Here at Village Buzz we’re interested in the history of our area and we decided it would be a good idea to visit local historical societies to learn more. Putting the thought into action, I went along one Thursday morning recently to Enoggera Memorial Hall where I met Dave Livett who is president of the Enoggera Historical Society.
The society was formed in 1994 at the instigation of Kate Perry, an English migrant, to preserve the history of the area including Upper Kedron, Gaythorne, Ferny Hills, Enoggera, Alderley and Newmarket. This is more or less the area covered by the former Enoggera Shire which was absorbed into Brisbane in 1925.
The society has 85 members and collects historical photos and manuscripts relating to the area. Its archive is located in the Enoggera Memorial Hall, parts of which date back to World War I.
The archive is open every Thursday from 9 AM to 1:30 PM (at other times by arrangement) and researchers or members of the public are welcome to come along to browse through the available material.
Dave explained that the society depends on local people to provide photographs and documents which are copied and handed back. The collection of material is not fully digitised as yet but the process has begun and will hopefully move into top gear soon with the support of the Brisbane City Council.
The society has a number of publications on sale at a nominal charge at the Memorial Hall including the Enoggera District Heritage Trail, The Michie Picture Show, Between Kedron Brook and Taylor Range and Davidson's Paddock Heritage Trail.
The society also plays an active role in giving presentations on local history to schools and other groups. They are very interested in gaining new members and particularly anyone with the skill and confidence to help with this important service to the community.
I learned many interesting facts during my visit and while browsing through some of the society’s publications which were lent to me.
Did you know?
There has been a military presence in the Enoggera area since the mid-1880s and that a contingent of troops left from here to fight in the Sudan.
The railway reached Enoggera in 1899 and was extended to Rifle Range Station, now known as Gaythorne Station, in 1916.
Enoggera Barracks, later renamed Gallipoli Barracks, dates back to 1916.
Horses for the military were accommodated in the region of Mitchelton Park during World War I.
Gas street lighting began in Brisbane in 1865 and there was apparently a gas light in South Pine Road opposite Enoggera State School and one on the corner of Pickering Street and Samford Road. Gas lights in the city were replaced by electricity from around 1925.
There was not only a large presence of Australian and US troops at Enoggera during World War II but also a number of camps spread along the railway line housing enemy aliens who had been interned for the duration and Italian, German and Japanese prisoners of war.
There was once a picture theatre in Mitchelton adjacent to where the Mitchelton Sportsground is today. It was established in 1916 by the Nugent family and ran more or less continuously through both wars and the great depression. It also boasted one of the finest dance floors in Brisbane and was a centre of the community for many years. Proprietors of picture theatres were immune from call up during World War II but a portion of every ticket sold in the theatres went to support the war effort. The theatre closed soon after the beginning of TV broadcasts in Brisbane in 1959 and was converted into a roller skating rink which lasted until the mid-1980s. The building is still there in Osborne Street and currently houses Pet Barn.