Postcode: 4151 | Distance to CBD: 4 km
 

Welcome to Coorparoo

Coorparoo, named after the aboriginal word Kulpurum for Norman Creek is one of Brisbane's older suburbs with many historic buildings still in existence.  Since its beginnings Coorparoo has always been well served by public transport, has a number of major shops along Old Cleveland Road and is close to many schools and churches, including the historic Coorparoo Uniting Church on the corner of Cavendish Road and York Streets.

 

Statistics

Coorparoo is about 4km from Brisbane’s CBD. Over 42% of households in this area are comprised of couples without children, and 36% are couples with children. Stand alone houses account for nearly 50% of dwellings in this area, and units account for a further 46%. There are a large number of medium density unit complexes as well as renovated houses in this area. 

 

Shopping

Old Cleveland Road has a great shopping district that includes a Coles supermarket. Greenslopes Shopping Centre on Logan Road is also close by.

 

Locals Comments

Pauline says: Its gracious old homes, the hills with magnificent views, the parklands and common, pleasant walking tracks, an interesting variety of shops and restaurants, many glorious churches, many wonderful educational facilities, proximity to city, many happy elderly people as well as bouncing babies, great climate, large stately trees and colourful gardens, its fertile soil, sporting facilities.

 

Location

4 km south east of the Brisbane CBD.

 

Features

Proximity to Brisbane City, Stones Corner outlet shopping precinct, Coorparoo and Buranda rail stations

 

Profile

Only four kilometres from Brisbane's CBD, Coorparoo continues to benefit from consumer demand for near-city living. Coorparoo is on Brisbane's south-eastern side and has easy access to the city along either the Southeast Freeway or the Story Bridge.  Coorparoo will continue to benefit from the desire of many people to live close to the CBD to cut down on travelling time to and from work. This explains the strong rise in the number of units in the area.

 

A small part of Coorparoo is designated semi-industrial and commercial - however, this is a defined and isolated area not impinging on the residential zones of the suburb. Coorparoo benefits from a train station only a few stops from the CBD, as well as an extensive Brisbane City Council bus service. 

 

The suburb has a high proportion of medium density unit complexes and a strong rental market. Around the elevated parts of the suburb, million dollar house sales have occurred in recent years. There are private and State schools in the suburb.

 

Coorparoo's shopping district features a refurbished Coles Supermarket. There are extensive small businesses, banks and retail outlets that serve the surrounding suburbs as well as Coorparoo. The Stones Corner retail fashion outlets are nearby on Logan Road.

 

Aboriginal history

The Coorparoo Clan lived south of the Brisbane River and generally camped along creeks. Their name comes from 'Kulpurum', which was the word for Norman Creek or a tributary of it. They continued to occupy watercourse campsites after white settlement, but other clans from the region began to move into South Brisbane.

 

In 1846 there were reports of Aborigines raiding produce along Norman Creek. In 1853, there was a fight between Ningy Ningy, Bribie Island, Amity Point, and Logan tribes at Norman Creek. A visitor in 1855 reported many camps and fishing spots between Stones Corner and the mouth of Norman Creek. In 1959 an eighty-year-old woman told of frequent corroborees on the banks of the creek in Norman Park. Corroborees were also held at the little creek that crossed Norfolk Street.

 

Urban development

Coorparoo was named by the residents at a public meeting on 22.3.1875. The name Coorparoo comes from the Aboriginal name for Norman Creek. This had been translated as both 'place of the mosquito' and 'peaceful dove'. The Shire of Coorparoo was formally proclaimed in 1888.

 

On 17 June 1856, ten farms were sold from the Parish of Bulimba near Stones Corner. Investors bought all but two of them. The next year James Warner surveyed land on the other side of the road for a second land auction. On 22 March 1875, a meeting of local residents at the Wecker's house resolved that the 'name of the locality, together with the proposed primary school, should be Coorparoo'.

 

In 1876, the Coorparoo State School was opened and Frederick Robinson began offering public transport in a wagonette from Coorparoo Junction to Victoria Bridge. The 1880s land boom was a spur to profit from land. John Black was the first to subdivide land in the area in 1882 and later a variety of subdivisions were offered to the public. The construction of the bridge at Stanley Street (1886) and the development of the Stanley Bridge Estate made the area more attractive to purchasers. In 1887 the tramway was extended to Buranda, putting the western end of Coorparoo close to tram travel.

 

Coorparoo had been part of the Bulimba Divisional Boards since 1879. However, in 1888, as a result of dissatisfaction with this situation, a petition was taken and Coorparoo Shire was created. A bridge was built at Burnetts Swamp (Stones Corner) and important road improvements took place. Development was taking off. In 1889 there were 2,500 people in the shire.

 

The floods of 1889 and 1893 hit the low-lying areas of Coorparoo. The flooding combined with the 1890s depression slowed development in the area. In 1900 there were actually fewer houses than there had been ten years earlier. The settlement was dense from Stones Corner to Kirkland Avenue, but further out it was mainly bush with a few isolated farms and houses. The only major industry was the brickworks of Abraham James at St Leonards Street, which employed eighty men in the 1880s.

 

After World War I, land prices increased as property sales boomed. Coorparoo did not really begin to expand again until the tram service was extended to Stones Corner in 1902 and Coorparoo Junction in 1915. The number of houses increased from 613 in 1911 to 1,467 ten years later. Development in Coorparoo had taken off.

 

Notable residents

Edward Deshon was born in India in 1836 and educated in England. He retired from the army in 1862 and came to Queensland. He managed the Caboolture Cotton Company and had various managerial and government appointments. In 1885 Deshon was appointed a member of the Lands Board and in 1889 he was appointed Auditor General. He bought land in Cavendish Road in 1885 and erected a fine two-storey home. In 1927 Archbishop Duhig purchased this land, on which Loreto Convent now stands.

 

Thomas Brentnall was born in England in 1834. When he migrated to Australia in 1863 he was a Methodist minister, but a throat infection forced him to find other work. He was a shareholder, wrote for, and managed, the Telegraph newspaper, and by 1887 was chairman of the board. He was a member of the Legislative Council of Parliament from 1886 to 1922. In 1884 he bought thirty acres [12.2 hectares] of land at Coorparoo Junction from Old Cleveland Road to Leigh Street. He had Abraham James, the brick manufacturer of St Leonards Street, build him a two-storey brick house, which he named 'Eastleigh'. He started subdividing the land in 1888, but little was sold until 1911. After the arrival of the tram, development took off at the Junction. He was president of the Coorparoo Shire Council when it started, in 1888, and in 1889.

 

Reuben Nicklin came from Staffordshire in England. In 1864 he opened the Brisbane branch of Butler Brothers Saddlers and Ironmongers, in Adelaide Street. In 1879 he was appointed to the Bulimba Divisional Board. The Nicklins built two homes in the area. In 1876 they bought Jane Temple's farmhouse near Stones Corner. In 1884 they built 'Langlands', the oldest remaining masonry home in Coorparoo, which is now part of Villanova School. In 1886 they left Langlands and built 'Hatherton', which became Queen Alexandra Home. Nicklin tried to subdivide Langlands Estate but most of the land remained unsold. Reuben Nicklin paid for the cricket, tennis, and football facilities in Coorparoo and Jane Nicklin was known for assisting the ill. They died in the wreck of the Quetta in 1890. Their daughter Alice clung to a plank until she was rescued.

 

Christian Uhlmann Junior's parents migrated from South Germany in 1845 and settled in Hemmant. For a time his father worked for Sir Robert MacKensie, who had taken over Bulimba House from the McConnels. Christian and his two brothers started a butcher's business on Old Cleveland Road, opposite the school, in the 1890s. The next generation began a butchery at Woolloongabba and another in Hawthorne, where Uhlmann and O'Meara still operate today.

 

Landmarks

'Hatherton' was designed by John Hall and built in 1886 for Reuben Nicklin. It had twelve rooms and double nine-foot (2.75-metre) wide verandahs on three sides. Reuben and Jane Nicklin died in the wreck of the Quetta in 1890, but the house remained in their family for some years. In 1910 it became the property of the Methodist Church and was known as the Princess Alexandra Home. In 1937 Sir Leslie Wilson unveiled a tablet and renamed it Queen Alexandra Home. The Home was used as a home for children, TAFE teaching rooms, and a community centre.

 

In 1888, the three representatives of Ward 3 of the Bulimba Divisional Board resigned and led demands that ended in the creation of the Coorparoo Shire. The Council bought two blocks at the corner of Cavendish Road and Halstead (then Shire) Street, and a Shire Hall was erected. First used in 1892, the Shire Hall was the first building in the area with gaslight. It was used until 1925 for shire meetings, dances, and as a library. It is now owned by the Returned Services League (RSL) and is known as the Coorparoo School of Arts.

 

Coorparoo State School opened in a modest tin building in 1876 with thirty-seven children. In the first year 101 pupils enrolled. It was originally planned to call it the Stevens–Towell School after Samuel Stevens, Cooper and Farmer, who donated the land, and the first headmaster J. C. Towell. But Stevens refused the honour, and it was named after the Aboriginal name for Norman Creek. William Halstead became headmaster in 1884 (the headmaster's house was in Halstead Street) and Frederick Beet (after whom Beet Street is named) held the post from 1899 to 1920. Coorparoo School was replaced by a two-storey brick building between 1927 and 1936.

 

Premier Nicklin officially opened the Myer Coorparoo Shopping Centre, a complex of several units, in 1960. 560 guests attended. It consisted of Myer (now Megamart), a BCC supermarket (now the annex to Megamart on the west), and a Woolworths store. Woolworths was remodelled and extended after the Roxy Theatre was demolished in the late 1960s and is now the Coorparoo Mall.

 

The land was originally part of the first sale at Coorparoo and was bought by John Bridges. By 1866 Samuel and Maria Harries farmed it as 'Avondale' and in 1887 it was subdivided, though little sold. After the Harries' son further subdivided it in the 1930s most of the land sold.

 

In 1959, Allen and Stark bought two acres [0.8 hectares] of land and began to erect a south side department store to mirror the new one at Chermside. This was part of the initial movement, after the Second World War, towards suburban shopping and the development of the supermarket and car culture.

 

The Methodist church is the oldest in the area, having been established in 1886. The first church was timber, gothic in design, with a shingle roof and bell tower. People would ride from Mount Gravatt to see it.  Old Cleveland Road was first shown as a line, probably representing blazed trees, on a sketch made by Alan Cunningham in 1829. In 1839 and 1841 James Warner surveyed Norman, Hilliard, and Tingalpa creeks and proposed (but did not draw) a possible route from Brisbane to Cleveland (Emu Point), although he did show the bridges and fords that crossed these creeks. In 1849 the decision was made to plan a town at Cleveland Point. In 1850 Warner presented his 'Survey of a practicable road from Brisbane in the County of Stanley to the proposed Town of Cleveland' and Old Cleveland Road became a road constrained by surveyors' pegs.

 

When the bridge was built across Norman Creek in 1856, the traffic to Cleveland tended to use that route hence Wynnum Road was known as Cleveland Road. An auction announcement in that year referred to Old Cleveland Road as 'High Cleveland Road'. The mail coach used this route from then until the railway went through in 1888. It was still a rough track in the 1860s, but by the twentieth century was a popular motorists' run down to the bay.

 

Norman Creek is an important part of the south-eastern Brisbane suburbs. The catchment has an area of 29.8 square kilometres and runs from Mount Gravatt to the Brisbane River. The derivation for the name Norman Creek is unknown. It appears unnamed on Oxley's map of 1823, but Lockyer names it as 'Norman's Creek' in 1825. Cunningham's map in 1829 shows it as 'Norman's Creek'. Baker's Australian Atlas (1846) shows Gorman Creek, but this is almost certainly an error. The identity of Norman is not known. In 1839 James Warner surveyed Norman Creek from its confluence to its mouth.

 

By the 1860s the waterholes became polluted and gradually the swamps were drained. Near the end of the nineteenth century it was affected by sewage discharge and there has been a continuing problem with rubbish being dumped and erosion, due to cutting down the mangroves.

 

The first bridge across Norman Creek was built at the mouth in 1856, greatly reducing the distance people had to travel to get to Bulimba and neighbouring suburbs. Three subsequent bridges followed, the last built in 1956. In 1886, the Stanley Street Bridge was opened, creating important access to Coorparoo and Norman Park. Extensive reclamation, concreting, and piping of the swamp and creek has modified it dramatically. In the 1990s the Council and community groups began to restore and revegetate large sections of the creek. The native river mangroves are growing back. Mud crabs, mullet, and prawns can still be found in the lower reaches and an important flying fox colony lives in the trees between Coorparoo Secondary College and Churchie.

 

Reference: BRISbites, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

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