Indooroopilly

The suburb of Indooroopilly, in particular the Indooroopilly Bridge, will feature in a forthcoming historical segment about Brisbane’s bridges, on Channel Seven’s Great South East program. 

The derivation of the suburb’s name is open to debate.  The Aboriginal word Yindurupilly is said to refer to gully of running water or Nyundur-pilly, said to mean gully of the leeches.  The first European name given to the area was Witton said to derive from the English locality Witton Flats.  The parish of Indooroopilly was officially named in the late 1850s.

 Early view of Indooroopilly Early view of Indooroopilly.  Image No: 80004

Some early settlers, residents and businesses in the Indooroopilly area include:

  • Mr. J. Henderson, Mr. F.T. Smith, Mr. Anderson and Thomas Murray-Prior were amongst the first purchasers of land in the area, from 1859.
  • McDougall Station.  Initially, much of the land between Toowong and Moggill was known as the McDougall Station.
  • Louis Stamm.  When the McDougall Estate was broken up, Louis Stamm was one of the first purchasers.
  • Mr. H.C. Rawnsley purchased land south of Witton Creek in 1860.  In 1861 he built a residence which he called Witton Manor.
  • Lou Bagster’s Family Butcher, Station Road, Indooroopilly (1900).

L. Bagster & Co. Butchers, ca. 1895 L. Bagster & Co. Butchers, ca. 1895.  Image No: 10572

  • Stamford Hotel established at the corner of Westminster Road and Station Road, Indooroopilly (1900).
  • P.J. Madden from Gympie moved into the area and discovered silver and lead deposits (1922).  The University of Queensland now uses the Finney’s Hill Silver Lead Mine for training purposes.

Finney’s Hill United Silver Mine, 1922 Finney’s Hill United Silver Mine, 1922.  Image No: 152987

  • Stamford Picture Theatre, later becoming the El Dorado Cinema was established in 1926.

 Stamford Picture Theatre, 1926 Stamford Picture Theatre, 1926.  Image No: 17353

Some important buildings in the area include:

  • Greylands, constructed in 1876 by Graham Lloyd Hart, a prominent lawyer.  Hart  purchased 43 acres in the area and built a residence which he called Greylands, living there until his death in 1897.  David Lahey, a timber merchant, lived in Greylands from 1910-12 and it was here that his daughter, Vida Lahey, painted the Monday morning laundry scene that is held by the Queensland Art Gallery.

Greylands, ca. 1932 Greylands, ca. 1932.  Image No: 17920

  • Walter Taylor Bridge – spans the river from Indooroopilly to Chelmer and was opened in 1936.  It operated as a toll bridge until 1966.  (Walter Taylor was a designer and constructional engineer who was prominent in the 1930s and was a strong promoter of the construction of the Indooroopilly toll bridge).
  • Albert Bridge – This railway bridge was constructed in 1876 but was destroyed by floodwaters in 1893.  It was subsequently replaced.

 Albert Railway Bridge, ca. 1911 Albert Railway Bridge, ca. 1911.  Image No: 194777

  • Brigidine College opened in 1929 as a Catholic girls secondary college operated by the Sisters of St. Brigid.
  • Nudgee Junior College, opened in 1938 to alleviate a boarding accommodation shortage at Nudgee College.  The college was taken over by the US army during the Second World War as a military hospital.
  • Indooroopilly Island is home to a large colony of flying foxes.
  • The residence now known as Ross Roy was built for tea merchant Daniel Collings (1897).  The residence is located at the Hart’s Road entrance to St. Peter’s Lutheran College.  It was purchased from the Collings family in 1910 by pastoralist William Ross Munro who renamed it Ross Roy – Ross from his own name and Roy, the name of his eldest son. 

Dining room at Ross Roy, 1922 Dining room at Ross Roy, 1922.  Image No: 167175

Some important dates in the history and development of the suburb include:

  • 1875 (14 June) – The Brisbane to Ipswich train service began.  Indooroopilly Station was originally called Witton Station.
  • 1889 ( July 8) – Indooroopilly State School was opened.
  • 1893  – the area suffered a major set back as a result of the Brisbane River floods.
  • 1928 – an Indooroopilly to Taringa bus service was in operation (Burnt Brothers).
  • 1945 – St Peter’s Lutheran College is opened.
  • 1954 – Indooroopilly State High School was opened.
  • 1970 (October) – the Westfield Indooroopilly Shopping Town was opened.

Some early housing estates in the area include:

  • Witton Township Estate situated adjacent to Witton Creek and comprising land surrounding Witton Manor (1880).
  • Indooroopilly Bridge Estate (1880s). Wharf Street indicates the location of the ferry/punt that traversed the Brisbane river.
  • Greylands Estate (1918) comprising 92 allotments.

Find more photographs of Indooroopilly in the State Library’s collection.

Posted in Brisbane Jo Browse John Oxley Library
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  1. kathy Bickle

    I would love to know when my sister moved into the indooroopilly bridge ,on the eldorado end of the bridge, she has been living there for years, and as far as i know, her and her husband took the toll for some time, and my relatives still live there. i did visit them about 15 or more years ago in the bridge as that is where my father lived before he died in 1966.

  2. Ann

    I don’t want to alarm you, Kathy, but there was a situation just very recently (this month or last) where a gentleman (I think a male person) had to be removed from the residence in the Indooroopilly bridge…the bridge had to be closed…I am not sure whether they had to use a crane, or what..sorry I am not very helpful to you at this stage, I just remember hearing about it on the news. (I think it was a medical emergency). Perhaps there may have been some news report in a paper, I don’t read all the papers so I can’t help you there either!

  3. mines qld

    This is a great post!. I’ve been “a lurker on your blog for quite a while.
    You make some very interesting points in this one.
    Just wanted to say keep up the good work!

  4. Greg Jones

    I also grew up in the area with “Greeny” and George as classmates though I never went inside the bridge residence. Came across a brief video of a family called McDougall living in the bridge in 1954 which shows some of the inside, though it might have been the Chelmer end, at http://www.ourbrisbane.com/suburbs/life-on-walter-taylor-bridge-50s . My grandparents moved into a house in Grosvenor Rd in about 1919 which the family occupied until it was demolished for Shoppingtown in 1969.

  5. Jennie

    Hi,

    My great grandmother (Margaret O’Connor) owned the original Stamford Hotel at Indooroopilly and I have just located some photos of it from the deceasted estate of my Auntie. I am trying to find more information about the hotel on line but with no success. Are you able to assist me in directing me to where I could locate this information.

    Regards
    Jennie

  6. Michael Yeates

    Found this by accident … while looking for any info on wartime activities at “Ross Roy” now in St Peters Lutheran College grounds.

    BUT the local history group would be VERY interested in any early photos (or any other info) of the Indooroopilly Hotel aka Stamford Hotel as it seems to be ‘invisible’.

  7. Enda Bracken

    I have a photo of Stamford House which was built by Louis Stamm in the 1860-80s (actual date not assessed). It was demolished after Louis Stamm’s Grandson/Mary Louisa Stamm-Keating-Coonan’s son died. The photo is preWW1. I also have its photo from the 1930-40s when It was occupied by Mary Louisa Coonan and the Underhills (her daughter & son-in-law). It is from the Underhill Papers in J.L.O.Do you want it?
    As regards to Jennies (8 April 2011) query. The Stamford Hotel – the underhill Papers have a receipt for the building of the Stamford Hotel as follows:- Construction of Hotel at Indooroopilly – 1903
    23 Mar. 1903 Final payment for Construction of Hotel at Indooroopilly by Louis Stamm of £317/17/- to Contractor, Geo. Gazzard, Original contract £1,650; Extra Work £32/17/-; Other elements:- fence iron £60;stables £28; wash house £8; drain of cellar £13; open drain; brink £4; land clearing £40; ; Architect £99/10/, kitchens £4/10/- – bringing the total cost of the hotel to £2094/17/- .
    After the death of Mary Louisa Coonan on 17 Aug. 1954 , the hotel was left 50/50 to her children Margaret Underhill and Louis Keating.

  8. anthony davis

    dear edner braken. do you have a photo of the Stamford hotel . I am researching a photo in ww2 serviceman . the photo shows the Stamford hotel . but I don’t no were it was until now ? he was stationed in Rockhampton before PNG .

  9. Kat Bickle

    Hi all who are interested in the indooroopilly bridge family back in early days, yes the mcdougalls were at the chelmer end , my sister moved into the indooroopilly end and she was Elizabeth green, i visited her one day in the bridge as my dad lived there just before he died He was a Bickle, , it was great to see bessie after so many years never having met her , she was a gracious lady and welcomed me warmly, i am so glad i got to meet her, she was my half siter , i would have liked to find out more about that side of the family and also share our side too , i thank those who have an interest in history of our country, regards , Kathy Bickle.

  10. michael yeated

    Hi all.
    We at the local history group are still looking for photos of or showing part of the Indooroopilly Hotel formerly Stamford as pteviously noted above.
    Anyone with photos in a private collection might consider providing a copy to the JOL as there are very few photos of “old” Indooroopilly ie late 1800s to 1930s near the railway station and the hotel.

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