History of the 4007 Precinct

Take a moment to read on and learn a little about the history of our area. Both Hamilton and Ascot were cornerstones in the original Greater Brisbane infrastructure. Once you’re done, take the time to get to the 4007 Precinct and rediscover Racecourse Road.

 

Hamilton

The township of Hamilton was named from one of the first businessmen in the area, Gustavus Hamilton. He was a prominent Brisbane solicitor who in 1865 built a hotel ‘The Hamilton’ on the banks of the Brisbane River to cater for the nearby horse racing fraternity at Eagle Farm.
In 1829-1830 the main route through Hamilton, Kingsford Smith Drive, was created by convict labour. The purpose of the road was to connect Brisbane Town to the women’s gaol at Eagle Farm.

Hamilton was a town in its own right from 1890 until 1924 when it became part of the Brisbane City Council. In 1899 electric trams, replacing horse drawn trams, led to the rapid development of the suburb.

The Hamilton Divisional Board was formed in 1890 and then replaced by the Hamilton Town Council in 1904. In 1925 the Hamilton Town Council was disbanded when Ascot and Hamilton became part of the Brisbane City Council area. Hamilton Town Hall built in 1920 still stands in Racecourse Road and is now a library and community hall.

Large subdivisions in the Ascot/Hamilton area were created at this time. The smaller allotments on the new housing estates meant that residential growth increased, helped by improved public transport.

In 1867 James Dickson constructed the large house called ‘Toorak’ in Annie Street. He entered the Legislative Assembly in 1873, and was Premier in 1898-99.  A strong supporter of Federation, Dickson was appointed the first Commonwealth Minister for Defence in 1901.

Hamilton Hill was originally farms but after the floods of 1890/93, wealthy families built impressive homes on this higher ground, with sweeping views of the river and Moreton Bay breezes. Many of these grand homes (Victorian Georgian, colonial, Queenslander, Tudor) still exist.

Palma Rosa is a well-known building in Queens Road. It was originally named Sans Souci and it was built in 1887 by the distinguished Italian architect-builder Andrea Stombuco.

Bretts Wharf

Image: Historic photograph of Bretts Wharf, Hamilton. Credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

 

Ascot

In 1855 the pastoralist James Sutherland became the owner of a substantial portion of land in the Toombul parish, including land surrounding the Sutherland Avenue area.

Originally this area was thickly forested. The initial grant of 320 acres to establish a racetrack in 1863 meant that racegoers caught only occasional glimpses of the horses. Horse racing was one of the colony’s earliest sports and the name Ascot was given to the suburb as a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ reference to the prestigious racing hub in England.

In 1882 the branch railway line was extended to Eagle Farm Racecourse in Ascot. Public transport developed further in 1899 with the introduction of the first non-horse drawn tram service to Ascot.

In 1925 the Hamilton Town Council was disbanded when Ascot and Hamilton became part of the Greater Brisbane Council. The large subdivisions in the Ascot/Hamilton area were divided at this time to form smaller allotments. Residential growth increased with the development of housing estates and improvements in public transport.

Edmund Beckham and Edward Videan formed the Ascot Taxi Service in 1919. This was the first taxi company in Queensland and it operated from Ascot Garage at Racecourse Road. In 1953 the Ascot Taxi Service became the first taxi company in Queensland to install two-way radios.

The Eagle Farm Racecourse, at the end of Racecourse Road was established in 1863.  Horse racing was one of the earliest sports in Brisbane and the name Ascot was given to the suburb as a ‘tongue-in cheek’ reference to Ascot, the prestigious racing hub in England. In 1941 military authorities took over the racecourse, then known as Camp Ascot, to house thousands of American troops.

Racecourse Road was the village shops for the suburbs of Ascot and Hamilton, and up until the 1960s trams (which ran down the centre of the street) were a popular form of public transport.

Ascot Taxis

Image: Historic photograph of the original Ascot Taxi Service. Credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Content courtesy of Councillor David McLachlan. For more information on the Hamilton Ward area, click here.