Cross region themes

Cross region themes

Our region stretches from Willawong to Wacol, which is a large area. However, the lives of adjacent communities flow into one another. Each of our fourteen neighbouring suburbs has its own story – and equally each has some elements in common with those nearby.

Several themes link our suburbs and contribute much to the history of the region. Common elements include – City fringe living; Range of land uses; Transport corridors; Immigrants; Major Housing Developments and World War II facilities.

City fringe living
Our region embodies many of the characteristics of life on the outskirts of a city:

  • City fringe dwellers are often battlers seeking cheap living. Some immigrants value the opportunity to own their own land. Frequently non-conformists and eccentrics also find their space on the city fringes – making these culturally diverse areas.
  • In a sense, these people were the “first settlers” of their chosen area, often with no water, electricity or made roads provided. Even modern fringe developments often lack transport and community services. This lack of amenities tends to produce close, co-operative – and often pro-active – communities.
  • Traditional “fringe” land use includes providing fresh food for the city – market gardens, poultry farms, dairies – and acreage living for those who want the benefits of both city and country.
  • Typically, city fringes are subject to change as population pressure drives urban development outwards. This transformation is continually being felt across our district as waves of housing and industrial sub-divisions progress inevitably towards the limits of Brisbane city.PHOTO 3 Pallara crop 1996 Source: Lance Zivec

Range of land uses
Our suburbs have experienced similar stages of development, from farming to recent urbanization. The range and sequence of land use often includes:

Serviceton/ Inala housing estate, 1953 - from Government Road    Source: QSA

  • Timber – selective logging by timber-getter
  • Farming – Grazing leases, dairy, poultry and small crops, grapes, market gardens
  • Government facilities which need a) Extensive land – military and police training, DPI or b) Isolation – the Asylum, prisons, sanitary and rubbish dumps.
  • Industry – initially nuisance industries such as sand-mining, brickworks, cement works; later modern light industries, warehousing.
  • Housing – including large targeted developments by government (eg Housing Commission), and commercial corporations (eg Delfin).
  • Services – warehouses, depots, parks, pet hotels, sports facilities etc


Transport corridors
Several of Brisbane’s major transport corridors pass through our region. These run through rather than to the district – and at times they divide rather than service a suburb, as has happened in Carole Park, Wacol and Richlands.
The major transport corridors developed as below:

  • Brisbane River – from 1823, the primary transport route for exploration and early settlement, skirts our region. (By 2000 the river was no longer used for transport).
  • Road – The Ipswich Track evolved from 1826 – one of Queensland’s first “highways.” Today there are several freeways through our region – Ipswich Road, Centenary Highway, the Logan Tollway and the Darra-Springfield Motorway.
  • Railway – from 1876, the Ipswich- Brisbane line opened; since 1930 the Sydney-Brisbane track runs adjacent to Pallara; in 2011 the Darra-Springfield line opened through our region.

Immigrants seeking a freer life and cheap living are often drawn to the city fringes. In addition, from 1949 to 1987 the Wacol Migrant Centre received thousands of immigrants into our area.The newcomers sought schools and employment locally, and so the neighbouring suburbs were an obvious choice for many to put down roots. Thus our suburbs tended to become multicultural communities, and today our region is one of the most culturally diverse communities in Australia.
In 2003, a community workshop for Inala Multifest listed 74 ethnic and cultural groups in the community.
Ethnic community clubs grew up in the surrounding suburbs to support the emigres – there are Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, Samoan and more social clubs across the district.

Major Housing Developments
5 Inala 1953 Boss Govt Rd (3)A major use of city fringes has been in providing cheap housing. Across our region, inexpensive homes have been built by individuals, groups and increasingly by big corporations.

From 1946 to 1950, the Serviceton Co-operative bought land (almost 350ha) in an attempt to house returned servicemen. This became Inala.
Also in the post-war period, Raymond Spinks subdivided several tracts of land throughout the region into lots of 2-5 acres (up to 2ha) eg Ellen Grove, Doolandella.
In the late 1940s the state Housing Commission initiated big estates to provide cheap rental accommodation – Inala was their biggest project.
Today, corporations develop commercial “satellite” suburbs on the urban fringes – Forest Lake (1991??) was the first fully planned community development in Brisbane.


World War II facilities
From 1942 to 1944, Brisbane became the centre of the Allied Pacific war effort and military establishments sprang up across the city. In particular, these facilities dominated the fringes of Brisbane, which provided the large tracts of unused land needed for military camps, training, depots etc – and also road and rail access to Brisbane services, wharves and airports.

Being sparsely populated and on the outskirts of Brisbane, this district was used for many war-related activities, and all our suburbs had some involvement. A number of Allied forces occupied the area – and most of the local facilities were American.

The three largest US facilities in our region were:

US truck, Officer Candidate School, Wacol c1943  Source: Lona Grantham

  • Camp Columbia (Wacol) – a staging camp for 5000 soldiers
  • Darra Ordnance Depot (Forest Lake) – stored munitions for the SW Pacific forces
  • Camp Freeman (Inala) – a quartermasters’ camp of 1000 men (transport and supply).



Our region is large enough to demonstrate both diversity in the settlements and similarity in some cross-region themes.
Its location on the semi-rural city fringe ensures that changing land use is an ongoing element in our region. Here more than in inner suburban areas, we are seeing history in the making.

link to Suburbs ???

link to “150 years” book in Publications??