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  • 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.

Early Oakleigh and Dorrington

Early Oakleigh and Dorrington

A talk presented by Lindy Sugars     Date:  2 October 2004 

The information that I’ve got together started from this little book which is called Something Beautiful for God and was compiled by Marcia Logan and it's about St Michael's on Banks Street history and there is quite a bit of Dorrington history in it.  So that was my starting point and some of the information I am going o be giving you today comes from that book.  Other books that have the history are the Golden Jubilee for Oakleigh State School and the Diamond Jubilee in 1994.  There are some photos of the Oakleigh school and a church that was on Victoria Street and is now Cornerstone Fellowship, scout history, and Oakleigh (Uniting) Church from 1980.  Also a booklet produced by the Oakleigh Kindergarten for when your child starts kindergarten and it has a bit about the history of the kindergarten. 

So going back to the very beginning, let's have a look at where Dorrington is defined (shows a map of the area showing Dorrington, Wardell Street, Oakleigh State School, Marist College, Moola Road, Banks Street Reserve, Yates Avenue and the Enoggera Military Camp.)  This area was owned by Thomas Cairns, and is bordered by Dorrington Park, Wardell St, Frasers Road, Marist and the creek.  It was purchased by Thomas Cairns on 14 September 1858.  The next map shows the different lots that were sold, where Marist is, and one of those lots was bought by Alexander Fraser.  Frasers road was originally called Taylors Road, and also Government Road.  Alexander Fraser bought this lot in 1872.  When he died, his unmarried daughter Jane was given 7 acres surrounding the homestead.  The house is still there.  It probably took up all of Dorrington Park which was called Dorrington Paddock.  Her brother and John McKay had the rest of the property and they then bought the next lots near Moola Road and Marist.  This was then sub-divided in 1925 and TM Burke bought 27 acres and sub-divided it into allotments.  It was called the Glenlyon Gardens Extension (Glenlyon Gardens being where Glenlyon House is). They built a bridge at a cost of £1000 so that the people who lived in Moola Rd could get across the bridge and get to the tram at Oleander Drive.  That is how it was promoted (see map). 

To explain how Dorrington got its name – the area where Oakleigh School is built was called the Oakleigh Estate and the name comes from George Oakden and his wife whose maiden name was Leigh – thus Oakleigh.  I gather he must have owned quite a lot of land in that area.  This map of 1891 shows the subdivisions then, showing Frasers Paddock, Forest Grove Estate,  the Grove Estate and the Frasers Rd bridge.  The Grove Estate was booming and the closest school was either Ashgrove or Ithaca and so a new school was proposed for The Grove Estate.   Dorrington Park was suggested as the new site but the land was too expensive, so they started looking across the creek.  So eventually George Oakden offered some of his land for the school site for a cost of £1600.  The land was purchased in 1926 but the school was not opened until 1934.  The suburb was by then called Oakleigh.  Because there was also an Oakleigh in Victoria, causing confusion for the PMG dept, the Progress Association was asked to choose a different name in 1947 and they chose Dorrington.  Alexander Fraser’s home was Bannockburn and it still stands overlooking Dorrington Park. 

Now, on to Marist College.  In 1928 Rev Walter Cain, the founder of the Most Holy Eucharist Society, purchased the deceased estate of 44 acres for £4400.  The property was formerly the country retreat of Dr William Frederick Taylor who was an ophthalmologist and a member of the Legislative Council.  He died in 1927 but the land had been in the Taylor family since 1889.  Frasers Road was originally called Taylors Road.  Taylor was a Canadian who migrated to Australia with a medical degree from Canada and was also a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and registered in Queensland in 1870 with the AMA as an ophthalmologist.  He travelled Queensland looking at conjunctivitis and eye diseases in children.  He was very involved in the early medical legislation.  In 1889 he purchased portions 364, 365 and 366 which is  where Marist College now is.  In 1891 he was called before the Queensland Government Committee on the topic of establishing and maintaining a university in Queensland.  In 1892 the electoral role showed he had a residence in Edward Street with freehold portion 364 in the parish of Enoggera.  He was Chairman of Committees in the Queensland Government from 1913 to 1920 and was buried in Toowong cemetery and his wife is buried there too (she died a few months after him).  The land title was transferred, as a transmission by death, to his family – his children Frederick, Amy and Pauline. 

Then Walter Cain purchased it for St Jude’s Seminary.  It closed amongst controversy in 1938.  Marist College has a book called Canvas of Dreams which relates their history.  The property was then offered to the Marist Brothers as the school at Rosalie was overcrowded and the new school was opened in 1940.  Dorrington Park was originally a 22 acre block, portion 462, which had been owned by TS Dudgeon prior to 1872.  It was bounded by Wardell St, Enoggera Ck, and the southern part of Brown Parade.  By 1891 it was designated as Dorrington Park but was sub-divided in 1924.  Four acres, some of which is Frank Waters Park, were divided to gardens and breathing spaces.  The current Dorrington Park is on land that was originally owned by Alexander Fraser.  Some of the park was a dump, to help fill in the gullies.   Some streets were closed to allow the Oakleigh School to be built.  Tay Street and Buxton were closed or split, making access to the main gate of the school difficult.  The land in front of the school, which now has houses on it, was originally proposed as a drive way for the school but the Department declined to purchase it and the land was sold.  The placement of the school was unfortunate, but it was the sturdiest place to build a school of its size, as a lot of the block was filled and being washed away by flooding, even before the school was started.  The school was moved forward on to better foundations. 

Street names – Banks Street is named after James Matthew Banks who owned a lot land around that area and also the Banks Street Reserve. It was known as Banks Road in the 1940s.  Ashbourne and Matlock Bath are towns in Derbyshire where George Oakden originated from.  Buxton is a mineral spa in Derbyshire.  Farrell Street was named for the electrician who developed the housing estate with Frank Finlayson, a builder in the 1950s.  I have found a letter written by George Oakden’s daughter Winifred, in 1920, which she had written to her nephew John Oakden about the family and where they lived.