Wednesday, February 16, 2011

spring hill

I was eaves dropping on a convo being had between a guy I work with and his partner where they were trying to figure out why Spring Hill was in fact called Spring Hill. Was there a Spring?  
Hmmm, interesting thought … ‘was there a spring’ i then pondered? With the magic of Google, I found out. Most of you may know this ...  but ...
... yes, indeed there was a Spring which was situated just up the hill from Brisbane’s settlement back in the 1800's. I read that this spring turned into a creek, hence the naming of ‘Creek Street’, and was Brisbane’s first fresh water supply. This picture which I found shows Spring Hill in the very late 1800’s. Who would have thought it would look like that then?

The suburb is one of much age compared to other areas of Brisbane. Convict built buildings and so many darling little workers’ cottages line the narrow streets. It would have been so interesting to walk around those streets a century ago.
Due to the water access at the top end the more elite properties were built high, with the poorer dwellings in the lower areas.  Much of the older homes and buildings have been demolished and replaced with more modern structures over recent times. I drive through there often and look at the homes and there are still plenty of lovely properties screaming history.
And then there’s the Mill. This picture is up on Wickham Terrace - not sure when, but a loong time ago.

The Mill, built in the late 1820’s, is the oldest surviving building in Queensland. Brisbane was originally established as a convict settlement in 1824 which was then moved to North Quay later. I suppose that may be why all the courts are based at North Quay? …

The mill was the flour supply for the settlers and was used by the convicts to grind grains like wheat and maize which was done by a treadmill with wind powered sails, it was then converted to an observation and signal station to Fort Lytton and the Port for ships, and then in 1862 it became the 1st home of the Qld Museum. Versatile Mill.
This is is today.
Another historical land mark in Spring Hill is the ‘Spring Hill Baths’ on Torrington Street which are the oldest ‘Baths’ in Queensland having opened in 1886. I have only ever been to the Valley Baths, but being that these have almost all of the original characteristics (so they say) I think I’ll pop in for a visit. Nothing like a bit of nostalgia.
That concludes my history lesson. Long story short … there was a spring in Brisbane’s Spring Hill.


  1. Love Spring Hill. Did you ever go to the Spring Hill Fair? Jason's Nana, who is in her 90s, used to live on Torrington Street up until recently. It is a very eclectic suburb - with boarding houses and mansions sitting side by side.

  2. How interesting. I loved reading that post.

    Spring Hill is a wonderful suburb ... I used to enjoy going to the obstetrician up there because it gave me a chance to drive around looking at the fabulous old buildings.

    Looking at those old photos is a bit 'Playing Beatie Bow' by Ruth Park ... travelling back into Australia's urban colonial history. I'd love to be able to do that!

  3. I too Love spring hill. I love the baths there. The building is fantastic and they used to play classical music while you swam...I wonder if they still do it? You would enjoy reading the blog Brisbane Past and Present on my side bar. He researches lots of interesting spots and buildings around Brisbane, cheers Katherine PS I hope you got my email.

  4. great post, love Spring Hill, brings back memories of wearing my fave fifties floral frock walking around the Spring Hill fair with babe on hip, do they still have the fair? my babe is now 24 x

  5. MMM-C, i agree on Playing Beatie Bow. You should have a look at the Torbreck post i did a while ago. It's Brissie's first highrise at Highgate Hill - another fab suburb.

    Katherine - No. I shall check now. And I will look at that blog you mentioned. I love history.

    Tallulahbelles - not sure on the fair. Not ringing a bell - by the sounds, they should bring it back. Oh if only i'd seen this city in the fifties. You lucky gal!!!

  6. Brismod. No have not been to the fair .... but i want to, does it still exist???? You're right - so eclectic. Makes it so interesting to poke around.

  7. I love this post and all the other historical highlights you've featured on your blog. I find it fascinating, and especially interesting as I do not hail from here. I'm thinking of investing in a Brisbane history book.
    So funny I was going to mention Playing Beattie Bow. I loved that movie, and was a very big Imogen Annesley fan, and always loved her name; hence my daughter is named Imogen.