Wheller Gardens

The Dream Realized C 1938

Wheller Gardens Aerial C 1938
The aerial photo was taken about 1938 and varies from the Dream Photo with more cottages and a possible bowling green. (From the collection of Lorna Anderson.)

The Central Methodist Mission opened the Chermside Garden Settlement in 1936 in response to the problems experienced by the aged during the depression. The donation of land in 1935 by soft-drink manufacturer, George Marchant started the development. The first twenty-five cottages were built on this land and by 1939 nine more cottages and a bowling green were operating.

The cottages appear to have been built of of timber and fibro, the standard of low cost housing at the time.

Official Opening of The Garden Settlement

The opening of the Garden Settlement currently called Wheller Gardens was a landmark event in the history of Chermside. It was the beginning of an expansion which is still going on today in 2016, eighty years later!

Official Opening of Wheller Gardens 1936
The opening of the Garden Settlement was a gala day with visitors from around the district. Hats, suits and ties were the fashion as was the string of Union Jacks flying from a wire. It was 36 years since Australia became independent but the British ties were still strong. (Photo courtesy of John Oxley Library)

Development 1935-World War II

Wheller Gardens - On the 23rd November 1936 the garden settlement was opened on Gympie Rd opposite Banfield St with the founder and driving force behind it, Rev Harold Manuel Wheller, in charge . His aim was "To preserve the Honour and Dignity of Old Age" . A non profit organisation, the settlement, a pioneer in its field, has grown steadily, attracted many benefactors and given sterling service to the residents.

A major benefactor was George Marchant who, in the beginning stages, so generously gave to the settlement that it was decided to name it after him. His reaction was "leave my name out of it just call it the 'The Garden Settlement'", so they named a House after him. When it was opened it was state of the art and over the decades as the 'art' changes the settlement has changed with it. It is a story of constant upgrades and extension of accommodation.

The settlement started with twenty cottages, Marchant House and two communal buildings. Photo courtesy of Wesley Mission, Brisbane - Wheller Gardens, Chermside.

The Outbreak of War

The Chapel was added in 1940 to be a place where a person could go and pray or just be in a quiet place to recollect and refresh.

It was a time of great stress as the elderly remembered the first war and were very worried about the future.

The Chapel or Sanctuary as it was called was added to cater for the spiritual needs of the community. Photo courtesy of Wesley Mission, Brisbane - Wheller Gardens, Chermside.

Youngman House

Wheller Gardens - Youngman House
Youngman House was the first time a settlement was built outside the original site.

By 1951 there were 140 residents and the number kept growing so that in 1957, when a 7.5 acre block of land on the corner of Banfield St and Gympie Rd opposite became available, it was bought and Youngman House was established; another 56 residents were accommodated.

In January 1990 the Youngman House settlement was sold and the remaining residents moved over Gympie Rd to the main settlement.

In 1992 the Australian Tax Office and the Commonwealth Offices were built on this land.

John Wesley Gardens in Geebung 2001

Wheller Gardens - John Wesley Gardens 2001
Google aerial photo of John Wesley Gardens taken in 2001 with all the space used.

The next expansion was on a 4.5 acre block, in 1962, at Halsmere St Geebung on which was built the John Wesley Gardens; this garden settlement had 64 units in 1962 and by 94 by 2007 on 5,460 sq m of floor space.

Clearance of the Site

Wheller Gardens John Wesley Gardens Cleared
Google aerial photo showing the clearance of the site in preparation for the new buildings.

In order to accommodate more residents the area had to be cleared as completely as new multi storied accommodation was needed. They ran out of space so they had to create new space by going up, similar to what is happening in Chermside, and other places in modern cities.

The only original building left was the green tile roofed Sanctuary or Chapel.

Embedded Google Photo of John Wesley Gardens 2016

This embedded aerial photo will be automatically updated by Google as new photos become available. The photo was taken just before the opening in October 2016 when there were some unfinished sections.

The new centre will accommodate more residents, more space for visitors parking, more trees and more lawns by using multi storied buildings. There three floors with, one for parking and two for accommodation.

The present building has 11,228 sq m of floor space which is twice the size of the old building with 144 beds.

Continuing Development at Wheller Gardens in Chermside

In 2009 Wheller and John Wesley Gardens accommodate about 600 residents cared for by over 100 staff; the story continues.

Extensive demolition of old buildings and building of new accommodation is going on in the Wheller Gardens, Chermside. Demolished are St Paul's Hostel and Units, Chapel of St John and Jones House.

The Chermside Medical Centre was built beside Gympie Rd. and Wheller on the Park a set of apartments for future residents behind Emmaus Village was begun.

A new entrance off Gympie Rd. was built around the grounds of the North Regional Business Centre was opened.

Wheller on the Park 2007

This site plan of 2007 shows the planned development of the Rev Weller's dream. It is a retirement village wrapped around Wheller Gardens to consist of a mixture of cottages along the entrance road backed by high rise buildings for independent living.

The future is happening at Wheller Gardens as the new apartment curve in a quadrant around Wheller Gardens. A mixture of ground level villas and triple story of smaller apartments to house the population of a Retirement Village. The entrance is off Gympie Road around the Northside Business Centre in the top right hand corner. In the lower right hand corner is the Chermside Medical Centre. Photo courtesy of Wesley Mission, Brisbane - Wheller Gardens, Chermside.

Google Aerial Photo of Wheller Gardens and Wheller on the park 2016