Talking History: Ekibin’s Chinese Past, Annerley Library

Talking History: Ekibin’s Chinese Past, Annerley Library

The pocket sized suburb of Ekibin in Brisbane’s inner south now barely exists. Up until 1970 it was a suburb and census district until much of it was usurped by freeway and became part of Tarragindi.

Ekibin has a rich Indigenous heritage, with First Nations people well supported by the wetlands of the creek.

There is also a Chinese past. From the 1880s, Chinese Market Gardens started to appear along Ekibin Creek, and produced rich crops for around seventy years. ASHG’s Talking History event ‘Ekibin’s Chinese Past’ tells the story.

Local memories of these gardens are fading, but this talk aims to give this Chinese past a presence through historical survey plans, drawings, and aerial imagery.

Immigration records help shed light on the Chinese people who lived and worked there.

We are also keen to hear any memories people have of the Ekibin gardens.

If you are curious in the area’s local past and its changing landscape, please join us, Saturday, August 10 at 10:30 am. Book a place by contacting Annerley Library on 3403 1735.

A depiction of the Ekibin Gardens as part of the mural on the wall of Greenslopes State School.

About Dr Janis Hanley

My PHD is in critical heritage — ways the past is represented and remembered, and the voices not often heard.

My interest in Queensland’s Chinese past began with work researching a state listed Chinese Temple site in Croydon, in the Gulf Country.

I grew up in Tarragindi and now live in Greenslopes, so I was curious about my local area’s Chinese past. There was a lot to discover.

My colleague Jan Richardson, PhD candidate, and I have worked together on this and various projects researching Queensland’s Chinese past.

If you’d like more on this topic, you can follow our Facebook page: Journeys into Queensland’s Chinese Past

A creative heritage walk through the life and characters of author Jessica Anderson

A creative heritage walk through the life and characters of author Jessica Anderson

Heritage is best experienced in place – not musty conference halls or footnoted tomes. A Walk in the Warm Zone is an encounter of the living heritage kind.

The walk, created by Pauline Peel and supported by a team of contributors was launched last Friday. It starts in Villa street Annerley and explores the surrounds through the writings of well known author Jessica Anderson.

Heritage resides is the living fabric of communities. We can really only access this heritage by walking streets, paying attention to the surrounds, connecting with others, exploring forgotten corners and sharing stories.

History becomes our-story, through the magic of storytelling as the many threads, and the layers of the past that haunt places, are acknowledged, shared, and become entangled with our own life experiences.

These ongoing encounters maintain a living heritage — adapting, and constantly renewing, as stories are re-told, and places re-experienced.

The walk

A walk in the warm zone, cleverly weaves together place, fiction, memory, and performance, seeking out and enriching this living heritage.

Jessica Anderson’s fictional characters reflect her own experiences growing up in Annerley-Yeronga in the 1920s. All are brought to life. Denis’s performances as Jessica’s Dad, steels the show, bringing both humour and hard truths.

Through the walk, Pauline Peel gently takes us by the hand, leading us to places thick with memory.

Together we visit the backyard of Jessica’s childhood and follow her memories through the back gate into Yeronga Memorial Park. We gather outside her primary school, and sit in the pews of the church she insisted on attending.

Along the way we hear about discoveries made by current owners of Jessica’s house, as well a reminiscences by the team members, Jeanette and Wendie who grew up in the area during WWII and post-war. Their memories of park and school entwine with the experiences of Jessica’s characters.

Finishing up at ASHG’s history room in Villa Street gave us a chance for a cuppa and a chat.

This walk is creative heritage at its best: collaborative, artful, and engaging the senses. It affects, at times deeply, and at other times playfully. It is an inspiring co-created mash-up of performance, creative writing, memory, artefacts and storytelling.

The Inspiration

Pauline writes of her inspiration for telling Jessica Anderson’s stories in this way.

The making

It is founded on considerable research and is a collaboration. PaulineASHGs Villa Street Project brought collaborators, and revealed local knowledge, further developing these ideas. Denis Peel, Jeanette Wiley, Kate Dyson, Wendie Hirsch and various community members contributed to the making of this event.

What people have said ..

Rise and Fall of Service Stations

Rise and Fall of Service Stations

Mark Baker not only knows how to entertain, but is able to transport the audience back in time. Who knew the story of service stations, is so engaging?

Snapshots of Mark’s presentation.

Businesses in ‘Servicing’ horses and buggies shifted to servicing this new transport technology that saw blacksmiths become mechanics and cans of petrol replace chaff.

It’s a story that’s interesting to reflect on as we transition from petrol driven engines to EVs and other alternatives.

Mark focuses his talk on the section of Ipswich Road from Annerley Road through to Moorooka.

As the ‘Bowser’ branded pump technology took off so too did service stations, and awkward filling of vehicles from the footpath.

Eventually service stations with forecourts became the norm, enabling cars to pull in off the road.

Changing styles in vehicle access to pumps

For a time, Annerley boasted the only female service station proprietor in the state :- Peg Corbett (nee Conroy) owned the Mobil Service Station (cnr Ekibin Road & Ipswich Road) from 1944-1958. Her daughter, Michelle Hiller kindly share some photos of her mum, Peg.

Peg Corbett, nee Conroy, Queenslands first female service station proprietor

Mark stirred memories of petrol station rosters as these small family businesses managed which ones would open of a Sunday.

Changing service

Some will remember always keeping a stock of 20c pieces in the car, to shove in coin operated pumps for after hours petrol.

Driveway service became self-serve, and boom became bust, as the market and its players changed.

I grew up on Marshall Road and I have clear recollections of the three service stations at the Toohey Road intersection: a Shell, an Amoco, and BP.

None of these service stations exist today, but some of the driveway infrastructure is still discernable.

Mark covered much more than this brief post. Notes of Mark’s engaging talk can be found below.

Mark’s talk framed the way technology drives social change, and the way it shapes suburbs as well as our day to day lives.

Range of petrol brands
An Industrial Walk

An Industrial Walk

Beryl Roberts and Simon Cole of Coopers Plains History Group led a walk around part of Salisbury’s industrial area as part of the Chrome St Fiesta.

It was a small group as the drizzle seemed to keep many away, but it actually made it really interesting.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but much of the story is documented in “A Closer Look at Salisbury” by Beryl.

Many thanks to Beryl and Simon for braving the inclement weather. Here are few snaps of some of the sights…

Beryl Roberts, Simon Cole, and willing assistant with speaker.

Example of war-time camouflage to disguise factories as a street. From “A Closer Look at Salisbury” by Beryl Roberts.

Reload Cafe – one of the few brick buildings, originally was an oil store.

The only private park in Brisbane – owned by the RSL.

Dust extractors – not mentioned but look impressive!

Site of a WWII munitions factory. Granite runs underneath and each section was a solid cement bunker in case of explosion, to isolate damage. Women were the labour force.

Workers cottages surrounding the industrial area.

Sawtooth roof to let the light in.

Sawtooth rooves from a distance.

Looking through a factory window at the light coming in from the sawtooth roof.

The yellow armlike structure is a gantry crane from 1965. See details below.

One of the original factory buildings modified with verandahs built in and now home to multiple businesses including dance and art studios.

Beryl’s book – looks like a good read!

Post Update 2.6.2024

One of our readers, Craig Justo corrected the gantry information – that it was constructed in1965.

Here’s what he added:

“The Truss styled gantry that supported a sliding Chain Block was fabricated by the owner of “Skeltcon Engineering” in late 1965 to assist with the lifting and moving of the large steel fabrications that were being constructed on that site. The building that the gantry is attached to is located at No.571, Tarragindi Road, Salisbury North with the building itself being constructed in 1962. I commenced work with “A.J. Parkes & Co” at No.575 Tarragindi Road in February, 1965 and as this was next door to “Skeltcon”, I saw that Truss styled Gantry being fabricated, erected and then used regularly.”

Craig labeled and shared aerial images from Q-imagery of the area for years 1946,1956 and 1964 to show development of the area and Skelton Engineering.

1946 Aerial image North Salisbury
1956 Aerial image North Salisbury
1964 Aerial image North Salisbury
Street view of Parkes and Skelton sites.
Reconciliation Week – Now more than ever

Reconciliation Week – Now more than ever

National reconciliation week starts today 27 May and runs until 3rd of June.

ASHG wishes to acknowledge the Yuggera people who inhabited the local lands and give thanks to the First Nations people for their care of this special place over many generations.

The theme for 2024, Now More Than Ever, brings home the sharing and retelling important of stories from the past, that highlight ongoing the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ASHG display team have updated the History room’s window in honour of reconciliation week.

A number of chapters in ASHG’s Stephens books published feature stories of local First Nations People. Chapter previews can be downloaded below.