Sankey Street is one of the steepest in Brisbane and is named after a family who lived in the area well before the street was conceived. The family has connections with Queensland's early military history as well as optometry.
Ernie and Mabel Lane were both dedicated communists. After spending some time in an Australian socialist colony in Paraguay, they settled into a home in Dauphine Terrace, Highgate Hill. Both continued to be activists for social change.
The distinctive house "Mon Abri" in Brighton road, Highgate Hill cost thousands of pounds to build in 1890 and still today is a landmark in the suburb.
In the late 1870s, fears of a Russian invasion led to increased spending on defence. On a hot February afternoon in 1879, volunteers were running all over Highgate Hill firing at each other and letting off their cannons in a military exercise. A crowd gathered to watch the spectacle.
After the unusual beginnings of this house as a home built for a man estranged from his family and his new companion, it was sold to the Lutheran church. From here the Church’s missions in New Guinea were run, with some unexpected episodes.
A distinctive old house on Dornoch Terrace was built by a man, estranged from his family, for his new companion but it was taken from her after his death by the Supreme Court.
In 1941, fears of aerial attacks led to the instigation of black-out exercises in Brisbane. The first casualty was in Highgate Hill and inflicted by a dog! In 1942, householders were being urged to construct back yard air raid shelters.
Nowadays the internet and mobile phones are our preferred technologies for telecommunication. However the introduction of the automatic telephone to Brisbane in the last century was a great leap forward at the time.
The Blakeney family owned two substantial houses in Highgate Hill located on huge blocks of land. Unfortunately neither have survived but memories of the family linger on as street names.
How much society norms regarding the rearing of children have changed is brought home by these stories from not that long ago.