Discover your local history, and see where this can lead you

With the current interest in house histories, generated in part by the Home: a suburban obsession exhibition featuring photos taken by Eunice and Frank Corley, I thought I would share the story of how I began my house history research, originally told in a blog that I posted in 2013.

“My curiousity in the history of my street began a few years ago when I discovered an Estate Map which advertised a land sale of 23 spanking sites at Curd’s Hill, Greenslopes, in October 1925. A few weeks later, I glanced through a Harris’ Street and Road Directory from 1917, to find my same street had a different name. I had lived in Greenslopes for years but had no idea of any street name changes, and I only had the briefest knowledge of local history of the area. I decided it was time to use some of the resources available in the John Oxley collections to discover the ‘when?’ and the ‘why?’ this name change occurred.

Curd's Hill Greenslopes real estate map

Curd’s Hill Greenslopes real estate map, State Library of Queensland, http://hdl.handle.net/10462/deriv/252867

The ‘why’ for changing the street name from Thomas St was clear as there was (and still is) another Thomas St nearby. As the district became more populated two similarly named streets may have caused confusion. But why choose Curd St? I knew of the dairying history of the area – ‘Greenslopes’ referred to the green pastures found in the district. Was Curd a reference to the cheese-making process?

Post Office Directories are a list of residents of a town or suburb with addresses listed. Unlike the modern telephone directories, Post Office Directories can be searched by street name with listings of residents on the left and right had sides of the street. I had begun my searches for ‘Thomas St’ and variously ‘Coorparoo’ or ‘Mt Pleasant’ as both these names seemed to fit my locality.

Image from Harris street directory 1917

Image from Harris street and road directory 1917

Searching in the Queensland Post Office Directories between 1917 and 1925 discovered the ‘when’ – Thomas St became Curd St in the 1922/23 volume. Imagine my excitement when I also discovered an Edward J Curd as resident of this newly named Curd St.

Now I had a date for the street name change and a person to begin searching for! Who was this man and why was he so important that a whole (though small) street was named after him? Time for me to start digging deeper to see what could be unearthed about this man and his life in my street 90 years ago.

My passion for local history was unleashed! And I have found a connection with my street and an interest in the district that has surprised me, along with earning me the nickname of ‘Curd Nerd’.”

Update: Since first posting this blog, I have discovered the architect’s plans for my apartment block, held by the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland, and discovered that I don’t need to live in an old house or a famous house – or even a house – to discover the history of my home. And I do have a framed copy of the Curd’s Hill Estate Map on my wall.

Keen to know more about your house’s history? Then come along to the Discover your House History talk on 16 February 2019.

Katy Roberts

Visitor and Information Services

More information

Home: a suburban obsession exhibition – http://home.slq.qld.gov.au/

Real estate maps of Queensland – https://www.historypin.org/en/real-estate-maps-of-queensland

One Search catalogue – http://onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au

Ask Us – http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/services/ask-us