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Camp Hill


Postcode: 4152 | Distance to CBD: 7 km

Welcome to Camp Hill
Camp Hill was once farming land and during World War II was well known for the very large US Navy Hospital in the area including and surrounding the present Lavarack Park. The suburb was however named long before then, when it was used as a resting place for travellers. A landmark of Camp Hill is the White's Hill Reserve, once known for its rubbish tip but now a popular sports field with natural bushland and walking tracks. White’s Hill was also once the site of the White family's magnificent home with tea rooms and beautiful city views. Camp Hill is handy to the Carindale Shopping Centre as well as schools and public transport.

Camp Hill is roughly 7km from Brisbane’s CBD. Over 43% of households in this area are comprised of couples with children and a further 39% are couples without children. Stand alone houses account for nearly 86% of all dwellings, with townhouses and units accounting for a further 13%. Camp Hill has a variety of housing styles – everything from renovated Queenslanders through to modern units.

There’s Samuel Village Shopping Centre on the corner of Boundary and Samuel Street, and if you’re after more variety there’s Cannon Hill Plaza or Carina Shopping Centre only a short drive away.

Locals Comments
Sonia says: Magnificent mature trees surround the Queenslanders. Many homes are on double blocks. You can walk to everything - even a Lions match at the Gabba!

7 km from CBD.

Elevated topography, some city views and cool breezes. Close to Norman Park rail station, Carindale Shopping Centre and the Coorparoo retail precinct.

Home to a diverse range of housing, Camp Hill offers everything from traditional older style houses and a few apartment blocks through to unique architecturally designed modern homes overlooking the city skyline to Mt Coot-tha. The suburb contains many fine examples of renovated Queenslanders, colonials and post-war workers cottages. Only seven kilometres from the Brisbane CBD, Camp Hill is elevated and overlooks the city. It is conveniently located between the Carindale shopping centre and the Coorparoo retail precinct, providing residents with a variety of shopping choices. For those commuters opting to leave the car at home, the north-western portion of Camp Hill is located in close proximity to the Norman Park railway station while the remainder is well-serviced by regular bus services to both the city and Carindale. Once a working class area, Camp Hill has undergone considerable gentrification and is increasingly included in Brisbane's up-and-coming suburbs.

Aboriginal history
Whites Hill was known as 'Boolimbah', which probably meant 'place of the magpie-lark'. Mr W. H. Greenfield, who had lived in the area since 1890, recalled a time when all the land was bush and the Aborigines camped on the sides of the hill. When the White family first settled Whites Hill, there were concerns that they were beyond the police district and so in danger from Aborigines and bushrangers.

Urban development
Camp Hill was so named because teamsters and other travellers stopped at the waterhole at the foot of the hill to rest on the trip between Brisbane and Cleveland. Originally Camp Hill was settled as small farms, dairies, and vineyards, with a strong German community. Many farmers had come out as assisted immigrants and either been given land grants or paid two shillings and sixpence per acre [0.4 hectares] blocks. Many of these were sold off during the 1880s land and housing boom. The coach went along the government road to Cleveland. Old Cleveland Road was fringed with houses and the area became known for its gardens.

In 1882 Isaac Bennett's Rose Farm on the corner of Bennetts and Old Cleveland roads was subdivided. Although at least six other subdivisions took place during the land boom of the 1880s, sales were slow. The lack of transport greatly slowed development and the area remained primarily rural. In 1883, agitation resulted in a bus service to Stones Corner. The railway line, which would have spurred development, was expected to go through Camp Hill. Unfortunately, it was developed instead along the coastal route in 1889. Not only did Camp Hill lose the railway line, but it also lost the coach traffic, which had been overtaken by rail. Mr Winterbottom started a bus service to Coorparoo with a feeder service to Belmont in a wagonette.

The crash of 1893 sent land prices tumbling and Camp Hill remained as a scattering of houses among dairy farms. Land values did not improve until 1910. In 1925 the tramline was extended to Camp Hill and Cavendish Road, and old residents tell of huge profits made on land when it was approved. Dairy farms were subdivided to form housing estates such as the Windsor (1920), City View (1922), Camp Hill Terminus (1925), and Daly (1930) estates. Most of the residential development in Camp Hill has taken place since the Second World War. After the war there were some housing commission war homes built, and later many new subdivisions were opened up. This development continued well into the 1960s, with large subdivisions around the Whites Hill area in what was the last major growth spurt in the suburb.

Notable residents
Clem Jones was born in 1918. After studying at the University of Queensland, he worked as a surveyor and town planner, reputedly building Australia's largest surveying practice. He was involved in a variety of sporting and community groups, including the Camp Hill Carina Welfare Association and with the development of the Clem Jones Centre at Carina. He was elected Lord Mayor of Brisbane in 1961, which he remained for fourteen years. During that time he saw Brisbane develop beyond the old ten-mile (16.1 kilometre) limit, the city region grow into a high-rise centre, and sewerage come to the city. He continued to hold a variety of public positions, including delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1998.

Mr and Mrs Robert White married in Bromley, England, and in 1863 emigrated on SS Indus to Maryborough and then to Red Hill. In 1873 they bought 53 acres [21.5 hectares] on the last remaining hill in south Brisbane. Every day Mr White would travel seven miles [11.3 kilometres] into town to work for Andrew Petrie as a joiner. Then he would come home to use axes, shovels, and picks to develop his own land. First he built a slab house for his family and a milking yard and piggery. Then he dug out a road to the top of the hill and built a sawmill to mill the timber in the area using water from the swamp. Finally came the large house he had dreamed of sixty squares [557.3 square metres] in size, with twenty-foot (six-metre) verandahs. The house became a popular attraction due to the camera obscura and tourist facilities.

Bob White and his wife had six children. One of his grandsons recalled how Bob would sit on the verandah looking at the view and smoking a meerschaum pipe. When Bob was brought up in South Brisbane court for serving alcohol at a reception, he stood up and shouted 'that's a ...lie' and fell down unconscious. After his death the Council requisitioned his land in 1926.


Whites Hill (120 metres) is the easternmost peak of a ridge that starts at Pine Mountain. Bob White bought fifty-three acres [21.5 hectares] of land in 1873 on which to build his dream home. This house was built for the view with a round living room. Sightseers began to come, so the White family began providing tea, then meals and telescopes, and then a camera obscura (which reflected the outside scenery onto the walls of the living room). On a clear day one could see to Ipswich, and could hear the level-crossing gates slam at Coorparoo. Through the telescopes people could read the time on the Central Station clock. This grew in popularity and became a popular place for weddings and parties, where guests danced to a German machine that played music. The following advertisement appeared in the Daily Mail in 1906:

"One of the best hills within easy access of the city, from which a panoramic view of Brisbane may be obtained, Coorparoo bus – 6d [sixpence] – The hill is the western point of the Pine Mountain and commands extensive views in every direction... admission to grounds 6d, camera obscura 6d extra. Refreshments may be obtained."

In 1924 Bob White declined twenty-two thousand pounds for the site, but a few years later the Council resumed it for less than half that amount. During World War II the army used it as an observation post. Later after vandals damaged the house the Council pulled it down. In 1964 land on the hill was developed and sold, but this did not include the White land, which was later developed for a park. Some original rainforest and eucalypt scrub still remains and koalas are reportedly still in the area.

The Camp Hill State School, called Mount Bruce School until 1931, was opened in 1926. It was named for the nearby station for the Belmont Flyer.

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.

Reference: BRISbites, 2000






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