Tel was to share the Telstra tower at Milne Hill; victory for the residents and a win for One Tel which didn’t have to foot the bill for a completely new tower; the spirit of the old Progress Associations is still alive and operating.

Another current problem is the location of exhaust stacks to carry the automobile fumes from the traffic tunnels under construction in the city. A perennial one is the route of new roads or the widening of existing ones especially when property resumption is involved.

Chermside Historic (Heritage) Precinct

This was opened by Lord Mayor, Jim Soorley, on Remembrance/Armistice Day 2000. It is located at 61 Kittyhawk Drive north of the hockey fields at Kedron-Wavell Services Club. The small area of about 0.5 ha in 7th Brigade Park is home for three community institutions, two of them in historic buildings.

The one nearest Kittyhawk Drive is the Voyager Centre, built about 1959 and was home to the East Chermside Sea Scouts till they disbanded in 1983. It now houses the Kedron-Wavell Craft Centre which conducts workshops in many crafts.

The Sandgate Drill hall, built in 1916, which was threatened with demolition when the site in Sandgate was sold, was brought to the Precinct in about 1998, and houses the 9th Battalion War Memorial Museum Collection and Property Trust.

The third building is the original classroom of the Downfall Creek-Chermside State School which opened in June 1900 at the corner of Gympie and Rode Roads. It was moved on to this site in May 1997 and houses the Chermside & Districts Historical Society Inc.


Probably the oldest community group in the area is the Chermside Methodist Church which started in an empty hut in 1873 and still operates as the large Chermside Uniting Church; this resulted from the merger of several Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches in the late 20th Century.

In 2006, the local district numbered at least 49 Christian churches along with a Moslem Mosque and two Temples, one Hindu and one Taoist. These latter centres reflect something of the changing composition of the Australian population as immigration policies change and we recognise the reality of our place in the Asian world.

A recent news item notes that the Hindu Society of Queensland is to lodge a development application for a temple to be included in the new Shopping Centre to be built by WAW Developments at Bracken Ridge. This will replace the existing temple at Boondall which was established in 1991.

Many Christian Churches take part in ecumenical services to pray together and to try and understand each other’s point of view. This is a major change, in fact a radical departure, from the separateness that characterised these Churches a couple of generations ago. But what is more radical is the development of the inter-faith dialogue between the ‘people of the Book’ the Jewish, Christian and Moslem faiths. The differences here are much older than those between Christians and have been the cause of much angst in the past.

An Interfaith Forum on the Post 9/11, Bali and Iraq, held at Aspley Uniting Church was attended by 150 people. It was addressed by George Negus, a prominent journalist, who examined the role of religion in these events, the divide between religions, how religion had changed from a private matter to a very public one, how opposing sides claimed that God was on their side and need to not just tolerate other faiths but accept and understand them.

The organiser of the event, Rev Garth Reed said:

The Aspley Church in conjunction with the Bald Hills Mosque had been holding interfaith events for the past five years, including concerts and different activities. We try to have two events a year to bring all the different faiths in the northside area together.

Members of the different Christian denominations, the Jewish faith and the Moslem faith attended and took part in the discussion as well as eating supper together.

Meals on Wheels

For forty years this voluntary organisation has been cooking and ferrying meals to elderly residents of the local area. But the situation become critical in 2008 as there were about 190 meals to be delivered each day and only 200 volunteers to do the job. Chris Cox the co-ordinator said that they needed at least another 50 so that rosters can be staffed without burning out the volunteers.

Some of the volunteers have been working since the service started; others are now recipients of the service, having grown old serving others. The shortage was so severe that Chris approached large firms in the area asking them to donate a few staff to help out.

With the aging population of Chermside the number of recipients is growing while the number of volunteers is declining. It seems the younger members of the community are not joining which is the same problem that forced Rotary and Lions Service Clubs to close. Whereas once, many women volunteered to help out when the children went to school, now they have jobs and are unable to help out.

Chermside Parklands Master Plan

As Brisbane and its population grows the importance of parks and bushland spaces increases exponentially. Consequently, the Council drew up the plan so that the parklands are managed “in partnership with the community, by Brisbane City Council as parkland for the people of, and visitors to, Brisbane. ”

Also the council is constantly buying bushland to preserve as much as possible of the open spaces which are sometimes referred to as “the lungs of the city”.

In 1868 Murphy’s Paddock was 201ha in size; in 2006 7th Brigade Park occupied 73ha and Marchant Park 39ha while the remaining 89ha were used for housing during the early post-World War II period, Commonwealth buildings and expansion of the Shoppingtown. An additional 7ha is found in the third section of the parklands, the Upper Downfall Creek section, which is gradually being expanded to encompass the creek and complete the Mountains to Mangroves Wildlife Corridor; thus the entire Chermside Parklands covers some 120ha but will expand as more land is added in the upper creek area.


This 21st Century giant ‘cubby house’ was built in 7th Brigade Park off Murphy Road in December 1996 by some 900 volunteers, the Australian Army and the Brisbane City Council personnel; it was a joint project between the Council and Aspley Lions Club.

The concept originated in the USA and in order to build it a group of young Americans came out and supervised the organisation, which was immense, and the building which was done in strictly controlled manner. The author had several jobs, one being to assemble the chimes which included suspending a series of steel pipes by bicycle brake cable and I ran out of cable. Since it was a Sunday and the bicycle shops were closed, I had to remove one of the cables from my bicycle to finish the job on time.

After the structure was completed it became apparent that a roof was needed to shield the small children from the Queensland sun but this was not done till 1998 when funds from the Council became available. The complex includes electric barbeques, shelters and toilets which make it ideal for families with small children to picnic in the park.

Cycle – Walking Paths

Paths have been constructed throughout these parks to encourage people to exercise more. In the last century manual labour declined as most people moved into tertiary industry where machines did most of the heavy work; consequently people needed to make an effort to exercise more.

The use of these paths has increased greatly in recent years especially in the early morning, before work and late afternoon after work, with retirees out at all times. Groups of people form informal clubs to walk together at various times, meeting in a car park as many of them live long distances from the chosen path. Sometimes the path can become quite crowded as up to 50 people suddenly appear striding along in scattered formation chatting animatedly; it is enough to make the most stout hearted cyclist quail and look for an alternative route.

Like any new innovation there has to be certain rules observed and signs have been placed along the paths indicating the basic rules. Most people observe most of the rules but some cyclists still refuse to wear helmets and ring bells to warn pedestrians. Likewise some pedestrians act as thought the whole path belongs to them, consequently some altercations happen.

Road racing cycle clubs do not use the tracks but travel in, sometimes large, groups on the roads, usually at week ends.

Recently some cyclists have been having their bicycles fitted with small engines to help them pedal over the hills and some have appeared on the tracks. Council has authorised the use of low powered motors but draws the line at motorcycles being used on the paths. Notices have appeared banning the use of motorcycles and warning that ‘on the spot fines’ apply to offenders.


Peter Fitzgerald, Head Teacher 1991-96 at Chermside State School commented that the Education Department began a program to examine the use of computers in schools and gave all schools a reasonably up-to-date computer. The program was eventually scrapped, but the school kept the computers and, by 1990, there were computers in some classrooms.

The school bought a Leggo program for the computer to go with the Leggo science construction kits. These were used to explore the theory of levers and pullies by building Leggo machines and then putting motors on them to make the machine work. Thus the school was trying to implement the latest educational methods but this was made difficulty by the teachers being transferred to other schools as enrolments fell from 101 in 1986 to 53 in 1995.

With the steadily falling enrolment the community knew that the school would have to close but they did not give up without exploring every possible way to avoid closure; deputations were arranged to the minister who gave guarded assurances that nothing hasty would be done. Then at the beginning of 1996, the tone changed and Minister, David Hamill, announced “However with so few pupils at the school , we can’t guarantee its future in 1997”.

With the closure of the Chermside State School on 13 December 1996 Chermside lost its only school, the children and the staff members were sent to other schools or retired, the P and C disbanded, the tuckshop mothers retired or followed the children; the school community vanished.

On the 28 May1997 the original building of the old Chermside State School had been cut in two and was moved to the Chermside Historic Precinct on Kittyhawk Drive where it became the headquarters of the Chermside and Districts Historical Society.

Over the following years the 2 hectares (5 acres) ex-school site was divided into three parts, two of which were sold for a total of $4.6 m to:

The Chermside Kedron Community Church on the corner of Gympie and Rode Roads which occupies 1ha.

The Aldi supermarket and eight specialist shops fronting Gympie Road which occupies 0.6 hectares.

The Public Housing Units land fronting on to Henry Street was transferred from one government department to another and is not included in the total value of the land; it occupies 0.4 hectares.

The sale price of $4.6m approximates the rise in value of land prices in Chermside over the last century. The original price on 6 November 1899 was ₤125 ($14,380 in 2004 values) so if Downfall Creek had not changed at all that would be the price the original 2 hectares (5 acres) would be worth. However, Chermside has changed and prices have also changed, upwards, by about 320 times, but it took 105 years.

Chermside Shoppingtown

The Business Mall was opened in February 1992 and in March the following year a fire broke out in the main plant room behind Target one Saturday which led to an evacuation of the centre; this was the third fire since the Drive-in opened in 1957.

If the measure of success can be gauged by the expansion of the centre then the period between 1998 and 2006 was most successful as the complex more than doubled its size, and the ownership changed from the large retailers to shopping mall specialists.

In May 1996 Coles-Myer announced that they intended to spend $200 m ($242m in 2004 values) to double the existing Chermside complex and extend it over Banfield Street onto the Telstra training centre land. It was expected that an additional 1,680 persons would be employed in the new centre taking the workforce to about 3000 persons.

The existing Brisbane Town Plan, gazetted 1987, allowed this move on to Commonwealth land and also made provision for Chermside to be designated a Regional Business Centre (RBC) for the north side of Brisbane.

Several retailers at the Bracken Ridge Shopping Centre, on the corner of Telegraph and Norris Road, were reported as disagreeing with the decision to upgrade the centre. “It’s pretty tough now and we don’t need new shops,” one retailer said “There are not enough people here to warrant it.” Opposition was also voiced by small businesses in the Chermside Gympie Road shopping strip.

The small businesses saw what had happened to the little corner shops that were so common in the early post-World War II period and they knew that they had to specialise in order to compete with the Shoppingtown; that was where the consumers were going in their cars, partly because the parking was convenient, partly because it was a ‘one- stop shop’ centre.

In November 1996 Woolworths Chermside closed down and reopened at Chermside Markets on the corner of Webster and Gympie Roads replacing the Coles K-Mart that had been there since 1971.

In December 1996 the Westfield Trust purchased the 39,000 square metres Shopping Centre for $135 million ($1634 m in 2004 values) and on Christmas Eve it became known as Westfield Shoppingtown Chermside. The purchase included 9 hectares of the adjacent land on the northern side of Banfield Street which was worth $15 million ($18 m in 2004 values)

A severe hail storm on Easter Monday 1997 wreaked havoc causing Myer and Target to close for 3 days during the busy school holiday period. This was the third major storm to have flooded the centre since its inception in 1957 and the second one since 1994. The problem was caused by the centre being located in the drainage basin of Somerset Creek; 80% of retailers were affected by water and ice.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the centre in 1997, the Courier Mail commenting on the changes that had taken place in local shopping noted:

The shopping centre has become the community centre – particularly on Thursday, which is pension day with late-night shopping. It is tempting to think that if it were not for the need to be delivered and dispatched, they (the customers) could spend their lives in a shopping centre like battery chooks in artificial light and artificial air.”

In January 1998 Westfield began the postponed Coles-Myer expansion with the drainage of Somerset Creek under the north side of the site at a cost of $5m ($6m in 2004 values). This time the floodway was to be big enough to carry any flood the old creek could manage in two concrete box culverts having an overall size of 7.2m wide x 3.6m deep. This was completed by the end of February 1999 and the driving of concrete piles began to form the basis of the new buildings which would consist of ground floor for parking, first floor for shops and roof top for more parking.

The new construction included a bus interchange on the corner of Gympie and Hamilton Roads where previously the old police station and fire station were situated. The new buildings were to house Coles, Target, K-mart, Bi Lo, Food Court, Specialty Mall and a 16 screen cinema complex. When the grand opening of the $235 m ($266 m in 2004 values) extension was held on 7 September 2000 the complete complex measured 70,000 m², employed 2,400 full and part time workers and provided over 2,700 parking spaces. However the new buildings stopped at Banfield Street; that extension would come later, but not much later.

In August 2002 seven day trading was legalised in South East Queensland and at Christmas 2003 Westfield had shopping round the clock trading from 9am on the 23rd till 5.30pm on 24 Christmas Eve about 32 ½ hours; this has been continued as an annual event.

Less than four years after the 2000 expansion Westfield announced a new building of 50,000 square metres, over and north of Banfield Street. This involved demolishing all the buildings of the Telstra complex, some of which had been built soon after the Commonwealth Government took the land in February 1948, to use as a training depot for telephone linesmen in the old Post Master General’s Department.

A new road was built by upgrading and extending Kittyhawk Drive to Murphy Road crossing Downfall Creek over a four lane bridge enabling traffic to enter and leave the Shoppingtown without going on to Gympie or Hamilton Roads.

70,000 shoppers, double the normal turnout, came for the opening but the expected traffic chaos did not materialize. The manager, Paul Swerdlow, noted that the centre had 350 specialist stores including, Woolworths, Big W, Borders, JB Hi-Fi, three mini-majors and from August 2007, David Jones. 6,200 car spaces and the cost of redevelopment was $200m. It became Queensland’s largest shopping centre with a Parkland Pavilion overlooking Downfall Creek and 7th Brigade Park. The redevelopment boosted the rentable floor space of the centre by more than half making it 122,000 square meters equivalent to almost 18 football fields; more than 2,500 new jobs expected to be created by the expansion.

In this fifty years of change only one business has seen it all; Fulcher Shoes is Westfield’s longest serving tenant. Opened in 1957 by Gordon Fulcher, who operated a shoe shop on Gympie Road, passed to his son Trevor and then to grandson, Troy Fulcher, the present owner. This was one small business which saw the opportunities of moving into the ‘new fangled’ Drive-in and did so.

One employee, Estelle Cooper, who started in the city shop of Allan & Stark in 1956, moved to the Chermside Drive-in in 1957 and is still working with Myers Chermside; she met her husband, Noel, at a staff social. Estelle cut the cake at the morning tea to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Drive–in; now that is a steady job.

Speed Shopping

Instead of once a week shopping about 50% of shoppers are buying their needs daily or every few days and more express lanes are needed to cater for the speed shopper.

People are dropping in on the way home from work which is becoming the busiest part of the day at the supermarkets; both Woolworths and Coles are experiencing a similar change.

A mother of two says she uses speed shopping as it gets her and the children out of the house each day and it saves her lugging home a large amount of groceries and two children. It costs about $10-$20 more a week but it is worth it and the food is fresher.

Another mother, and full time worker, doesn’t want to spend her weekends shopping, it also helps with fresh food and they do not eat so much convenience food.

Zone Fresh Gourmet Markets is open in four locations in inner city Brisbane especially for the speed shopper; they are using the European trend of smaller shops and limited choice rather than the traditional US trend used in the large supermarkets.

Self-serve Check Outs

These have appeared in Chermside in 2008 and are expected to become a common feature at Australian supermarkets as retailers seek to meet the demands for the ‘time-starved consumer’; this is adopting new technology to speed up shopping rather than putting on more employees.

“Self-service facilities allow customers to complete their own transactions, including scanning and bagging, without the aid of a service assistant.”

Galaxy and the NCR surveys found that “the average Australian ‘wastes’ about 38 minutes a week waiting in lines.” Big W already uses this technology in about 40 of its stores but will also retain the traditional check out service in some cases.

Qantas and Virgin Blue have self-service check-in kiosks at airports in Australia where “passengers can choose their seats and print their boarding passes before they arrive at the terminal”; or the passengers can fill out their boarding passes on their internet connection at home.

Gympie Road Shopping Strip

This strip, separated from the Aspley shopping centre to the north by a residential section, is continuous from Chermside Markets at Webster Road, made up of Woolworths Supermarket, associated specialty shops, a large service station and a large car cleaning station, to Kedron Brook which forms a geographic boundary with the Lutwyche shopping centre to the south.

Some of the businesses are in competition with similar shops in the Shoppingtown, such as hairdressers (8 on Gympie Road and about 10 in the Shoppingtown), take away food outlets (13), clothing shops (4), Post Offices (2), green grocers (2), newsagents (2), tyre sales (2), banks (3) but the further away they are from the Shoppingtown the more convenient they are for their local areas; they tend to cluster in small groups with parking on their doorsteps.

Woolworths have a supermarket in the Shoppingtown and another in the northern section of the Gympie Road strip strategically placed beside the large residential area of West Chermside and Aspley. This reflects their policy of placing supermarkets in residential areas as well as in the main shopping centres.

The Aldi Supermarket opposite Mermaid Street, the second major supermarket in the Gympie Road strip, opened on 24 June 2004. It is a based on the European model unlike the others which are based on the USA model with virtually unlimited choice.

Aldi trades on a limited variety of goods, mainly Australian made, at lower prices, sets goods on pallets on the floor in boxes, this saves the cost of paying people to stack shelves. The goods are limited to about 600 different items, sells reusable bags or wants shoppers to bring their own, customers have to pay a refundable deposit on trolleys, customers pack their own goods.

Businesses not in competition with the Shoppingtown are specialists in their fields such as churches (2), Wheller Gardens Retirement Centre, solicitors (5), medical centres (10) (doctors, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, optometrists, et al.), accountants (5), financial services (5), estate agents (4), computer and electronic sales (5), government offices (3), paint hops (3) auto repairs and body building (5), motels (2), caravans (1) and used car lots on both sides of Gympie Road from Mermaid Street in Chermside to Kedron Brook (21), veterinary clinics (2), service stations (2), Lutwyche Cemetery (Permanent plots for sale, but not for life) .

An indication of the prosperity of the area is seen in the remark by Terry Munn, a valuer that there is a strong demand for retail space on Gympie Road forcing up car yard prices from $500 per square metre in 2001 to $1,000 per square metre in 2006. The car yards are looked on as a kind of interim use of the land and it is expected that eventually they will be replaced by multi level shops, offices and residential units.

In addition there are at least another 104 shops which do not fit into any of the above categories and some of which are long term while others are short lived.


Walking along the track that became Gympie Road in 1842 one might meet a squatter or shepherd, bush workers, housewives, children and a few Aboriginal people still living their traditional clan life, a bullock driver and team, perhaps a small selector, but hardly anyone from a service industry such as a doctor, nurse, teacher, policeman, veterinarian or fireman.

Today the situation is reversed. The heart of Chermside, the intersection of Hamilton and Gympie Roads is choked with traffic of a type never even envisioned in the 19th Century or the first half of the 20th; more and more vehicles are crowding into a never expanding road space.

Trivia Point: The last grazier in Chermside was Norm Steers who ran a herd of steers on the area of Wheller Gardens nearest Downfall Creek where the retirement village Wheller on the Park is currently under construction. Norm moved his herd out in about 2005 so there was at least one person engaged in Primary production in the heart of Chermside.

Survey of Manufacturing and Commercial firms in the Chermside and Kedron area 6 July 2007

The survey, conducted in 2007 by the author, showed three clusters with a wide variety of small manufacturing firms mixed in with commercial firms which cater for trade rather than selling directly to the consumer. The clusters followed no particular pattern but probably grew from early established firms on the outskirts of the residential areas.

The first cluster is the main manufacturing area which comprises the high area around Araluen and Millway Streets, Kedron; it probably grew around the large firm of Bruce Pie Industries which commenced in 1948 when there was plenty of land available on the ridge. It extends into the gully of Somerset Creek to Rode and Webster Roads opposite the hospital complex and includes Valente Close. The lower parts of this section may have been swampy and suffered from flooding so people avoided building houses there.

Several firms specialise in timber and other types of flooring, cabinet making, furniture restoration, joinery, out door furniture, printing, binding and screen printing. The Bruce Pie factory is now occupied by the United Bonded Fabrics producing cushioning, pillows, mattress protectors, fibres, underfelt and removalists blankets. Heavy haulage, engine reconditioning, radiator works, automobile repairs, air conditioning, stairs and handrails, brass casting for plumbing, irrigation valves and fittings, steel building systems, outdoor staging and lighting, building and painting contractors.

The second cluster is the Glentanna Street, Kedron complex which grew out of Gallagher’s tannery established there in 1887 on the un-named creek that flowed through the gully; the industrial area extends south rising up the hill to Kitchener Road.

The largest firm is Top Taste cakes that occupies the land of the old tannery and faces Gympie Road with a side entrance in Glentanna Street where several other firms are located. These include brass casting for plumbing, water conservation systems, concrete contracting, cardboard boxes, automobile repairs and a large plumbing centre.

The third cluster is located in the long open air car saleyards section of Gympie Road, Kedron which has a small motor body building and repairs section on the east side opposite Top Taste and around into Boothby Street. Included here, on an easement off Gympie Road, is the 140 year old Hamilton Body Works which transferred from its old Chermside location, now the site of the Chermside branch of the Commonwealth Bank.

They are all serviced by road transport as there are no rail or water transport facilities in the area and the only place with air transport is the helicopter pad at the hospital complex of The Prince Charles Hospital and Holy Spirit Northside.

All the firms, with the possible exception of Top Taste cake manufacturers would be classed as small to medium size.

ALLKIND Joinery & Glass, Rode Road Chermside

This is an example of a small manufacturing firm which specialises in the custom manufacture of solid timber doors and windows, cupboards, cabinet and furniture making. The staff of 31includes 8 apprentices which is a high ratio of apprentices to tradesmen, and for this, the firm won an Employer of the Year Award at the 2006 Queensland Training Awards in May, 2007; the firm also works with secondary schools by providing work experience and apprenticeship training for the students.

ALLKIND was established when an earlier firm, Brooks Joinery of Gympie Road, Kedron, closed down in 1970. The machinery and men were transferred, partly to the present site in Chermside and partly to the adjacent Easy Frame site which is now the Chermside Building Centre.

High quality timbers such as Syrian Cedar, Murbow and New Guinea Rosewood are used by the wood machinists, cabinetmakers, glaziers, and joinery bench hands. The firm mainly uses clear finishes on its products to show the beauty of the natural timber grain; French polishing is also done on request.

George Weston Foods Ltd – Top Taste Cakes

In 1966 George Weston Foods Ltd erected a new building, which had no support beams for the roof allowing maximum use of floor space on the site of Gallagher’s Tannery at Kedron.

They employed 450 people and produced 12,000 tonnes of products, including 52 varieties of cakes and 48 types of biscuits.

Weston previously took over the Webster Biscuit Co which started in 1883 when David Webster began making bread in Dutton Park. Some of the products made at the Weston plant still carry the Webster brand name.

The factory has computer controlled measuring system for the main ingredients. There is an icing sugar mill, a temperature controlled room where the shortening is stored and cool rooms where one-tonne containers of egg pulp are kept. The factory works two shifts over 16 hours per day.

George Weston Foods is one of the world’s leading food companies and is a multi-national firm with a branch in Sydney which was reorganised in 2003 and the cake making business was transferred to Kedron.

A recall of all cake products from the Top Taste plant at Kedron was undertaken in May 2006 due to the discovery of foreign objects, including a needle, in a small number of products from the plant. People were given a full refund for returned goods and all production was suspended at the Kedron plant until a police investigation was concluded. The problem was rectified and production resumed with increased security measures in place.


Located at 4 Wallace Street Chermside off Gympie Road the business opened in May 2005 specialising in medieval weaponry and armour. It runs classes in training people in the skills for using the weapons, the culture of the medieval world, chivalry and developing the physique needed for handling the weapons. In 2006 new owners renamed the firm Brothers at Arms and continued the above activities. The firm relocated outside the Chermside area in 2008.

Planning for Future Development

The late 20th Century/Early 21st Century high density apartment building boom is located around the Westfield Shoppingtown which is the engine driving much of the employment in Chermside. It is partly responsible for the replacement of many houses built in the post-World War II building boom of 1947-1967 as many people move closer to the most convenient site in Chermside. During the post-war house building boom period Chermside changed from semi-rural to outer suburban status, now in 2006+ it is changing it into a major business, entertainment, cultural and high rise accommodation centre; a mini Central Business District for North Brisbane.

In order to cater for the influx of people, some 75,000 in 2006, from other states into Queensland and especially, Brisbane, the Brisbane City Council has designated five Major Centres, one of which is Chermside/Kedron area, where large scale expansion is planned. The plan was approved by Brisbane City Council in 2005.

The other centres are Fortitude Valley, Upper Mt Gravatt, Indooroopilly and Carindale, all of which offer a wide range of services and facilities and have easy access by efficient public transport services.

Chermside will be the principal activity centre serving Brisbane’s middle northern suburbs which are located within a nominal 4km to 10km radius of the Brisbane GPO. Chermside will provide a full range of centre services and activities including retail, offices, residential, financial, legal, community, recreation and entertainment; it will be integrated with the surrounding parklands.

Under the Chermside Major Centre Local Plan, the area around the Shoppingtown and along Gympie Road is designated high density office, retail and residential development up to ten levels; they usually have one or two basements below ground level for parking. Surrounding this inner zone is a low to medium density residential area with single houses and low rise, up to three levels, of residential units. These are often referred to as ‘six packs’ because up to six units can be built on a large house block, while eight can be built on two smaller blocks.

In May 2007, the Brisbane City Council unveiled a draft plan known as the City Shape Implementation Strategy, in response to the State Government’s South East Queensland Regional Plan 2026. The draft was discussed by Community Planning Teams made up of local citizens in all suburbs of Brisbane at a series of meetings extending 2008.

The Chermside-Kedron section is expected to grow, within the current boundaries, by a further 3,900 dwellings and 5,300 people by 2026. Driving this growth will be the expected increase in employment from the 2006 figure of 9,700 jobs to 14,642 in the same period. Since there will be no increase in land, and the parklands are protected from being used for building, the accommodation will have to be vertical.

In 20 years jobs are expected to increase by 50%, population by 83% while accommodation will have to rise also; this will be the second expansion of the area in the post-World War II period. There will have to be similar growth in infrastructure especially transport which will be carried by the proposed Northern Busway along Gympie Road which is not expected to reach Chermside till sometime after 2011 and then extend further north.

Super buses

Transport Minister, Paul Lucas announced that the government was investigating the use of light trams which are used in Switzerland as trolley buses. They are 25m long, carry 200 passengers, three times the normal bus, cost $2m each and can run on electricity or diesel; the Brisbane City Council had also been investigating the use of these super buses which would only be used on dedicated busways as they would be too large for suburban streets.

Public Consultation

While these measures may solve immediate problems of growth they create other new ones such as increased traffic flow and pollution in suburban streets which are already congested, increased garbage disposal, people living in close proximity to each other, shortage of outside play areas for children, need for professional management of unit blocks. Hence there is a need for careful planning and consultation with the local people via the Community Planning Teams.

The Urban Village Concept

The Kelvin Grove Urban Village, established on the site of the disused Army Gona Barracks beside the campus of QUT, was begun in 2000 with the cooperation of Queensland University of Technology and Department of Housing and has reached an advanced stage by 2008.

The idea is to recreate a village atmosphere in the city by planning the accommodation carefully, including public housing which is scattered around the site. Community facilities such as shopping, community hub, parks, shade trees, transport and parking are all carefully sited in the village so that they are readily accessible by the people, including those living around the village.

Specialist services are already available nearby in the city which can be easily reached by public or private transport.

Chermside already has much of the infrastructure; the accommodation is being moulded around the Hub which has replaced the traditional School of Arts and church halls as the community meeting place while the Community Planning Team is working to make the whole much more people friendly. And Chermside already has a very long tradition of a wide variety of community organisations to bring local people together.

Playfield Street High Rise

This 410 m long street, adjacent to the eastern boundary of the Shoppingtown, was developed in 1952 with the street being formed, sealed, kerbed and guttered with 27 housing blocks marked out on each side. The blocks were then sold, many to ex-service people who built their homes financed by the War Service Homes scheme. The houses were of timber construction with a tile roof but at least one, No. 18 on the west side, was of brick. The occupants settled down to raise families and develop their lives expecting to live out their retirement in the same very convenient location. But the establishment of the drive-in shopping centre of Allan & Stark in 1957, while making shopping easier was, in the long run, to change that dream.

In about 1997 Westfield bought three houses on the western side of the street and erected portable site offices to begin the expansion of the Shoppingtown; about this time Playfield Street was closed off from Hamilton Road

Other changes followed as the new Library was opened on 17 January 1997 and the swimming pool was renovated and expanded into an Aquatic Centre, Chermside Hub extension to the Library was opened on 13 March 2004 and the Chermside Major Centre Local Plan came into effect.

Extensive changes were made to Hamilton Road with new lanes and traffic lights installed to control traffic at the newly extended Shoppingtown, the Chermside Hub Precinct and the extended Kittyhawk Drive connection to Murphy Road which was opened on 28 September 2006; in the process seven more houses in Playfield Street were demolished or shifted.

Chermside Central

The first high rise apartment building, Chermside Central, began with the demolition of three houses on the western side at the northern end of Playfield Street in late 2004 and in January 2005 excavation of the basement began.

The basement is a swipe card lockup garage for 60 vehicles, the ground floor is a open area for temporary parking with three living units and another six floors above for units of 3, 2 and 1 bedrooms; all up there are 41 units in the building.

Allowing an average of 2 persons per unit there will be approximately 82 living in Chermside Central with about 60 cars replacing about 15 people in the houses when families lived in them and about 3 or 4 cars.

The units were popular and sold quickly with 95% of the units being sold before completion in December 2005 when people began moving into the complex.

Richard Lawrence of Position Property Services the selling agency quoted the values for the different apartments as one bedroom $269,000; two bedroom $300,000 to $375,000; three bedroom $409,000 to $485,000.

As at January 2008 of the original 53 houses only 24 were left and 4 of theses were being used as offices and 2 were definitely empty, maybe more. Three high rise blocks of apartments, Chermside Central, 45 Degrees and Central Park North, are completed and occupied, three more high rise blocks, clustering around Way Street, are under construction dominated by three high rise tower cranes

Affordable Housing Group

When Westfield finished the expansion of the Shoppingtown it had 1.478 hectares of flat land beside Kittyhawk Drive on which it intended to build four high rise towers containing 463 accommodation units; the plan was dropped and the land, priced at $20m, was offered for sale.

It was bought by the Australian Affordable Housing group to erect 493 apartments in a series of towers. The aim is to provide affordable units, not low cost which sometimes become slum dwellings. At present the average family needs a weekly income of $1150 to afford suitable accommodation. So far test bores have been drilled but nothing else as at August 2007. (Compare the price of this land at $13m / ha, with the 9 hectares on the northern side of Banfield Street which cost $15m in 1996 at $1.6m / ha.) As at March 2009 work has not started on the Affordable Housing site.

Summary of Chermside High Rise

Playfield Street

No. 46 – Chermside Central 41 units – completed in December 2005

No. 45 – 45 Degrees 22 units – completed April 2007

No. 41 – Central Park North 52 units – completed August 2007

No. 31-37 – Park Lane 65 units – started July 2007 – finished December 2008

No. 20 Equinox 60 units – started August 2007 completed March 2009

No. 23-27 hq Apartments 58 units – September 2007 Completed March 2009

Other High Rise in Chermside

No. 22 – 22 Thomas Street 56 units – completed June 2007

No. 392 Hamilton Road – Focus 79 units – expected completion January 2008 – stalled – recommenced November 2008

No. 831 Gympie Road – Chermside Galleria is commercial – the back part, Quest No. 9 Thomas Street, is residential with 54 apartments. Started April 2007 – finished November 2008.

Add to this is the number of low to medium density units which cannot be calculated by me at present. This population surge is not on the same scale as the post- World War II one but is putting more people into the same space. Chermside is moving into vertical expansion as opposed to the horizontal expansion of the early post-World War II growth phase.

Population, Demographic and Lifestyle Changes

The Census figures for the period 1991-2006 show that Chermside had a more or less static population over the time.

1991 – 6329; 1996 – 6297; 2001 – 6498; 2006 – 6384;

Chermside’s population, according to the 2001 Census, contains a high proportion of aged and/or retired people. The 65-74 age group contains 9.1% of the population and the over 75 group a further 16.4% of the Chermside population; thus a quarter of Chermside’s population is over 65, the traditional retirement age. The proportions for Brisbane as a whole for these two groups are 6.1% and 6.5% respectively which is only half the Chermside total; the older inhabitants are staying in Chermside.

Possibly part of the explanation lies in the fact that Chermside, a long established settlement, is a very convenient area in which to live with a wide range of services, hospital, retirement settlements, shopping, Library, Services Club, Burnie Brae Senior Centre, Aquatic Centre for the grandchildren. So people who have lived here all their lives want to stay till they are carried out.

According to the 2006 Census Chermside has an imbalance of the sexes with a 10% surfeit of females from a distribution of 56.5% females and 46.5% males; the Australian distribution is 50.6% females and 49.4% males; Chermside is not a good place for husband hunting.

One Chermside property owner reported that he has a 70 to 30 ratio of women to men in his block of eight units. Former Councillor Faith Hopkins commented: “Chermside has a high proportion of seniors and women tend to live longer and remain in their own homes longer”.

Demographic Change:

Although the total population of Chermside has not changed much in recent years there may be a demographic change taking place in the medium to low rise residential areas such as the one centred on Eastleigh Street.

Eastleigh Street, Chermside is about 200m long on a north south axis sloping down from Meemar Street to Hamilton Road. Its development started in 1947 during the early post-World War II housing boom when it was transformed from a wheel track in the bush to a modern street.

Originally there were 19 houses, mostly wooden, on 24 perch (607 m²) blocks with a family of approximately two parents and three children. Couples who could not have children often adopted them; the street was their playground along with the large semi bush of Sparkes Paddock.

Thus the street population was approximately 95 persons made up of 38 (40%) young adults and 57 (60%) children. Bicycles were much more common than cars and walking to the trams on Gympie Road was the norm.

In 2007 there were nine houses with an average of 2.2 persons each and 38 units with approximately 1.5 persons in each . Thus the population is approximately 77 persons made up of many young adults, elderly retirees and very few children. NB: A local resident Tony Lloyd thinks that there are more young people sharing units than these figures show. While the average numbers have decreased by about 19% over the early post-war period, the composition has changed markedly. As the number of units increases and that of the houses declines, the change could be even more marked, as many of the people in units rent and move on, possibly to buy houses and raise a family elsewhere; some of the house owners may move into the rapidly expanding retirement accommodation while others are determined to stay.

Changes in Density of Occupancy

1900 – one house had six occupants

1945 – one house five occupants

2000 – one house – one to four occupants

2007 – one house replaced by four Units – eight occupants.

2007 – three houses – six occupants replaced with a high rise block of 90 occupants (Playfield Street)

The mode of transport has also changed with automobiles in most, if not all blocks, and a spill over to street parking.

Property Values in Chermside

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland reported that the:

Chermside median house price in Sept 1999 was $113,500 and by September 2004 it was $313,750 – in five years a rise of $200,250 or 76%.

Unit median price in September 1999 was $145,500 and in September 2004 was $229,500 in five years a rise of $84,000 or 58%.

The Master Builders of Queensland reported that:

Median house prices of established homes in Brisbane rose from $205,000 in 2002 to $369,000 in March 2007 and increase of 93% over six years which is similar to Chermside.

They attribute this rise to demand for new homes of 43,000 p. a. outstripping supply which is about 37,000 p. a. Thus it seems Chermside is simply following the general market trend in Brisbane which is being driven by the influx of new residents coming from interstate.

Contrast 1901 with 2001

This summary shows the changed profile of the Queensland economy which Chermside followed closely from its beginnings as a rural area to the present status as a major suburban commercial growth centre.

(Sources are listed in brackets)

THE TYPICAL QUEENSLANDER – (Qld Gov ) – From a young to an ageing profile

1901 – A 22 year old unmarried male with primary school education, living in a rural area, and employed in a primary industry occupation; Queensland was still a frontier state.

2001 – A 35 year old married female with tertiary education, living in the south-east corner or major coastal centre, and employed in a clerical, sales or service occupation; Queensland is now a mature or developed economic state.


1901 – 503,000 with 13.2% of the Australian population reflects the later white settlement

2001 – 3.6 million with 19.3% of the Australian population as Queensland expands at a faster rate than the Australian rate.


1901 – men 50 years, women 60 years. Indigenous – unknown but less than whites

2001 – men 76.5 years, women 82.3 years.

-- median age Europeans 77.8 years – Indigenous 56.7 years.


1901 – About 103 per 1,000. Indigenous – unknown.

2004 – 5.8 per 1,000. Indigenous – about 10 per 1,000 in 2000


1901 – The median age was 22 years, children aged 0-14 years made up 37% of the population and the proportion of adults over 60 years was 4.8%

2001 – The median age was 35 years, children aged 0-14 made up 21.3% of the population and the proportion of adults over 60 years was 16.7% (Chermside was 25.6% over 65 years)


1901 – 44.4% female, typical of a frontier state and increases the difficulty of finding wives.

2001 – 50.7% female, probably typical of a mature economic state where women live longer than men. The composition of Chermside at the 2006 census was 55.6% female and 44.4% male, which increases the difficulty of finding husbands.


1901 - It was the subject of enormous debate and controversy. Thick rubber condoms could be bought from chemist shops. Some couples abstained.

2001- The Pill accounted for 60% of people using contraception; condoms 26.5 %; IUDs 4.5%; natural methods 4.5%; other methods 4.5%.


1901 – 5 persons

2001 – 2.6 persons; many aged and/or single people living alone.

FAMILY SIZE – (Williams)

1901- Average of four children per family; predominantly two parent families

2001 – Average of approximately 1.9 children; mainly two parent families but 20% single parent.

OCCUPATIONS – (Qld Gov & Williams)

1901 – Females made up 16.3% of the workforce many in domestic services but factories were beginning to employ them, until they married. Women did not vote in the Federation constitutional referendums except in South Australia; they could not borrow money and were expected to defer to their husband on most occasions; women’s place was in the home, especially after they married. Primary industry employed 38.1% of the workforce

2001 – Females made up 45.4% of the workforce; 75% of workers in the clerical, sales and service workers were women, while 50% of the professional sector was female. Women outnumbered men in the caring professions such as nursing and teaching and were increasingly taking over professional and managerial positions. Primary Industry employed 4.8% of the workforce.


Queensland is still considered one of the least centralised of the mainland states.

1901 – 24.8% of Queensland’s population was in the Brisbane Metropolitan Area

2001 – 44.9% of the population ‘drifting to the city’ as the state matures economically.


1901 – 8 hour day and 48 hour week over 6 days with Sunday off; no annual leave for most; men working in industry or on the land had heavy manual jobs which took a toll on their health and length of life.

2001 – 8 hour day and 40 hour week over 5 days the standard with many working less hours; overtime paid at higher rates; annual leave of 4 weeks; extensive use of machinery has reduced the incidence of heavy manual labour.

FOOD – (Williams)

1901 – Limited range of foods; meat, mostly mutton and beef, fresh fruit and vegetables; ice for refrigeration, fresh milk was boiled to prolong its life; pickled and preserved fruits and vegetables were used widely as preservatives. The rabbito, fisho, fruito, ice man, baker, and butcher brought fresh produce to the door, while corner shops sold groceries.

2001 – Supermarkets provided a very wide variety of foods, most of which were unknown in 1901.

TRANSPORT – (Author)

1901 - Most people walked, rode bicycles or travelled by horse and cart; rail and tram services existed in the cities.

2001 – Millions of cars and heavy transport vehicles choked the roads in cities slowing the speed of transport down, sometimes to horse and buggy speeds; air transport common for people and goods.


1901 – Not recognised as citizens, living in reserves outside the towns, looked on as dying out, they regarded themselves as inferior to whites.

2001 – Full citizens, have gained rights to ownership of Indigenous land, take pride in being Aboriginal and trying to preserve their culture while adjusting to live in European society; still have shorter life span, poor health and poor education but a new generation of Indigenous leaders, supported by a better educated generation of white people, are gradually making improvements.

CLOTHES – (Author)

1901 – Followed English fashions closely, men wore wool suits and women long dresses, summer and winter. Both men and women wore hats and boots, suspenders were to keep men’s woollen socks up and corsets, stiffened with whale bone, were to keep women in shape

2001 – Fashions still influenced by overseas sources but using a wide variety of fabrics, natural and synthetic; usually adapted to the Australian climate. Hats are strictly unfashionable except amongst rural workers, especially cattle producers.

PASTIMES – (Author)

1901 – Local, individually organised for family and friends: picnics were popular, as were reading, writing diaries, letters and poetry, singing around the piano or some other musical instrument in the homes, going for walks and watching local sporting teams competing in the park or paddock. Dancing at the church hall or the local School of Arts, bicycle riding for the young and sulky or buggy drives for the family were common while Sunday afternoon visiting was very popular.

2001 – Mostly highly organised by large corporations via TV, computers, games and movies; sport on TV is usually professional, employing highly paid players and watched by massed audiences of ‘sportsmen and sportswomen’; local sport is usually amateur but often sponsored by sporting goods corporations. People can buy a ‘home theatre’ kits which include a very large TV screen, a set of speakers, an amplifier/tuner for adjusting volume and a DVD player with selected disks.


1901 – Rural market economy based on agriculture, pastoralism, mining and processing of mainly primary products

2001 – Sophisticated market economy based on services, a highly developed financial sector with a small light industrial sector; mining important for coal, bauxite, lead, zinc, copper and some gold.

Aspects of Everyday Life in 2007

Carol Cunningham prepared the following selection of contemporary activities that most people engage in without much comment as they are so used to doing so. But when one surveys the list it becomes quickly apparent that many, if not most of these activities, only began in the last couple of decades. Many older people have difficulty in coping with some of them since they were trained in an earlier age.

Letterboxes are filled with “junk” mail to bursting point especially before events like Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter. Election campaigns also contribute to this junk mail. There is a constant flow of unsolicited advertising material left in our letterboxes from supermarkets, take away food industry, real estate, general retail stores and others. This advertising material is delivered by people contracted to commercial companies and by Australia Post. It is generally understood and respected that a sign reading “No Junk Mail” pasted on the front of the letterbox receives only official Australia Post deliveries.

Mail deliveries are once a day, five days a week. Local Post Offices are contracted out to private operators. The rise of internet and email communication has dramatically reduced the amount of “snail mail”.

Most areas have a local newspaper, for example, the Northside Chronicle for the Chermside area. This paper is supported by advertising and is delivered to each residence free of charge.

Compulsory superannuation contributions by employers are 9% of base wage and are received by both casual and permanent employees.

The free-to-air programs on television are broadcast from Channels 2 ABC (government), 5 SBS (multi-cultural), 6 BRIS 31 (private) , 7, 9 and 10 (commercial).

All channels except Bris 31 are broadcasting in a combination of high definition and standard definition (analogue). The Federal Government has announced that television will go to high definition by the year 2010 and the current analogue signal will cease.

Most homes have a DVD and/or video recorder/player.

Internet is fairly common in homes.

Mobile phones are very popular with all age groups. Many older people want basic phone services such as making and receiving calls while younger consumers require phones with multiple functions.

Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out to be replaced by fluorescent bulbs to reduce the power consumption in an average home. Eventually this should reduce power demand and reduce green house gas emissions from coal fired power stations.

Global warming has become a political and community concern. Governments are establishing committees to control emissions in the future.

Traffic calming is part of many suburban streets, i.e., many small islands, speed bumps and roundabouts at intersection, many “Give way” signs, road markings to limit parking on the road, and yellow no parking lines.

Speeds - unmarked suburban streets are 50 kph; school zones during school days and between 7 am to 9am and 2 pm to 4pm are 40 kph; most main roads are 60 kph with designated areas 70 kph.

Public transport is by bus from Chermside. The Council has built dedicated bus lanes to improve the speed and access of this service. The closest train services are available at Geebung.

Tunnels are being built under the Brisbane River to ease traffic congestion between the north and south sides of the city.

Dogs are licensed and cats are not; pensioners get a discount on dog licences.

Anzac Day celebrations held on the 25th April have been getting bigger each year. Many young people are marching on behalf of their deceased parents and grandparents. It has become a celebration of Australian attitudes. Many young people make the pilgrimage to Anzac Cove in Turkey.

Our public hospitals are free to everybody, but many choose to use the private hospital system with the help of hospital benefit funds. There are long waiting lists for elective surgery within the public health system.

Rubbish collection by the Council offers a weekly collection – one week is general rubbish (black bin) and every second week is the general rubbish (black) and the recycled waste (yellow lid on green bin).

School holidays (6 weeks in December/January, 2 weeks at Easter, 2 weeks in July, 2 weeks in September) decrease peak traffic by 10%

Dam levels are now reported with the newscast each day.

Petrol discounts are offered by Woolworths and Coles supermarkets with the expenditure of $30.00 or more in the supermarket. Woolworths and Coles have their own service stations. Some of the smaller stations have closed because of these discounting activities.

Social Changes

Tony and Elizabeth Lloyd, Eastleigh Street

Tony Lloyd says the biggest change that has taken place in Eastleigh Street since 1967, when he and Elizabeth arrived, is the generation change. The Lloyds were in their 20s while the other residents were in their middle years but now the situation is reversed. With the advent of the low rise units many younger, frequently single, adults came bringing a dramatic increase in the noise level, partly due to the loud use of electronic music, the ‘Ghetto Blaster’ generation has arrived in the street.

Because of the high rents, several young adults may live in a unit and share the cost and each one might have their own car. Consequently, since only 1.5 car spaces are built for each unit, some have to park on the street; add visitors parking at weekends and the street can be very crowded. Tony says that when he is going away in his caravan he has to arrange with a friend to strategically park a vehicle in the street opposite Tony’s drive. When the time comes to drive the caravan out the friend’s vehicle is moved to make room for the manoeuvre; alternatively the van and car would have to be parked on the street overnight.

Additional noise is created by the late night and early morning traffic as some inconsiderate people create more noise than is necessary, not only with vehicles, but also with loud voices as visitors arrive or depart. Added to this is the poseur who insists on driving ‘souped up’ vehicles which are designed to make a lot of noise. But worst of all is the ‘hoon’ who insists on making the street a speedway and does ‘burns’ by literally burning the tyres with quick starts or controlled stationary wheel spinning; they create quite a stink as well. In 2003 the Hoon squad was called in to deal with one resident who subsequently moved; to take his problems somewhere else?

Because of the closeness of houses and units there is a sense of crowding replacing the old openness of the street.

To avoid the proliferation of traffic lights in Hamilton Road some drivers are using Eastleigh Street as a convenient ‘rat run’ to get to Gympie Road. This is understandable as there are four sets of lights in the 200metres from Kittyhawk Drive to Gympie Road, a major east-west intersection. This is the result of adding more, and larger, vehicles into the same road space, resulting in a slower traffic flow which is beginning to match the pace of the horse and cart days.

Even with all the disadvantages of the area Tony and Elizabeth have no plans to move as the advantages of living in such a central position outweigh the disadvantages. Even without a car, just about everything a person needs is located within walking distance; even if one has to close the window to keep out the noise and go without fresh air at night; even though a young man was killed by a gang of youths in the park nearby, and a woman was stabbed while walking home at night; even if the ambulance sirens along Hamilton Road wake up many people in the small hours; even if much of the peace has gone out of the street, it is still worth living there.

Lyn and Alan Currie, Eastleigh Street

Now, in the year 2001, our house has been surrounded by units/townhouses on all sides. Luckily our house is air-conditioned and the constant noise associated with months of continuous building has been dampened inside the house. We are placed within easy walking distance of the Westfield Shopping town Complex, Kedron Wavell RSL, Library, Chermside Pool and public transport. Our position is ideal for our retired lifestyle today. We have no wish to move, regardless of the massive building activity and changing character of the surrounding streets. One of the greatest changes is the disappearance of the once numerous children from the area.

Maura Tuite, Playfield Street

Playfield Street was a traditional area of separate houses with one family in each. Newly weds arrived, built, had children, the children grew up and moved; Mum and Dad grew old and stayed. But by August 2006 the houses are disappearing at an alarming rate and only about seven home owners are still there. The others have been replaced by renters, high rise apartments, road works and business premises. The old familiar community is no more as owners sell up with one, 50 year old timber and tile, house going for $725,000 while the median house price in Chermside was $335,000. Even Adrian Ramar who had the spectacular rose garden at the Hamilton Road end has gone, to the top floor of the first high rise apartment block, Chermside Central.

The street is changing rapidly and dramatically as a new social ethos is replacing the old one of a single family home on a separate block. People are buying apartments, some come to live in them but some buy them for an investment. People renting properties often tend to move on without forming any lasting ties with the local area so it is more difficult to form any sort of a community. This can lead to isolation of the older house owners and keep the renters apart, so that the once close knit community fragments. Even those living in apartments can be isolated from each other as they may rarely see the people in the adjoining units. This is especially so with the dependence on the private motor vehicle which tends to keep people apart by enclosing them in the little steel and glass capsules when they leave their home capsules.

As the population density in the area rises the number of vehicles also rises, much faster, causing new problems of road congestion and pollution.

Maura loves the area and has no intention of moving even though by August 2007 the number of house owner-occupiers is down to five. She had been approached to sell several times with a recent agent telling her that he could make her a rich woman if she sold. Maura replied that she was already rich in that she had all she needed, including her aged dog.

For all these old residents, they remember the old communities and get on with life at a slower pace; for the new arrivals maybe it is progress, for old ones, just change they hadn’t planned on!

Working Mothers

Many women face the problem of raising a family, running a house and working in paid employment or in their own business. This requires special skills that many of them didn’t learn from their mothers so various groups and individuals are developing and sharing techniques to help them cope with their changing circumstances.

Sharon Wood of Northside Brisbane and business woman Alison Basson created a networking group called Mums in Business. They give support to ‘mumpreneurs’ through regular seminars and over their website.

Another approach to help working mothers is being developed by two of them who have co-operated in publishing a book. When Diane Evans, a management consultant, tried to go back to work after the birth of her first child she faced a dilemma, to work full time, part time or not to work; now with three children, she has her own business at her Wavell Heights home. Diane and her Sydney based sister and mother of one, Sharon Evans, have published a book to help other mothers deal with the problems faced by working mothers.

Mother Who? Personal stories and insights on juggling family, work and life features such people as politician Natasha Stott Despoja, athlete Nova Peris, ABC radio presenter Madonna King, singer Kate Ceberano, executive assistant Tracey Keliher, blind part time worker Ros Martin and lawyer Rebecca Edwards who gave up working but will return to full time work when the children are older.

Complexity of Modern Society

Human society has always been complex requiring many skills to enable a person to live a full and happy life. With change come new problems or updates of old problems requiring new skills, or updates of old skills, to deal with the changes. An example would be the change over from animal powered transport to machine powered transport via the internal combustion engine; from the typewriter to the word processor; from telegram to email, to text message, and so on ad infinitum. Another problem is the increasing rapidity of change and coping with one change before another one appears, ‘future shock’ as it was called when first described in the 1970s.

There have always been those people who are unable to learn or do not wish to learn the new skills and society has had to cope with or assist such people. The education system is designed to teach skills and problem solving building on the basis of the family teaching at home when the child is very young. However, for many reasons, some people do not succeed in acquiring survival skills.

In the contemporary society these people are often seen as being failures and end up as social outcasts. They are seen in the homeless, the drug addicted especially to alcohol and tobacco, in marriage both de facto and de jure, dysfunctional families, child abusers, cheats and thieves, some of whom may be very wealthy,

There has always been a natural generation gap between parents and children as they have different experiences and tend to see the world differently. An additional dimension has been added to the natural gap in the form of the internet and mobile phones. The younger generation take to these instruments enthusiastically teaching one another how to use the implements and communicate with each other.

There is a natural tendency to join a peer group and the new means of communication enable the young ones to do this more easily than ever their parents did. Many parents feel that this robs them of family time with the children and the problem is exacerbated when the child goes to his/her room and stays there using chat rooms, ‘surfing the net’, chatting on the mobile or sending text messages.

Post 2000

Chermside has seen a broadly circular process over the last century in shopping but with increasing specialisation of the shops.

C 1870s - Starting with the produce shop such as Patterson’s who sold most of what the early settlers needed – he could do it because they didn’t need much, they lived simply. Butchers, blacksmiths, bakers and farms provided the rest. There was little choice among the basic commodities, needs rather than wants were provided and you could drive-in if you had a horse and cart or sulky.

C 1890s to C 1950s – The small grocery shops provided all that was needed in food, and the produce shops supplied the goods the small farmers needed. Automobiles appeared and needed service stations while home delivery of basic foodstuffs was common using horse drawn carts. Department stores in the city supplied clothing, household goods and furniture while the emphasis in Chermside had been on retail activities and small manufacturing firms.

1950s – Brisbane Cash and Carry, the first supermarket in Chermside, arrived followed by Allan & Stark with the drive-in concept and the two combined resulting in the drive-in shopping centre with 26 specialty shops.

Latter 20th Century – Gradually commercial interests were moving in as well with professional activities such as health, financial, governmental, legal and entertainment services becoming very prominent. Teague mentions that there were 250 businesses in the Chermside area in 1973. Also the Chermside Hub grew to include the Services Club, the Library/Meeting Rooms, the Aquatic Centre, the parks and playing fields.

2000 – The Shoppingtown with 350 specialty shops, supermarkets and discount stores, is a one-stop shop just like Patterson in 1870 but with choice on a bewildering scale, everything the shoppers ever wanted but often more than they really needed; the consumer society was firmly established and bringing its own set of problems.

Climate change is starting to have an effect and people becoming aware of the need to conserve water with the government instituting vast schemes such as the water grid to channel water from one dam to another. People responded by dramatically reducing their use of water.

The financial turmoil which began with the US sub-prime mortgage scandal spread world wide and caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Another circular process as society, not history, repeats its old mistakes?

Some good news: The price of new technology items tends to decrease as their popularity grows. A 1974 television would cost about 10 weeks’ average wages, but in 2007 it would be more like one week’s average wages.

In 1948 the first Holden, the 48-215 (FX), cost about 80 times the average weekly wage. In 1981 the Holden Commodore, cost about 30 weeks of the average wage in 1981

Some rather mixed blessings news: Phones that transmit messages and images can now be bought for as little as a few dollars a month. Companies are said to be starting to market to children aged 8 to 12 for the simple reason that the teenage and adult markets are thought to be 100% saturated.

Some does it do any good news? Average adult full time wage Feb 2008 is $1,100 per week.