Glenview – A Highgate Hill House circa 1883

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.

highgate hill view from Brisbane circa 1868

Highgate Hill viewed from the city 1868 (State Library of Queensland)

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 – see another post in this blog Highgate Hill Reservoir 1889 for more on this. 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.

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Thursday 21 December 1

Telegraph, December 21st 1882.

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 cedar 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.

to let3 Oct 1884

The Brisbane Courier, 2nd October 1884

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.

Dornoch Tce 1884

Dornoch Terrace in 1884. It follows the route of an ancient Aborignal path down to the Kurilpa huniting grounds. (State Library of Queensland)

Successive Post Office Directories show various residents renting the house over the next 15 years. John Barns, an accountant, rented the house for some years from 1885. Auctioneer and MLA Simon Fraser died in 1889. His widow Lucy Fraser left their home “Torbrek” further up Dornoch Terrace as a result of financial difficulties and rented “Glenview” from around 1896 until 1899 (see my post The Three Torbrecks ).

There are a number of advertisements seeking help over these years.

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Saturday 3 October 188

Brisbane Telegraph, 3 October 1885.

dressmakert April 1886

The Brisbane Courier 10th April, 1886

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.

Glenview Dornoch Terrace Highgate Hill

Brisbane Courier, 13th January 1891

Public transport to the area was limited to the Brighton Road omnibus mentioned in the advertisement above and another that travelled along Gladstone Road (see my post Brisbane’s Omnibuses). 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. For more on the tram system, see my post Tram Assists Horse Drawn Dray Highgate Hill 1926 .

omnibus West End. 1890

West End Omnibus, 1890s. (State Library of Queensland)

In the 1890s women were yet to gain the right to vote, however a system of plural voting was in place for men. Registration in multiple electorates was possible based on residence or ownership of land. Registrations accepted were published. In January 1893, Lands Department draftsman James Crawford was listed with his residence as “Glenview”.

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Saturday 28 January 1893,

Brisbane Courier, 28th January 1893. (TROVE)

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 the house sometime around 1899.

macademia nut holes door

Signs that one of the cedar doors was used as a macadamia nut cracker. (P. Granville)

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.

Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1901 - 1936), Thursday 19 Ma

Queensland Figaro 19th March 1903

booked passage figaro 21_5_1908

Queensland Figaro 29th May 1908


Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1901 - 1936), Thursday 3 Jun

Queensland Figaro, 3rd June 1909

Queensland Figaro (Brisbane, Qld. : 1901 - 1936), Thursday 21 Se

Queensland Figaro 21st September 1911

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.

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Thursday 26 May 1904,

Brisbane Courier 26th May, 1904

misses h at home zoom

Brisbane Courier, 23rd November, 1911

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), Tuesday 21 October 19

Brisbane Courier 21st October, 1913

Sometimes “at homes” weren’t even held at home.

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Wednesday 13 September

Telegraph, 13th September, 1911

Dornoch 1901

Dornoch Tce. 1902. Glenview with its distinctive three chimney pots can be seen as the left most house on the right side of the road. (State Library of Queensland)

Of course, announcements of family events were common, as they continue to be today.

marriage11 May 1907

The Queenslander, 11th May, 1902.


Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Friday 9 October 1908,

Telegraph, 9th October 1908

Susie Hopkins, who was the first born child of William and Fanny Hopkins, continued to live in Glenview until her death in 1943 aged around 77.

Dornoch terrace 1930

Glenview is right in the middle of this image from The Week, September 19, 1930. (TROVE)

After her death, 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.

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), Saturday 16 Oct

The Courier-Mail, 10th October 1943.

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.

Glenview Highgate Hill House 1883

“Glenview” in 2016

14 thoughts on “Glenview – A Highgate Hill House circa 1883

  1. great post Paul!! This is exactly what we want to achieve with that web site idea.. putting together the bits and pieces sourced from Trove and maps and what we know from the BMDs for build up a picture of the neighbourhood and those who lived there. well done!! Jenny

     Jennifer Freeeman email:

    From: Highgate Hill and Its History To: Sent: Friday, 24 June 2016, 20:19 Subject: [New post] A Highgate Hill House circa 1883 #yiv3017400419 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3017400419 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3017400419 a.yiv3017400419primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3017400419 a.yiv3017400419primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3017400419 a.yiv3017400419primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3017400419 a.yiv3017400419primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3017400419 | Paul’s Walk posted: “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 fascinatin” | |


  2. Hey, thanks for this! Ellen Hopkins was my great grandmother and I’m doing family history research. I have postcards sent from Laidley to Glenview in 1908. I’ll have a drive past the house and take a photo.


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  10. Hi Paul,

    How many times we walk by your house and admire the beauty of it. Thank you so much for sharing interesting story of your house and other properties in 4101. I enjoy reading it all. I would love to explore more history of the road Jumna St, West End. If you have any story or know any source, I would be much appreciated. Regards, Hue


    • Hi Hue, thanks very much for your kind comments. Unfortunately, I dont know anything about Jumna street other than it’s one of the few in that area named after rivers in India (Ganges, Hoogley and Jumna). Its shown on maps from the 1890s and probably dates from the land boom in tbe 1880s. The best approach is to search the Australian Library database TROVE for mentions of tbe street in old newspapers. Paul


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