Ashgrove's History

About Ashgrove

The suburb of Ashgrove is located five kilometres from the city. Part of the suburb takes in Ithaca Creek, which was named after the birthplace in Greece of Lady Bowen, wife of Queensland's first governor.

Ithaca Creek runs down from the Taylor Range to form one of Ashgrove's boundaries. During the early days of white settlement, reports indicated that Ithaca Creek ceased to flow in winter but that some pools always remained.

The natural vegetation was cleared for farming land, which has been replaced by suburban development and some parkland.

Aboriginal History

The Turrbal clan occupied the northern side of the Brisbane River. White people often referred to this clan as the 'Duke of York's clan'. There were camping grounds around the Breakfast Creek area and the explorers Oxley and Cunningham met members of the clan at the mouth of the creek in 1824.

Everyday life for the tribe consisted of hunting and gathering food, with time for games, and other social and spiritual activities.

Urban Development

The first sale of land at Ashgrove occurred at public auction in 1856. More land was sold until 1875, when all the Crown Land forming the suburb of Ashgrove had been sold. The first school opened in 1877 and the first post office in the same year.

Ashgrove originally developed as a farming area that included the estates of St John's Wood, Glenlyon, and Grove Estate, which was believed to have given Ashgrove its name. Closer settlement occurred when Glenlyon Estate and Grove Estate were subdivided into 16 perch blocks around 1915 (one perch = 25.3m2).

The area's rapid growth and demand for public transport prompted the extension of the tramline from Red Hill to Ashgrove in 1924.

Ashgrove Landmarks

The Marist Fathers' Monastery, Glenlyon, is one of the oldest buildings in Ashgrove. It was built in 1876–77 for Alexander Stewart, who located the house in the centre of his large estate. In 1918 the property was subdivided and in 1930 the Marist Fathers purchased the house. They continue to live there today.

The Ashgrove Roman Catholic Church, Saint Finbarr's, has a distinctive tower that serves as a landmark. The church was built in 1955. Other well-known landmarks include the Ashgrove Methodist Church, and the Ashgrove State School, which was built in 1877.

Major People

The first head teacher of Ashgrove State School, which opened in 1877, was James Brunton Stephens who was a Queensland poet.

Alexander Stewart lived in Glenlyon House, which was built in 1876 from local clay. He was a businessman who had come from Scotland to settle on his new property at Ashgrove. He bred horses and Hereford cattle and farmed on his estate.

Justice Woolcock also lived in Ashgrove in a historic residence called 'Farnborough'.

Cultural Diversity

A number of the early settlers were of Scottish origin, including Alexander Stewart who named his house and his estate, Glenlyon, after his birthplace in Scotland.

Today Ashgrove does not have a high proportion of people who were born outside of Australia. According to the 2001 census 14.71% of Ashgrove residents were born overseas and 4.44% speak a language other than English at home. This compares with 21.03% and 10.03% for Brisbane as a whole. 0.59% were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, compared to 1.67% for Brisbane.


Australian Post Office, Public Relations Section 1970, An Australian Post Office History - Ashgrove, Australian Post Office, Queensland.

Brisbane City Community Profile The Gap Ward 1998, Brisbane City Council, Brisbane.

Brisbane Suburbs and Localities: Information from the Queensland Place Names Board n.d., compiled by John Oxley Library, Brisbane.

Department of Environment, Cultural Heritage Branch n.d., Heritage Register File No. 600049 Glen Lyon, Department of Environment, Brisbane.

Hoey, C., Ashgrove Local History Notes, Ashgrove Municipal Library, Brisbane.

Steele, J. G. 1983, Aboriginal Pathways in Southeast Queensland and the Richmond River, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.

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