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Caxton Hotel, Brisbane.JPG
The Caxton Hotel
Population 7,987 (2011 census)
 • Density 3,330/km2 (8,600/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 4064
Area 2.4 km2 (0.9 sq mi)
LGA(s) City of Brisbane
(Paddington Ward)
State electorate(s) Brisbane Central, Mount Coot-tha
Federal Division(s) Brisbane, Ryan
Suburbs around Paddington:
Bardon Red Hill Red Hill
Bardon Paddington Petrie Terrace
Bardon Auchenflower Milton

Paddington is an inner suburb of Brisbane, Australia located 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) west of the Brisbane CBD. As is common with other suburbs in the area, Paddington is located on a number of steep ridges and hills. It was settled in the 1860s. Many original and distinctive Queenslander homes can be found in the suburb. Houses are frequently built on stumps, owing to the steep nature of their blocks. In recent years, Paddington has become a very desirable residential location. Between 2005 and 2010, the median house price has risen over 50% to $1,000,000.


In the 2011 census the population of Paddington was 7,987, 52.2% female and 47.8% male.

The median age of the Paddington population was 32 years of age, 5 years below the Australian median.

73.6% of people living in Paddington were born in Australia, compared to the national average of 69.8%; the next most common countries of birth were England 4.5%, New Zealand 3.5%, Ireland 1.1%, United States of America 1%, South Africa 0.9%.

86% of people spoke only English at home; the next most common languages were 1.3% Italian, 0.8% German, 0.8% French, 0.8% Spanish, 0.5% Mandarin.


Paddington lies in a valley in the foothills of Mount Coot-tha The area is extremely hilly with many peaks and gullies. Most of the retail is located along the ridgetops which contain the main roads of Caxton Street, Given Terrace and Latrobe Terrace. Proceeding north west (outbound) along Caxton Street there is a gentle downward slope on either side until Given Terrace is reached, colloquially referred to as "lower Paddington". At Given Terrace there is a slope that flows down to Rosalie on the left while on the right there is a steep drop to a gully which then rises again to the Red Hill ridge. When Latrobe Terrace is reached, colloquially known as "upper Paddington", the road sticks to the ridgetop with gentle slopes on either side until moving uphill towards the suburb of Bardon.

The suburb is predominantly residential, on small blocks of land by Queensland standards, with many workers cottages and Queenslander-style homes with corrugated iron roofs. Paddington includes the small locality of Rosalie. The suburb of Petrie Terrace lies to the east.


By road: the main thoroughfares of Paddington are Caxton Street, Given, Latrobe and Enoggera Terraces. Most shops are located on Given and Latrobe Terraces.

By bus: Buses operated by Brisbane Transport continue to serve the suburb. And in conditions free of traffic congestion a bus trip from the Brisbane CBD takes around ten minutes to upper Paddington.


The Petrie Terrace State School, despite its name, is in Paddington and can be found nestled below St Brigid's Church, Red Hill and behind the fig trees near the Ithaca Swimming Pool.

Paddington is otherwise serviced by a number of schools in the surrounding suburbs.


Nightlife and entertainment

Largely due to Paddington's proximity to the Brisbane CBD, tertiary institutions as the University of Queensland (in St Lucia), Kelvin Grove campus of the Queensland University of Technology (in Kelvin Grove), the Queensland University of Technology itself (in the Brisbane CBD), the Red Hill TAFE (in Red Hill), as well as housing suitable for "share-housing" (older wooden houses with multiple small rooms) and the general culture of the area (former working class and multicultural) many young people, especially students, live in the area.

As a result, there are a number of night clubs on Given Terrace and Caxton Street including the Paddington Tavern, and many smaller bars that change owners on a regular basis. The Paddington Tavern also plays hosts to the "Sit Down Comedy Club" which over the years has hosted Arj Barker, Carl Barron, Dave Hughes, Eric Bana, Jimeoin, Judith Lucy, Kitty Flanagan, Lano and Woodley, Mick Molloy, Rodney Rude, Ross Noble, Shane Bourne, Steady Eddy, Tripod, The Umbilical Brothers and Wil Anderson amongst many others.

Paddington was one of the first, if not the first, suburbs to be gentrified, and developed a coffee culture in the 1980s which is still significant and vibrant today. Similarly, being an area with a large migrant population in the 1960s and 1970s, there are many restaurants in the area. Most of these coffee houses, small bars, eateries and restaurants are located along the Caxton Street – Given Terrace- Latrobe Terrace main road system that runs though Paddington.

Similarly, there are many art galleries in the area and many artists as well as musicians and budding writers live in the area.

Traditional institutions like the Union Cooperative Society Ltd incorporating the Paddington Workers Club and the Brisbane Workers Community Centre exist. It is a member-owned organisation that aims to improve the social and economic well being of its members and their community and was formed in 1965 to protect the incomes of workers from rising prices by providing goods and services at the lowest possible cost. While the Cooperative has largely moved out of retail there is still a small bar which doubles as a live venue but otherwise it is now a financial organisation that cares for members' financial interests.

The Kookaburra Café hosts the "Kookaburra Folk Music Club" on a regular basis and is a reasonably popular haunt for young people looking for cheap pizza.

Senior citizens are catered for by the Brisbane West Senior Citizens Club at 132 Latrobe Terrace which host activities and respite services for senior citizens.

The Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care at 333 Given Terrace which was originally established in 1949 and provides pastoral care for post World War II immigrants from traditionally Catholic countries.

The nearby Brisbane Arts Theatre at 210 Petrie Terrace is a theatre company that has been producing plays for over 60 years.

The smaller localities of Rosalie and Torwood also has a thriving restaurant, café, and gourmet culture along Baroona Road which also hosts an annual Cheese Festival.


Many houses along Caxton Street – Given Terrace – Latrobe Terrace were converted into small shops in the 1980s and accordingly Paddington has a vibrant shopping scene for speciality shops of all types including fashion (clothes, shoes, male and female), food (chocolate, cheese, alcohol and organic), home wares ( bathroom supplies and hardware) and entertainment ( new and secondhand book stores, picture framing, video stores) and is largely devoid of the larger "chain" shops.

A thriving antique, second hand and opportunity shop scene exists in the area with the Paddington Antique Centre being the centrepiece. The Paddington Antique Centre is in the former Paddington Plaza Theatre located on Latrobe Terrace. The building has at various times been a movie theatre, dance hall and storage facility. It accommodates over 50 antique dealers trading under the one banner. The centre attracts many collectors both interstate and overseas.

The Union Cooperative Society building on the corner of Given and Latrobe Terraces was originally home to a grocery and petrol co-operative that provided lower cost household goods, groceries and petrol to its members. The building still houses the Workers' social club and is a hub of locally owned small businesses such as Chercher La Femme, Biome Eco Stores and Cocoon Petit Living and Simpatico restaurant.

Paddington Central on Latrobe Terrace, situated on the site of a former shopping complex which was originally the site of the Paddington Tram Station is the largest shopping complex in Paddington and contains a supermarket, a number of Café's, Il Posto Italian Restaurant as well as Paddington Medical Centre and Travel Clinic, a local family owned pharmacy Paddington Central Pharmacy and other speciality shops.


There a number of small parks in the area including the Neal Macrossan Park on Caroline Street (also known as Ithaca Playground) which also incorporates Paddington Skate Park and Tennis Courts and the adjacent Ithaca public pool on lower Caxton Street. The site has aesthetic significance as a public open space with extremely large Moreton Bay fig trees which line Caxton Street and Moreton Street and are significant landmark elements. The playground comprises three buildings along the northern boundary, adjacent to the kindergarten; a tennis court in the north eastern along Caroline Street; a skate bowl, known as Father Perry Place on the eastern side of the swimming pool; a large oval on the western side of the swimming pool and terraced playground space in the central area. The three buildings at the Neal Macrossan Playground are a large public hall facing Moreton Street, a small former free library to the east of this, and abutting this on the eastern side is a covered play area. A locomotive was added to the playground on 20 March 1973 but this was removed in 1995.

A larger multiuse park, Gregory Park, is located on Baroona Road near the Rosalie café precinct.

There is a fallen soldiers Memorial Park on the corner of Latrobe Terrace and Enoggera Terrace and a small park named after the former tram workers of the area, "Trammies Corner" on the corner of Latrobe Terrace and Prince Street.

The Suncorp Stadium (formerly known as Lang Park) is located on Castlemaine Street in Milton though fronts Caxton Street and is an otherwise large imposing non descript functional stadium which plays hosts to a number of sporting events. The Old Stadium, Lang Park, was the official home of Brisbane Rugby League, the defunct South Queensland Crushers, and then finally when Brisbane sponsored a national Rugby League club it became the home the "Brisbane Broncos". The old stadium was torn down in 2001 and an ultra modern stadium was built which hosts Brisbane Broncos Rugby League games, Rugby Union international test games, Brisbane Roar soccer games, as well as a number of other sporting and music one-offs.


There are a number of churches in Paddington proper including two Catholic and one Presbyterian Church. The Catholic parish of Jubilee has its parish headquarters on Given Terrace. The churches are located at:

  • Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 355 Given Terrace, Paddington.
  • St Thomas More Catholic Church, 111 Hale Street, Petrie Terrace, with mass in Italian.
  • Enoggera Presbyterian Church Building, 100 Enoggera Terrace, Paddington.

There are a further three Catholic churches in adjoining suburbs, a number of small Catholic Chapels, an Anglican church (in Milton, based at St Francis College on the historic Bishopbourne site), a Baptist church, and a Uniting Church. The nearest cemetery is the nearby Brisbane General Cemetery at Toowong (locally known as Toowong Cemetery) which is the largest cemetery in Brisbane though it is largely closed.


Paddington adjoins the suburbs of:

  • Red Hill, which is the home of the Broncos football club, Ithaca campus of Brisbane North Institute of TAFE, the Ithaca Bowls club and a State primary School;
  • Milton, which has the Park Road café and restaurant precinct, and the Milton train station;
  • Bardon which backs onto the Mt Cootha native reserve and has the Wests Rugby League Club, Bardon Junior Soccer Club, the Bardon Bowls Club, Brisbane Irish Rugby Football Club, and the West Brisbane Cricket Club. Local schools include one Catholic Primary School, two State Primary Schools and a Catholic Girls High School
  • Ashgrove (at the "sub-suburb" Jubilee end of Ashgrove) which has shopping complexes, parks and Catholic boys' and girls' high schools.

History and culture

Before World War II

Prior to development the wooded slopes and ridges were home to the Turrbal Aborigines, known by whites as the Duke of York's clan. In the early days Aborigines camped in Armstrong's Paddock on what is now Armstrong Terrace and also on the former Paddington Tram Depot on Enoggera Terrace.

Ithaca Creek, which now largely exists in the suburb of Red Hill, runs down from the Taylor Mountain Range and Paddington originally developed around a series of water holes that ran from the Creek to the Brisbane River.

White settlement in Paddington commenced in the 1850s and the area was known as "Ti-Tree Flats" as the first residents moved there to cultivate gardens on the flats and to cut timber. The first sale of land occurred in 1859 with the sale of fifty-five lots and the area was named after the borough in England named Paddington.

Development was slow as the steep slopes created challenges for the emerging public transport and even architecture. In 1879 a horse bus was introduced and by the 1880s hill-top mansions and workers cottages in the gullies had been built.

StateLibQld 1 106636 Land Sale map of the Wathana Estate in Paddington, Brisbane, 1927
Land Sale map of the Wathana Estate in Paddington, 1927

Paddington used to be part of the Town of Ithaca. At one stage gold was found near the old Paddington Cemetery and shafts were sunk. By 1906-7 electric trams ran along Caxton Street and the line was extended until it reached Bardon in 1937.

It was during the first decade of the 20th century that Ithaca experienced a housing and population boom which was largely attributable to the expansion of the tramways through the area. The Brisbane Tramways Company, a private enterprise formed in 1895, introduced the first electric trams to Brisbane in mid-1897. Following lobbying by the Ithaca Shire Council, a tramway was extended along Musgrave Road to Red Hill, and a line was laid along Caxton Street and Given Terrace as far as Latrobe Terrace in 1898. The Red Hill line was extended to Ashgrove in 1924, and the Paddington line was extended to Bardon in 1937. The spread of the tramways network was a catalyst for residential development in the western suburbs. The tramways substation was erected in 1929-30 at the corner of Latrobe and Enoggera Terraces.

In the 1910s the Ithaca Town Council embarked on a programme of civic improvements which included the establishment of Lang Park [1917], the Ithaca Swimming Pool [1917], and the Ithaca Children's Playground [1918] and associated formation of roads, tree planting, construction of embankment gardens, small reserves and street gardens throughout the suburbs of Red Hill, Kelvin Grove, Paddington, Rosalie, Bardon, and parts of Milton. Because of the hilly terrain, many of the new streets were divided, leaving embankments which the Ithaca Town Council considered were cheaper to plant and beautify than to cut down. This approach placed the Council at the forefront of street beautification projects in the Brisbane metropolitan area and Australia and led to numerous requests for advice in civic landscaping from other councils, interstate as well as within Queensland. At the second Australian Town Planning Conference and Exhibition, held in Brisbane in July–August 1918, the Ithaca Town Council exhibited photographs showing treatment of ugly cuttings and street improvements which beautify the street and at the same time solve practical difficulties. The Ithaca Embankments on mid Latrobe Terrace are a good example of the same.

StateLibQld 1 109572 Unveiling of the Ithaca War Memorial in Paddington, Brisbane, 1922
Unveiling of the Ithaca War Memorial in Paddington, Brisbane, 1922

On 25 February 1922, Sir Matthew Nathan, the Governor of Queensland unveiled the Ithaca War Memorial to commemorate local people who had died in World War I.

Prior to 1925 the suburb was administered by the Ithaca Town Council. In that year the Council was amalgamated with 24 other councils to form the Brisbane City Council.

In 1927 the water tower at Garfield Terrace was opened. At the opening the President said it had always been the aim of the Water Board to afford facilities to provide a full water supply to all residents on elevated land. For a time the area was referred to as Paddington Heights, supposedly to differentiate it from the more traditional working class Paddington.

After World War II

The Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Archbishop James Duhig, was a great advocate of Catholic education and was largely behind the creation of the Rosalie Catholic High School on Fernberg Road. On 2 October 1949 at a cost of 35,000 pounds he formally opened the new high school. A crowd of nearly two thousand people attended the opening including the Labor Premier (and staunch Catholic and local resident), Mr. Ned Hanlon and the Works Minister, Mr. Power. Present, controversially, at the laying of the foundation stone was Irish hero, revolutionary, president of Sinn Féin, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland (from 1932–1948, 1951–1954 and 1957–1959) and future President of Ireland (for two seven-year terms from 1959–1973), Éamon de Valera. De Valera was travelling around Australia, at the invitation of a bishop, to speak and associate with the many Irish immigrants who had made Australia their home. At the ceremony at Rosalie, de Valera said, according to press reports at the time, that "…the new school was part of the evidence of the magnificent works of charity and community effort that he had seen in every capital of the Commonwealth."

Prior to the late 1980s many factories circled the Brisbane CBD which had very little residential accommodation. Accordingly, the suburbs of Paddington, Red Hill, Milton, New Farm, Spring Hill, Fortitude Valley were considered "inner city" suburbs and housed many workers families as well as seasonal workers who worked in those factories. The relatively cheap housing also meant that new migrants, itinerants, students, artists, and disenfranchised Aboriginals lived in the area.

Accordingly, Paddington was traditionally working class mainly made of Australians, old Irish Catholic Australians, indigenous aboriginal people and new waves of Catholics migrants. The first Catholic migrants were the Irish and then the Italians, Croatians, Polish and Hungarians came in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The high proportion of Catholics in the area during those years is attested to by the fact that there are seven Catholic churches, one boys Catholic High school (threatened with closure), two girls Catholic high schools, four primary Catholic schools (one defunct), and various Catholic halls and refectories all within a three-mile radius.

Similarly the Catholic migrants had their clubs nearby with the Polish club in the neighbouring suburb of Milton, the Italian club a suburb away in Newmarket and the Croatian club formerly in Roma Street in the Brisbane CBD and then Fortitude Valley before securing premises at Morningside and then building a club and soccer fields at Rocklea.

Today the sons and daughters of immigrant families are a continuing presence in the Paddington area as many of the commercial and residential premises are owned by the "new" migrant families that settled in the area.

In the early 1960s Lord Mayor Clem Jones of the Australian Labor Party embarked on an ambitious programme to "sewer" Brisbane and within five years all the residences were sewered. Occasionally "outhouses" can still be seen in back yards. Following on from that over the next 10 years or so bitumen was laid to the sides of all roads. Bitumen used to extend to curbs only on the main roads. The 1960s saw the first steps of inner Brisbane moving away from a "country" town to an urban city.

Until December 1968 electric trams, operated first by the Brisbane Tramways Company and later the Brisbane City Council, operated along all four main thoroughfares in the suburb. A tram depot (garage) was located on Latrobe Terrace between 1915 and 1962, when it was destroyed in one of Brisbane's largest fires. The cause of the Paddington tram depot fire is not known however arson and public corruption has been rumoured for years. Sixty-five of Brisbane's trams were destroyed which was a large proportion of its fleet. After the fire Old Dreadnought trams were pressed into service, and eight replacement (Phoenix) trams were built, but Lord Mayor Clem Jones began to close lines almost immediately. The destruction of the depot is generally seen as the beginning of the end for Brisbane's tram system, providing the justification for the subsequent closure of four tram routes, the gradual encroachment of bus operation on other tram routes with the final closure of the tram system occurring on 13 April 1969.

The 1970s reflected the new ethnic mix in Paddington and though still a working class area many Italian restaurants opened in the area as did various "fish and chip" shops, delicatessens, and tailors. Though hardly cosmopolitan by Melbourne and Sydney standards, Paddington along with New Farm and West End, was at the forefront of exposing traditional Brisbane residents to cuisines and cultures from around the world.

The 1974 Brisbane flood which ravaged much of Brisbane largely left Paddington proper alone. The main roads and shops of Paddington were on the ridge tops and it was only the houses in the gullies and dips that were affected. The same cannot be said of the Rosalie area or that part of Paddington near Milton where flood waters affected most properties, at some points reaching roof lines.

The low cost of the area also meant that young people and students moved to the area and brought their own "do it yourself" entertainment with them. By 1976 various members of the punk band "The Saints" lived in a share house in Petrie Terrace and even created a club there, "Club 76". It was Bailey's sister who rented the terrace house on the corner of Petrie Terrace and Milton Road, near the Windmill Café in Petrie Terrace. Bailey moved into the basement and, when his sister moved out, Hay and Wegener ( of "The Saints") moved in. The band would frequently play parties there when no other venues were available, until the storefront was smashed in by an unhappy neighbour. Undaunted, the band nailed boards up and splashed "Club 76″ across the front of the place. Though in reality the club was a room in the house where they lived and was constantly harassed by police, and closed down by the Health department when it was found to have only one toilet. In January 1977 the Saints celebrated the release of the album and the cover picture (and subsequent video clip) was taken down the road from Club ‘76 in an abandoned terrace house.

The Caxton Street Hall (which since has been the Velvet Cigar strip club and is now Lefty's Old Time Music Hall) was also a notorious live venue which hosted gigs by "The Saints", "The Go-Betweens", "The X-Men", "Died Pretty", "Xero", The Black Assassins, les Bon Bons, Razar and others as did the Lang Park Leagues Club. The general mood of the time was captured by The Saints in their song "Brisbane (Security City)"(1978).

Police had been wary and aggressive towards the local Brisbane punks for some time and had employed their "baton" first ask questions later attitude on many occasions. The Queensland Police Service was a tight knit unit under the right wing Conservative State government who had been in power since 1957 and were largely seen to be the front line troops enforcing the government's conservative views on religion, social policy and public behaviour.

The Caxton Street Hall was a natural target for plainclothes police and undercover operatives. The hall (then known as the Baroona Hall) had since its inception in the 1890s been a community centre with a largely working class association including being used by the suffrage movement, the anti World War I movement, as a meeting place for strike organisation, an Australian Labor Party meeting place and a co-operative community welfare centre. By the 1970s it was serving as a venue of the burgeoning civil liberties movement and in 1976 the Baroona Legal Service (the Caxton Street legal Service after 1980) was established, much to the chagrin of the police, to provide free legal advice for people who could not afford it otherwise. It was there that the young people and elderly sought advice. At night the hall became a venue for local punks and local independent radio station 4ZZZ to put on concerts. Local Brisbane punks however because of the stifling and oppressive political climate were more politicized than punks in other States.

The most notorious gig at the Caxton was on 30 November 1979 following a gig by local punk band "The Sharks". As the crowd came out onto the footpath, police waded in and began arresting patrons. 12 teenagers were arrested and assaulted on the footpath and back and at the police watch house.

Paddington was one of the first suburbs in Brisbane to undergo "gentrification" in the mid-1980s. Accommodation prices rose sharply as younger white collar workers moved closer to the CBD as factories, and factory workers, were relocated to the outer suburbs. As a result, there was much development in the area. The old Paddington Hotel in Given Terrace was demolished and an American style "tavern" was built in its place, whilst across the road the Paddington movie theatre was demolished in 1981 and a shopping arcade, "The Paddington Centre", was built on its site. On Latrobe Terrace the basic brick functional "Paddington Central" shopping centre (formerly the Paddington Tram Depot) was demolished and a more modern shopping centre was built.

With the influx of young people into the area there was a resurgence of popularity in the area as an entertainment precinct. The Paddington Tavern became a well known drinking spot for younger people whilst the "older" crowd went to drink at the Lord Alfred Hotel and Caxton Hotel on Caxton Street until both of them were remodelled. The Paddington Workers Club has at various times been used as a live band venue as has the Caxton Street Hall while the Paddington Centre upstairs housed the famous night clubs, Café Neon and Viva and the old boot factory on Caxton Street housed the "Spaghetti Emporium" restaurant and then the "Underground" night club before being demolished.

The Morris family owned and operated the boot and footwear factory on the corner of Hale and Caxton Streets from the 1880s until it was sold in the 1960s. The second factory building was built in 1930 and the F.T Morris Footwear company employed up to 180 workers and could make 630 pairs of boots and shoes a day. The company was sold in the 1960s to Dixon & Sons and while the business continued to make a profit for a while bit eventually could not compete with cheaper imports and nylon and canvas mass-produced shoes. The factory closed in 1973. The second factory building in Caxton Street was reopened in 1976 as the "Spaghetti Emporium" restaurant, complete with a giant boot on the roof. In the 1980s, the building became the nightclub "Brisbane Underground" but it was demolished for the controversial Hale Street city by-pass in 1990.

The Hale Street Inner City Bypass North-West Ring Road effectively split Petrie Terrace from Paddington and Red Hill and upset the local community greatly. What was a suburban street became a 4 lane main road. In the process a number of houses were resumed by the State government who already had been criticized for a lack of community consultation. To make matters worse the residents of the area were elderly or workers and otherwise people without a political voice. Some of those whose houses were to be resumed refused to be evicted and were forcibly ejected by the Queensland Police.

The only local benefit was that when the development occurred, land, previously unallocated state land, was given to the adjoining playground.

At the turn of century again there was a substantial local opposition to the Queensland Governments proposed redevelopment of Lang Park. The park was widely perceived to be adequate for the Rugby League games it held however the Labor Party State government and the Lang Park Trustees had other ideas of turning it into a modern large scale money making venue. The State government sold the idea, rather disingenuously, as an upgrade to the "home of the working mans game Rugby League in Queensland". Local opposition to the redevelopment was concerned with the lack of car parking at the venue, remote access to public transport as well as difficulties the suburb would have in dealing with the increased amounts of crowds. Vocal opponents frequently referred to the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds in the nearby Bowen Hills as being more suitable, with all the transport infrastructure already there and the already proven ability to deal with large crowds every Exhibition week. The issue threatened to be an election issue and though Labor was returned in the area and locally it is significant to note that Labor locally lost a substantial number of votes which were picked up by the local Greens party candidate who ran on a "no stadium" platform. With little public consultation the project went ahead and was renamed "Suncorp Stadium" after the chief money sponsor. Ultimately though the venue is an "eyesore" the surrounds are better maintained and neater than that of the previous Lang Park. Ironically, though crowd movement on event days is still a problem, the rugby league crowds are not greatly larger than before leading to the need for other sports to be played there including soccer and rugby union.

Prices for housing continue to rise in the area however many of the traditional residents of the area still reside there giving the area a colourful mix of young urbanites and older retired working people.

Architecture of the area

StateLibQld 1 174339 Houses of Paddington, Brisbane, ca. 1902
View of Paddington c.1902

Brisbane has a lower inner city population density than Australia's two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. The lower population density reflects the fact that most of Brisbane's housing stock formerly consisted of detached houses. Early legislation decreed a minimum size for residential blocks resulting in few terrace houses being constructed. The high density housing that did exist came in the form of miniature Queenslander-style houses which resemble the much larger traditional styles but are sometimes only 1/4 the size. Commonly they were called "workers cottages". Many of the residences in the area are still the original and distinctive workers cottages, which are frequently built on stumps owing to the steep nature of their blocks. Most of the blocks are 16 perch (405 square metres) in size though 24 perch (607 square metres) and 32 perch (809 square metres) are common though typical to all blocks the houses tend to be at the front of the block close to the street. There has been a tendency, mainly by real estate agents for selling purposes to label these houses "Queenslanders" and though they do exist in the area the vast majority of houses are the small wooded 2 or 3 bedroom "workers cottages" with front verandas. These houses are all wood as the material was cheap in south east Queensland. The houses usually had "hopper" windows, high ceilings, vertical internal "VJ" wall boards and wooden floors covered in linoleum floor covering. They were usually on wooden stumps with wooden vertical palings between the stumps. The height of the stumps, and how high off the ground the house was depended not so much on utilising the underneath of the house area but rather on the angle of the block or how likely the area was to flood. The houses were also raised to allow air to circulate freely underneath thereby reducing the internal temperature of the house in the summer months. Roofs were traditionally of corrugated iron.

There was a tendency to enclose the verandas in the 1940s and 1950s and create "sun rooms" or "sleep outs" so the family could have more internal living space. These modifications were usually made with fibro which was popular and affordable at the time (though if there was enough money wood was used) with windows in the vertical louver style.

The other noticeable influence on the local architecture came with the influx of southern European migrants, mainly Italians and Croatians in the 1950s and 1960s. These migrants brought trade skills with them from Europe, mainly brick laying, plastering or steel work. It became the norm for migrants to "convert’ and update the workers cottages for their needs. Hopper windows were replaced with casement windows, internal "VJ" wall boards were covered with masonite, wood parquetry replaced the linoleum, wooden stumps were replaced with concrete stumps, the underneath of the house was enclosed with besser blocks, air blocks, or brick work whilst allowing a garage for a car, common areas underneath and around the house were concreted, and wooden hand rails were replaced with steel handrails in a number of designs popular in the early 1960s. There has been a tendency to "revert" these renovations to the more traditional cottage design though many examples of this unofficial architectural style still exist and have a charm in themselves which refers to a distinct era of development.

Subsequent to the mini housing boom of the 1980s, there was a flurry of activity in the area with many of the larger 32 perch blocks of land being sub-divided into two 16 perch blocks and residences in the workers cottage style being made on the new land.

Recent housing renovations trends have been to "lift" and build in underneath or more commonly extend off the back into the back yard to give more living space popular with families today. The increased "internal" living space means that the "big back yard" concept has virtually disappeared.

Multi residence accommodations (such as apartment blocks) are relative newcomers to Brisbane, with few such blocks built before 1970. Perhaps because of the trade skills of the new migrants though there were a number of "6 pack" brick apartment blocks made in the 70s and 80s.

Notable buildings

The majority of notable non residential buildings exist in the area, notably along Caxton Street, Given Terrace, Latrobe Terrace and Enoggera Terrace.

Caxton Street

The Hotel LA, Brisbane
The Hotel LA
  • The Hotel LA (formerly the Lord Alfred Hotel) on Caxton Street. The hotel is a famous Brisbane Pub with a rich and colourful history since 1870 when it was established. The hotel was conveniently positioned opposite the Old Victoria Barracks (built in Petrie Terrace between 1864–74) to attract the military personnel. It caters as a "bar" for the younger set.
  • The Caxton Hotel on Caxton Street, originally built in 1884.
  • The Baroona Hall (otherwise known as the Caxton Street Hall and formerly the United Brothers lodge). The hall was constructed between 1883 and 1884 by the United Brothers Lodge, Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows. The lodge was established in 1873, to meet the needs of a large working class population without protection against injury, illness or other hardships. Baroona Hall is also associated with Brisbane architect, Richard Gailey as an example of his work and who designed many notable commercial and residential buildings including the Oddfellows Hall in Fortitude Valley and a Masonic Hall at Toowong. In 1918, the hall was leased to Isidor Josephson, a clothing manufacturer who built a substantial business which eventually extended to most other states. The hall was utilised by the lodge and the community for a numbers of years and the shops were continually occupied by a number of small businesses including bakers, stationers, hairdressers, bootmakers, drapers, and the Caxton Street Legal Services from 1976. A shop at the front was for many years, famously, the location of Tony Frangos, a traditional European style tailor. The Hall at the back was also an infamous live band venue where many Brisbane rock acts, as well as interstate acts played between 1975 and 1985. The building houses the "Velvet Cigar Strip Club".
  • Suncorp Stadium, at Lang Park on 40 Castlemaine St, Milton with frontage and entrance now on Caxton Street, Paddington. In 1840 the site was originally established as a cemetery by Reverend John Dunmore Lang for which it was used until 1875. In 1911 the cemetery was closed and most of the graves were moved to Toowong and Lutwyche Cemeteries. The site then became a rubbish tip. In 1914 the site established as parkland (John Brown Oval after a City Council alderman and used for cycling, athletics and soccer). In 1955 Frank Burke persuaded Queensland Rugby League to sign a 21-year lease on the grounds with the Brisbane City Council and the newly christened Lang Park became the official headquarters for the Rugby League football code in Queensland. The first Rugby League match was held there in 1958 and in 1963 the Lang Park Trust was established under an Act of Parliament. Rugby internationals (1965 First Rugby Union Test against South African Springboks), cricket internationals (1966 the Ashes campaign, Australia vs. Great Britain with a new attendance record of 45,047), soccer internationals (1970 Queensland vs Russian Club Moscow Dynamo) and local baseball (1972 All Stars vs Ipswich with a 2,000 crowd) were played there. The first State of Origin match between Queensland and New South Wales was held there in 1980, and it became the home of the Brisbane Broncos Rugby league team (1988–92, 2003– ), and the now defunct Crushers rugby league team (1995). The old stadium and its various grandstands were demolished in 2000 (quite controversially) and a new state of the art modern stadium was completed in 2003 and rechristened Suncorp Stadium after its major corporate sponsor. Older fans still refer to the ground as Lang Park as do some media personalities much to the chagrin of the Suncorp sponsor. Radio humorists and State of Origin match callers, Roy and HG, were reprimanded for referring to the new stadium as Lang Park and from then on referred to the site as "the place formerly called Lang Park".Officially the correct title is the Suncorp Stadium at Lang Park. The stadium is unofficially known as "The Cauldron", and Queensland fans developed a reputation for vocal support of their teams, adding to this mythology. Extensive use of steel has helped to provide a built-in atmosphere and the designers of the redevelopment have opted for the use of a low flat steel roof because of its ability to enclose crowd noise within the stadium and re-creating the Cauldron atmosphere of the original Lang Park.
  • The 1992 statue of rugby league footballer Wally Lewis erected at the southern end of the Stadium.
  • Since 1994 the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival has been held on the Labour Day weekend.

Given Terrace

  • The Paddington Tavern at 186 Given Terrace, which is a modern tavern built on the site of the old Paddington Hotel which was demolished in the early 1980s
  • The Hanlon shops at 216-228 Given Terrace, which are "terraced" styled shops with accommodation above formerly owned by the family of Pat Hanlon, who was the brother to Premier Ned Hanlon. The building was originally constructed in the 1880s and has been modified since however the original structure is still visible.
  • The old Uniting Church at 234-244 Given Terrace was sold to private interests in the 1980s and burnt down in the 1996 after development proposals were rejected by the Brisbane City Council (a fate that was to befall the Red Hill Roller Skating rink also, that is fire subsequent to a rejection of development by the Brisbane City Council). The wooden building was built in 1906 to accommodate the new congregation of the merged local Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist churches. The building was designed specifically for the triangular block and the new commercial and residential building largely reflects the shape of the original building. The only original thing remaining are the brick retaining walls facing Given Terrace.
  • The old Sheard's Bakery at 265 – 267 Given Terrace. Constructed around 1888 it was a bakery for many years before being sold and converted into a shop and then restaurant.
  • The Kookaburra Café at 280 Given Terrace. Built around 1888 the building stands on land once owned by a person using the name Louis Le Gould who claimed he was the son of a French General who was Aide-de-camp to Napoleon Bonaparte. Le Gould was a licensed surveyor who was an unsuccessful candidate for alderman in November 1863, a local newspaper calling him pseudo-Gallic, lacking honor and reputable conduct.
  • The former Paddington Post Office on 293 Given Terrace at the corner of Latrobe Terrace, is a classic example of a Type T15 Federation Timber design, built in 1900. These commercial buildings feature a gable in the facade, including vent; veranda / porch with near flat roof, columns span the front with a balustrade around the porch and a large lantern vent centrally place in the roof.
  • The Sisters of Mercy Sacred Heart Convent at 327 Given Terrace, Paddington built in 1917. The building is representative of the Federation Queen Anne style in the timber detailing and asymmetrical façade. It is a good typical of the design of convents throughout Australia, which were built as prominent and substantial buildings, and were designed with the chapel within, often expressed as a projecting bay. The convent was designed by the architect T. R. Hall who designed other buildings for the Catholic Church including Our Lady of Victories, Bowen Hills, in partnership with GG Prentice. Hall designed other prominent buildings during this partnership, including the city hall, McDonnell and East building and the travel centre of New South Wales. The building is in private ownership though is heritage listed.
  • The Sacred Heart Church, Rosalie, at 358 Given Terrace, is a large Catholic church which was opened on 16 June 1918 and designed by prominent architect G. M. Addison. The church has a single-manual mechanical action organ was originally installed by J. W. Walker & Sons of London in 1885 and it is fully enclosed. It suffered damage by fire in 1942. In 1982 restoration was undertaken by H. W. Jarrott of Brisbane. The building is heritage listed
  • The old Ashton butchers building at 7-9 Latrobe Terrace (now a private business). Originally built in 1888 it housed Ashton's Butchers until the 1910s when it was taken over by the government and became the State Butchery.
  • Foresters' Hall, at 16 Latrobe Terrace (now a St Vincent de Paul "Vinnies" opportunity Shop). This timber hall was built between June and September in 1888 for the Trustees of Court Foresters' Hope, number 6535 of the Ancient Order of Foresters' Friendly Society, United Brisbane District and demonstrates a way of life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when friendly societies, which provided a welfare service by means of mutual aid, were a prominent and expanding part of Queensland society. The friendly societies came to Australia as part of the British philosophy of self-help and mutual aid which became prevalent during the industrial revolution. The building is also of interest for its legacy as part of the 1880s development boom which transformed Paddington from a semi-rural area into a commuter suburb of Brisbane. The Paddington Foresters' Hall had a seating capacity of 320 people and provided a thriving community service to the growing population of Paddington as a hall which could be let to the public for meetings including local Rechabites, the Salvation Army, the Ithaca Ratepayers Association, the Women's Christian Charity and the Theodore Unmack Society of Masons, the local Labour Party. In 1996, the hall was purchased by the present owners and Vinnies, an opportunity shop run by the Order of St Vincent de Paul, is there now.
  • The former Salvation Army Hall at 29 Latrobe Terrace (now Endeavour Opportunity Shop). The hall was built in 1897 and the "Army" played a vital role in providing relief during the various depressions. Its presence in the area reflects the former working class area of the suburb. The building was sold to private owners in the 1970s.
  • The former Paddington Plaza Theatre on 153 – 171 Latrobe Terrace (now the Paddington Antique Centre) is a traditional example of the 1930s movie house. It is a large and imposing timber building with rendered brickwork at either end and an awning which protrudes from the facade. The roof is gabled and constructed of corrugated iron. The building has been little modified internally and the main area is a large rectangular space with a vaulted plaster ceiling. The building is important in illustrating the pattern of development of suburban cinemas in Brisbane, and in illustrating the evolution of cinemas in Queensland, during the interwar years of the 20th century. It is important also in illustrating the pattern of development of the Paddington district. The building was erected circa 1929 by Brisbane contractor John Hutchinson [later J Hutchinson & Sons] for Greater Brisbane Motion Pictures Ltd and probably designed by Brisbane architect Richard Gailey jnr, the Plaza is a rare early 20th century 'atmospheric' theatre in Queensland. This ceiling was painted a vibrant blue and stars used to twinkle and backlit clouds and a moon moved across the sky on tracks. The blue paint is still apparent and some of the clouds still exist as does the proscenium which is constructed of plaster and features ornate plaster work. The term "atmospheric" denotes a picture theatre with an interior décor that simulated an exotic outdoor setting. Atmospheric cinemas were popularised in Australia in the late 1920s and early 1930s after the architect for Sydney-based Union Theatres, Henry White, travelled to the United States to study picture theatre design. Shortly after construction commenced, the Hutchinson family acquired both the building and the land, commencing a long association with the theatre. In 1929 the Plaza Theatre faced strong competition from at least two rival picture shows in the Paddington-Red Hill district: Stephens New Paddington Theatre on Given Terrace [c1924] (which was demolished in the early 1980s to make the Paddington Centre) and Red Hill Picture Pops on Enoggera Terrace [c1920] (which became the Red Hill Roller Skating rink and "mysteriously" burnt down following a development proposal in the early 2000s). Although the Plaza was by no means the first picture theatre in the Paddington district, it was the most ornate, erected in a third wave of picture theatre construction which swept Brisbane suburbs in the late 1920s and 1930s. The picture theatre was open seven days a week, with serials shown on Monday and Tuesday nights, films and newsreels on other nights, and a matinee programme on Sunday afternoons. On Saturdays, trams reputedly would stop outside the theatre at opening time and wait until the film finished to take patrons home again. Popular films attracted audiences of around 1200, for the movies appealed to all ages. A special soundproofed glass room, called the 'cry room', was provided for young mothers and their babies. The Plaza theatre also hosted dances and balls mainly for the local school of Marist Brothers Rosalie. The theatre operated successfully until television was introduced to Brisbane in the late 1950s, by which time Plaza audiences were reduced to 20-30 patrons per screening ( though the auditorium in 1960 contained seating for 932 persons). In 1961 the Plaza Theatre ceased to operate as a cinema and a level floor was installed and the building was used for indoor basketball until a court case instigated by a neighbour who complained of the noise. The plaza remained mostly vacant until 1974 and was sold in 1977. It now houses an antiques etailing centre. The shops fronting Latrobe Terrace are still occupied by a variety of tenants, and the complex is still the focus of a small nodal shopping centre. The Plaza Theatre (Paddington Antique Centre) complex now includes a series of small retail shops on either side of the foyer entrance.
  • The Ithaca Embankments on Latrobe Terrace below the Ithaca War memorial on first blush appear to be nothing more than a cut away into the side of a hill. They however are important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of the Ithaca Town Council's early 20th century street beautification projects, being some of the best surviving examples, and provide important surviving evidence of stone retaining wall and edging techniques practised by Brisbane's public landscape gardeners in the early 20th century, which were influential on civic landscaping throughout Queensland and Australia.

Enoggera Terrace

StateLibQld 1 112656 Suburb of Paddington, Brisbane, 1929
View of Paddington in 1929, taken from Enoggera Terrace looking towards Latrobe Terrace.
StateLibQld 1 109572 Unveiling of the Ithaca War Memorial in Paddington, Brisbane, 1922
Unveiling of the Ithaca War Memorial, 1922
  • Ithaca Presbyterian Church, 100 Enoggera Terrace, Paddington, built in 1928 and of the Interwar Gothic style with the use of simple Gothic details such as the pointed entrance arch and simple tracery to the windows and entrance. The building is heritage listed.
  • The distinctive Paddington Substation at 150 Enoggera Terrace erected in 1929-30 during a period of tramways expansion which followed the Brisbane City Council's 1925 acquisition of the tramways system from the Brisbane Tramways Trust. It was erected on Cook's Hill, along the Paddington line, on land which was formerly part of the adjacent Ithaca Fire Station. The function of the Paddington substation, was to assist the Petrie Terrace substation (erected 1927-28) in providing a better distribution of power to the increased western suburbs tram services from the powerhouse at New Farm. The Paddington substation, constructed of bricks and structural steel from the old Countess Street power house which closed in mid-1928, was the first of his substation designs to incorporate a parapet wall, flat roof and exterior render. The substation commenced operation on 11 August 1930 and remained in service until the phasing out of Brisbane's trams in the late 1960s. In 1969 the Paddington line was closed, the substation's electrical equipment was removed, and the building became a storage depot and subsequently an art space and art centre.
  • The former Ithaca Fire Station, at 140 Enoggera Terrace, constructed in two stages, 1918–19 and 1928, is an excellent example of "between the wars" Queensland civic architecture. The place is an integral member of an historic group on Cook's Hill which includes the adjacent Ithaca War Memorial and Park, The Paddington Substation, and Ithaca Embankments. The brigade was formed in 1918 by the merger of the Ithaca and Milton Volunteer Fire Brigades, and provided the inner western suburbs with a permanent fire fighting force of four, with six auxiliary staff. It was closed down in the early 1980s.
  • The Ithaca War Memorial located on a parcel of land sandwiched between Enoggera and Latrobe Terraces on Cooks Hill and erected circa 1922. The memorial at Ithaca demonstrates the principal characteristics of a commemorative structure erected as an enduring record of a major historical event but also is rare as an early example of the clock tower type of memorial in the Brisbane area. The memorial provides evidence of an era of widespread Australian patriotism and nationalism, particularly during and following the First World War and memorial services are still held there every year on Anzac day. The stone memorial honours the 130 local men who died on active service during the First World War. The small park surrounding the memorial also has special associations with landscape gardener Alexander Jolly as one of the few remaining examples of his work, and with monumental masonry firm AH Thurlow. Much of the impetus for the work came from Ithaca Town Council's landscape gardener, Alexander Jolly, (father of the first Mayor of Greater Brisbane, William Jolly), who was a horticultural enthusiast and whose lifetime of gardening experience transformed the Ithaca townscape in the period c1915-25. Some of Jolly's more prominent projects included the rockeries along Musgrave and Waterworks Roads; the landscaping of Cook's Hill; and the Ithaca War Memorial garden, which, after his death, was named Alexander Jolly Park, in memory of one of the most esteemed men in the district, and as a unique tribute to the pick and shovel. Only small sections of the Waterworks Road rockeries remain, and most of the Cook's Hill garden was destroyed when the Paddington Tramways Substation was erected in 1929-30.


  • Government House at 168 Fernberg Road in upper Paddington and is the official residence of the Governor of Queensland and has been since 1911. The main house, built in 1865 and originally known as Fernberg there were extensive additions in the 1880s. The building is the only remaining substantial residence and villa estate, of almost original proportions, in Brisbane from the 1860s and with the later additions is regarded among the finest examples of a Victorian Italianate villa in Brisbane. The building was originally built by businessman Johann Christian Heussler who is believed to have given his home "Fernberg" a name of German origin that meant "distant mountain". The property was sold to businessmen George and Nathan Cohen in 1878 and then to various other businessmen before finally being bought by the State Government in 1911.
  • The Marist Brothers Monastery, Fernberg Road, Rosalie. The building is heritage listed.
  • Paddington Water Tower at 16 Garfield Drive (on what is known as Archibald's Hill) is an elevated reinforced concrete water tank on Paddington's highest point which can be seen from miles around. It is probably the only one of its type in Queensland being a reinforced concrete tank elevated on concrete columns. The tank's height from the highest point is 70 feet (21.34 metres) and the tank has a capacity of 100,000 gallons (.38 megalitre) though it is not in use at present. It is important in demonstrating a phase in the history of Brisbane's water supply and the technological difficulties of providing reticulated water to elevated sites. It was constructed for a cost of £12,000 and completed in 1927.
  • The La Boite building which formerly housed the "La Boite Theatre Group" at Hale Street, Milton. The building was Australia's first purpose-built, 200 seat theatre in the round (designed by architect Blair Wilson). The award-winning "modernist" building became an iconic and much loved Brisbane theatrical landmark. The La Boite officially opened on Sunday 4 June 1972 and hosted many plays, both mainstream and controversial before relocating in 2003 to the more sterile State sponsored Kelvin Grove Village. The building is occupied by Evans Harch builders.

Heritage listings

Paddington has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

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