Much can be discovered about a house like ours from newspaper searches. It’s not a large house and nobody well known ever lived here that I know of. Nevertheless the people who lived in our house before us have left a newspaper trail that gives fascinating glimpses of the past. The search is greatly aided by the fact that up until the 1920s, house numbering in Brisbane was uncommon and house names were the principal method of identification. This gives us a method of searching when the names of those who lived in a house are unknown.
In 1862, Portion 156 on Highgate Hill was subdivided into 29 allotments which sold very slowly. A significant barrier to sale was the lack of water on the hill.The land upon which Glenview stands was sold in 1881 to Ann Sarah Smith and it would seem that the house was built sometime between then and 1883, when it first appeared as an entry in the Post Office Directory. The listing for Glenview gives the resident as Henry Smith, a planing machinist and carpenter. In that directory, only 9 houses are listed for Dornoch Terrace.
The first indirect reference to our house is in 1882. The following advertisement was placed by Henry Smith, living on Dornoch Terrace.. The number of bricks is certainly close to my estimate of the number used in our house and our bricks are handmade with pebbles mixed in the clay.
I suspect the Henry used bits and pieces of left over timber to build the house, as there is some strange joinery. One door has a change in profile of the architrave masked by a corner block, for example.
The first unambiguous newspaper appearance of the house is in October 1884, when it was offered for lease.
The river views were possible that time as there were few houses and the hill had been stripped of timber over the preceding 50 years. There would also have been a good view of the glen giving the house its name, looking towards the river and today’s Paradise Street.
Successive Post Office Directories show various residents renting the house over the next 15 years.There are a number of advertisements seeking help.
It seems that hiring and keeping domestic servants was a problem as there are many advertisements over the years, such as the one below from 1891.
Public transport to the area was limited to the Brighton Road omnibus mentioned in this advertisement. It wasn’t until 1901 that the electric tram was extended from Vulture Street up Gladstone Road after a large cutting through the ridge opposite Dorchester Street was made to give an acceptable gradient.
In 1893, Glenview was sold to Fanny Hopkins, however the house continued to be rented out for some years.The Hopkins family took up residence in their house sometime around 1899. From this point , we start to see the use of newspapers for social announcements. The newspaper was an effective way of notifying friends, and everyone else in the community for that matter, of what was happening in your life.
In an age when the telephone was still a rarity and transport was horse based, the newspaper played a vital role in organising social events. Here are some examples of “at home” announcements.
Sometimes “at homes” weren’t even held at home.
Of course, announcements of family events were common, as they continue to be today.
Susie Hopkins continued to live in Glenview until her death in 1943 , at which point the house was sold by her heirs. By this time, street numbering had become common in Brisbane, and the use of house names had largely fallen out of use.
Glenview is listed in the Brisbane City Council Heritage Register.
This post has illustrated how TROVE newspaper searches can assist in researching a house’s history, but there are many other paths to follow. This site , for example, gives a lot of interesting detail about how you can go about researching the history a Queensland house.