Ashgrove Historical Society Inc. logo and name png

  • ArtS1 Grove Estate Plan 1888

    Advertisement for auction sale of lots in Grove Estate, on Saturday 4th February 1888.
    AHS archive no - AHS146

  • ArtS2 Grove Estate map c. 1900

    Grove Estate plan, c.1900. 

  • ArtS3 Ashgrove scouts 1909

    Ashgrove scouts, 1909
    AHS archive no: - 915

  • ArtS3 Seils Dairy Delivery Van 1930s

    Seils Dairy Milk Delivery Van, 1930s, a 1926 Willy’s Whippet,  owned by Seils' Dairy, Toomba Avenue, Ashgrove.  Milk was carried in the Dicky seat. 
    Source:  Neil & Jeanette Seils.

  • ArtS4 Waterworks Road, 1924

    Section of Waterworks Road showing the rough condition of the roadway.  1924.
    John Oxley Library digital image #201390

  • ArtS5 Old St Finbarrs Church Hall 1926

    Old St Finbarrs Church Hall,  Scan, 1926
    AHS Archive No: AHS523

  • ArtS6 Padmore Butcher Ashgrove Crescent c.1946

    WA Padmore, Quality Butcher, Ashgrove Crescent, c. 1946. 
    Source:  Desley Drevins.
    AHS Archive No: 559

  • ArtS7 Tram at Ashgrove West terminus, 1951

    Toast-rack tram No. 65 at the Ashgrove West tram terminus, in front of the Ashgrove West Uniting Church. 1969.

  • ArtS8 Grantuly Ashgrove

    Grantuly, the home of John Killough Stewart, son of Alexander Stewart of Glenlyon House.

Biography of Meta Truscott




(Co-Patron, Ashgrove Historical Society)


When a teenager I came to live in Elouera Road, Ashgrove West, with my widowed mother, 2 brothers and 1 sister in the winter of 1936 (3 years prior to WW11).


I had an office job in a furniture shop in Fortitude Valley and had to travel to work by tram.  Trams were running in those days, the tram terminus in 1935 had been extended from Oleander Drive to Ashgrove West, close by was the Ashgrove State School.  The Fare was 3d to the city which later became 4d.  Today it is about $.....


Trams ceased in Brisbane in 1969.  A private bus had operated from The Gap for many years.  BCC buses were now the order of the day, re public transport.  No train line ever out this way.


A lot of new homes were built in and around Ashgrove West on account of the new tram extension in 1935.  In 1938 the Ashgrove State School had alterations / additions.  In olden days it was a very small wooden structure.  It had its beginnings 131 years ago in 1877.  The first head master was Mr James Brunton Stephens (Poet).


Glenlyon House was erected the same year (1877).  The original owners being Mr Alexander Stewart.  He died in 1918 at Glenlyon House.


I did not get my primary education in the State School system but schooling and most things in life that kids did were much the same in those days.


For Instance:


No       Coffee – instant coffee was unheard of


No       McDonalds or hamburgers


No       Pizza to the door like today


No       Coca Cola – plenty of lemonade, ginger beer, sarsaparilla


No       large variety of biscuits – just sao, ginger nuts, scotch fingers, iced vo-vo, cookies


½ loaf of bread (called a tin loaf) was 3d – full loaf 6d.


Children enjoyed 3d worth of broken biscuits, sometimes more that bread.


To buy a piece of fruit – banana, pear, apple and orange, was 1d for children.


A child’s haircut was 6d.  The difference between a good and a bad haircut was usually about a week!  Some parents used to cut the hair of their own children for thrift reasons   - it was called ‘the basin crop’.


No       TV.  I was 16 in 1933 before my parents bought a wireless set.  We played board games more, cards etc., when indoors.




Candles were used to chase away the darkness at night in outside toilets, which was a small wooden structure usually built at the rear of one’s house or yard.  It was sometimes called the ‘WC’, also the ‘dunny’ .  Strangely enough, Ashgrove and the surrounding area was not sewered until about the 1960s when (the late) Mr Clem Jones was Lord Mayor of Brisbane.  Brisbane advanced in many ways then, under his leadership.




Gas coppers later were in use in most premises for washing the family clothes.  We used clothes lines, with the aid of a ‘clothes prop’ to elevate the line, until Hills Hoists were invented.




Postal delivery was twice a day, now mail is delivered once daily Monday to Friday.  We even had a mail delivery on Saturday morning.  Postage stamps have now risen to 50c.




In my teen years, few telephones were installed in private homes.  Few had refrigerators, most homes had ice chests.  Ice was delivered then to houses.  Meat was kept in a safe (Coolgardie) underneath the house – a cool spot.  Butter in the butter coolers – drinking water was kept in a canvas water bag.




At school – No computers like what is in evidence today in all schools, nor Teacher’s Aides.  We did have the old blackboards and the cane (I got my share, I think).  Slates were used in the lower grades.




Alas, there were no suncreens like what is available today.  A lot of kids (mostly boys) had freckles.  Later in life we all paid the price of sunburn.




Bread, milk, meat, vegies and eggs and ice were delivered daily to homes.  There was no Woolworths or Coles, just the ‘corner store’ – up the road or just around the corner – ‘open-all-hours’, pay the bill and you got a few boiled lollies.  Their numbers are few in the suburbs today.




A ‘treat’ was fish and chips of a Friday night.  Of course, there has always been ice cream, but not delivered to the door like today’s Mr Whippy.  Don’t forget the pie stalls that used to be in the city at night.  They are gone – for good.




Boys played games with their mates – footy and cricket, marbles and spinning tops, to name just a few, and swimming in the Enoggera Creek.




Girls had skipping ropes and hoops, and played dressing up and undressing their dolls, playing mothers, entertaining afternoon tea, etc.




I think children read more books in those early days.  Now, alas, telly has taken over, I think and has come to stay.  So too has the mobile phone, and the computer.  Reading can open young eyes to a world outside your own.  Going to the dentist was my main nightmare – it still is.


We lived in Elouera Road, alongside a lane which, in the year 2000 was named ‘Marist Lane’ in recognition of the Marist Fathers who occupied Glenlyon House from 1925 – 2000.  The Chapel, the former billiards room in the days of Alexander Stewart (who had 6 sons), was packed of a Sunday for Sunday Mass which was attended by the many Catholic people living in the surrounding area.  That stopped when the Marist Fathers sold their property to Mr George Hadgelias.  Today it is a private residence for the Hadgelias family.




My mother’s house “Highworth“ was built in 1936.  ‘Elouera’ is an aboriginal name for ‘pleasant place’.  I lived there until 15/11/1947 when I was married in the Marist Father’s Chapel nearby.  After my marriage I moved to Yoku Road, Ashgrove where I have lived for 60 years. (My husband died in 1989.)  In 1947 we had to give the then owner £200 over and above the price for the house as so many people were seeking houses to buy.  At that point-in-time, tradesmen were plentiful but not the materials needed to build houses – just soon after WW11.




Speaking of war years – during WW11 whilst living in Elouera Road, I could hear the army bugler (about 10pm) sounding the warning ‘lights out’ at the Enoggera Army Barracks – rear of the then St Jude’s Seminary, later to become Marist Brothers College.




Ashgrove is only 10 minutes drive to the CBD.  It is an ideal place in which to live and bring up children.  It is surrounded by many schools, primary and secondary, and TAFE College is nearby.




Ashgrove central has a varied supply of food shops, bakeries, specialty shops, several banks, business offices, several churches to cater for various faiths.  The only Picture Theatre, ‘Elita’, burnt down in 1990.  It was a youngster’s delight to attend the matinee of a Saturday afternoon.  Now there is TV and you can view movies at home – almost any time of the day and night.




There are several parks and sportsgrounds to cater for young and old.  1856 was the year of the first sale of crown land in Queensland – the site of the Ashgrove park, the football field and adjacent bowling green.




I was honoured by the Brisbane City Council in 1994 when ‘Meta Truscott Lane’ was named and erected.  The lane is situated between Woonga Drive and Banksia Avenue, Ashgrove West, adjacent to Glenlyon House.




There is a niche in life for everyone.  Education is very important.  Make the most of your talents – the woods would be silent if the birds that sang there only sang the best.




Meta Truscott.