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.
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.