Thompson estate.

Historic Real Estate Boom - Brisbane Land Sales

A town can be considered as growing in a satisfactory way when suburbs begin to surround the original area of its establishment. In the one hundred and sixty years since the opening of Brisbane to free settlement, its growth has been steadily and continuously progressive. The evidence of development is found in the fact that, nowadays, there are over two hundred suburbs in the 375 square miles of the municipal area of Brisbane and a population of over 1,000,000.

After the first sale in July 1842 of Queen Street allotments, further Crown lands were sold in that area as the town developed. Population increased and suburbs began to appear. The early colonists were, of course, people of varied occupations, temperaments and ideas, but a good proportion possessed the ambition to improve their conditions and so prosper in the new land.

Many were men of substance and courageous enough to invest their means. However, the range for investment was not extensive in the young and undeveloped country which had practically no industries other than those of agricultural, pastoral, mining and general business activities. The acquisition of land either in town allotments or in the larger blocks ranging from areas up to ten acres in the inner suburbs to those of varying acreages up to one hundred in the outer suburbs, therefore caught the, spirit of many early residents.

In many cases the area of land was used for their homes, for small farms, for dairies, but as Brisbane developed, the space for residential sites was a growing necessity, and Brisbane continued, to expand in an ever increasing circle. After the land of the property owner was subdivided into a varying number of residential allotments, the name of the estate was chosen and duly advertised for sale by auction.

All advantages of the land were listed and in some cases, a champagne luncheon half an hour prior to the auction time, evidently to soften buying resistance, was provided. However, other auctioneers, equally astute, advertised there would be no champagne as the land was so good it was not needed.

The names of some estates, streets and suburbs are so closely interwoven that the three subjects form an integral part of the story. Many owners, imbued with ambitious visions, gave fanciful names to their estates which often lay only two or three miles in a straight line from the General Post Office.

Some were called a village, a township or a town, probably due to the thinking in those far off days of the 1860's that their properties would form into, and remain, as, a separate community. It is always difficult to think one hundred years hence.

Many names of the various estates merely lasted during the period of advertising prior to the auction sale of the land. In other cases the name of the estate became the name of the suburb but usually with the elimination of the word “estate". It is worthy of note that although several hundred estates in the Brisbane area have been sold in the past one hundred years and houses built thereon, the suburb of Thompson Estate is the only one to retain and use its original full name. However, to some extent, the newer suburbs of Annerley (1905) and Buranda (1913) have infringed on the original area.

In accordance with the inevitable factors of time and change, the deletions of the original names of many suburbs are due to a variety of causes among which are the absence of some definite display of the name in a public vehicle, post office, school, railway station and the absorption of the smaller suburb into that of a larger one and the consequent overshadowing of its name. Public vehicles, as horse drawn omnibuses and electric trams, both carried side destination boards indicating often six or more suburbs through which their route followed. Nowadays the destination suburb only appears.

Originally an estate area was closely defined by the land to be sold, but in the course of time, on infrequent maps often for the sake of clear lettering and the desire not to obliterate street names appearing thereon, the name of the estate was placed much beyond the original position of the estate or suburb. The following links to the State Library pictorial database shows the flyers used in advertising these new estates: