Aspley's History

About Aspley

Early settlers to this region had to fell thick timber to establish their grazing and farming properties.

The Brisbane Wildlife survey of 1980–81 revealed forty-nine species of birds in the Apsley region.

Aboriginal History

The Duke of York Clan occupied the region to the south of the South Pine River. To the north was the North Pine Clan. Tom Petrie indicated that the Turrbal language was spoken as far north as North Pine, west to Moggil and Gold Creek and south to the Logan.

Petrie was a great source of information on Aboriginal people and he marked out many of the roads in the district along existing Aboriginal tracks. He first travelled the Old Northern Road in 1845 when he accompanied Aborigines to the Bonyi (Bunya) festival in the Blackall Ranges. Tom spoke about the leader of a small fishing tribe who lived near the mouth of the South Pine River. His clan called him Mindi-Mindi, and the whites called him Kabon-Tom. He initially scared Tom Petrie when Tom teased him as a child, but later they became friends. Kabon-Tom lived to be an old man in his nineties. Others weren’t so lucky. The diseases bought by the whites soon had a major detrimental effect on the Aboriginal population.

After Tom Petrie was married and was looking for a place to start a cattle grazing property, he went into the area we now know as Petrie. He was accompanied by Dal-ngang the son of an Aboriginal elder, Dalapai he had known since childhood. One of the first things he noticed about the local North Pine Aborigines was the smallpox scars on their bodies and the fact that there were few old people. Disease had taken its toll.

Tom chose a site for his homestead, which he name ‘Murrumba’ meaning good. An area on the river nearby was called ‘Mandin’, meaning fishing nets, as this was a popular local fishing place.

Closer to the Moreton Bay settlement the main camping ground for the Duke of York Clan was the gully through Victoria Park and the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds. This campsite was known as Barrambin. Another popular campsite was Buyuba at Newmarket near Bancroft Park on Enoggera Creek. Enoggera is derived from the word Yowoggera which means corroboree. A burial ground also existed there.

Urban Development

The area was known as Soldier's Flat when it was first surveyed in 1859. During the 1890s it was known as Little Cabbage Tree Creek. By 1897 the district was named Aspley after the Morris family's orchard and vineyard, which had been established since the 1870s. Land parcels were eagerly bought up during the 1850s and 1860s. By the 1890s smaller subdivisions were being sold. A school, initially called Little Cabbage Creek School, had opened in 1890. The Royal Exchange Hotel operated from 1875 and served as the first general store. It was situated on Gympie Road opposite the Albany Creek Road intersection.

In 1888 Huttons opened a smallgoods factory in nearby Pineapple Street, Zillmere. This provided employment locally and many farmers worked here when the seasons were bad. Timber getters also sold cordwood for the boilers. In 1890 land was subdivided into small urban lots to the west of Dorville Street. The estate was called Huttonville and was designed for factory workers. Slaughter yards operated along Kedron Brook, Downfall Creek, and Little Cabbage Tree Creek.

The area remained devoted to farming until after World War I when more small industries sprang up. These included Griffith's Sweet Factory, which opened on Gympie Road in 1920, Glanville's brickworks on Brickfield Road in the 1930s, and Hedge's Dripping Factory at the end of Lawrence Road, which opened in 1933. Further grocery stores sprang up in the area. Beckmans operated the first bakery and a service station operated from the 1920s to service the growing traffic on the Gympie Road.

Aspley Landmarks

Current landmarks show little evidence of past occupations and industries. The Pick and Pay Hypermarket was established in 1984 opposite the small village shops that had evolved around the original hotel site. The Aspley Acres Caravan Park was once the site of a bone mill operated by the Livingstons in the 1890s. It provided fertilisers to local farmers and remained on site until 1932. The remains of the old Hedge's dripping factory may be found at the end of Lawrence Road near the reservoir. The Aspley Homebase shopping centre is a recent addition to the area. The adjacent caravan park was the site of the first urban subdivisions in the area, which sought to provide housing sites for workers at the Hutton's factory in Pineapple Street.

Major People

John and Alf Morris who bought land in the area in 1865 named their estate Aspley Vineyards. The property, situated between Maundrell Terrace and Gympie Road to the south of Albany Creek Road, remained in the Morris family until 1962. William Wallin started the Royal Exchange Hotel in 1875. Together with William Brown, Morris and Wallin were instrumental in the establishment of the Aspley School, which was built on Brown's land late in 1889. The names of other pioneering families such as the Trouts and the Maundrells have been perpetuated in local street names.

Cultural Diversity

Early settlers to this region came from England or Germany. The Chinese settled in Albany Creek and, in fact, Albany Creek was known as Chinaman Creek until 1885. However, at least two Chinese people farmed the Aspley–Bridgeman Downs area. One farm was on the site of Aspley High School and the other, a pineapple farm, was on the triangular piece of land at the western end of Graham Road.

According to the 2001 census 20.11% of Aspley residents were born overseas and 10.06% speak a language other than English at home. This compares with 21.03% and 10.03% for Brisbane as a whole. 0.71% were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, compared to 1.67% for Brisbane.


Aspley State School 1990, Centenary History of the Aspley State School, self-published, Brisbane.
Ballard, Kath 1995, Geebong Story, self-published, Brisbane.
Brisbane City Community Profile Bracken Ridge Ward 1998, Brisbane City Council, Brisbane.
Brisbane City Community Profile Marchant 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.
Davies, Wally 1983, Brisbane Wildlife Survey (April 1980 to October 1981), Wildlife Preservation Society of Brisbane, Brisbane.
Estate Map Plan of Huttonville c. 1980, John W. Todd auctioneer, Hamilton Raff Surveyors, John Oxley Library, Brisbane.
Estate Map Melrose Fruit Farms Aspley n.d., R. A. Hamilton Surveyor, John Oxley Library, Brisbane.
Randall, Brian 1999, A guide to the history of the Brisbane City Council Ward of Bracken Ridge: encompassing Aspley, Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge, Bridgeman Downs, Carseldine and Fitzgibbon, self-published, Brisbane.
Teague, D. R. 1972, The History of Aspley, Colonial Press, Brisbane.
Zillmere Municipal Library 1973, 'Local history of Zillmere, Aspley, Geebung, Bald Hills', pamphlet, Zillmere, Brisbane.

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