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 ..

Talking History: July – November 2024

Talking History: July – November 2024

ASHG is excited to share its program of events for June – November.

The Wednesday morning drop in days will continue providing a relaxed opportunity each week to talk history.

We’re doing things a little differently in the second part of the year with a walk, events at two of our local libraries, the first Saturday afternoon Talking History events and a book launch. Watch out for more information about each event.

On the 10th August ASHG is excited to be back at Annerley library for a morning talk at 10.30 am. Dr Janis Hanley will discuss Ekibin’s Chinese past and explore the extent of Chinese market gardens from the late 1880s to post WW2.

The Memories of Stephens, the compilation of articles from the 2023 conference will be launched by Dr Denver Beanland at the Yeronga Community Centre at 7.00 pm.

On Saturday morning 28th September Lyn Burnett, John Horder and Denis Peel consider Lost Houses and the stories that they tell.

On the afternoon of 26th October Jeff Brunne will be at the Fairfield Library looking at the question Why is Fairfield so Different.

For our last event of the year ASHG is very pleased to host Dr Kevin Rains discussing Cross River Rail Archeology on Saturday 16th November at 2.00 pm.

Monthly meetings are held at 6.00 pm on the first Monday of the month unless it is a public holiday when the meeting is held on a Tuesday.

Text Box: Image Courtesy State Library of Queensland

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
The Yeronga Community Centre is officially launched!!

The Yeronga Community Centre is officially launched!!

In January Annerley-Stephen’s History Group (ASHG) moved into their new home at the brand new Community Plus+ Yeronga Community Centre.

The YCC had its official opening on Thursday 31 May at a packed event that started with a traditional smoking ceremony, followed by Welcome to Country, the ribbon cutting ceremony and a morning tea. Congratulations to Community Plus+ YCC and all who contributed to making this brilliant new centre possible.

ASHG are proud to be located in the YCC and were pleased to greet visitors in our room. The All Gauge Model Rail Group (AGMRG) also had their room open to visitors.

The outcomes of having a permanent home were apparent. On show were the current maps and documents display (thanks Mark Baker) and the Villa Street community project (thanks to the Villa Street project team and past and current residents). Visitors were introduced to our upcoming talks and walks, our publications and the opportunity to become a member. . Visitors were inspired and excited by the history room.

Thanks to the members who set up the history room and multi purpose room displays and all the members who were at the launch and who shared their knowledge and passion for local history with the visitors. Thank you Kate, Pauline and Kerry (and Brisbane Living Heritage) for the photos.

Aunty Debby Sandy gave the Welcome to Country. Mark Bailey conducted the Official Opening and the President of Community Plus+ was the MC.

The Smoking Ceremony was an invitation to all who came into the centre.

Guests listened intently at the launch held in the multi purpose room. The ASHG display is in the background.

A display of maps and documents available to local history researchers are on the display in the history room.

Proud ASHG members.

Villa Street community project …. the people, the stories.

Jim, Robin and Jeff. Enjoying the history on display. The painting on display is of 85 Villa Street. It was painted by Robin and Jeff’s daughter Sonia 35 years ago as a student at Yeronga High School.

The ASHG display window currently features a display recognising Reconciliation Week. We were pleased to be able to take Aunty Debby Sandy through the history room. Aunty Debby gave the Welcome to Country and began with Wai Bulka (welcome). She was delighted to see Wai Bulka in our displaying welcoming all to the history room.

More happy people talking history.

Talking publications – having at chat about the Women of Stephens.

Villa Street Reveal

Villa Street Reveal

The ‘sneaky peak’ at Villa Street Monday night was quite a reveal. The video below gives a sense of the evening.

A snapshot of the ‘Sneaky Peak at Villa Street’ evening by J.Hanley

So much work has been done by the Villa Street team: Jeanette, Timna, Pauline, Wendie, Kate, Denis.

The Villa Street Team: Jeanette Wiley, Timna, Wendy Hirsch, Pauline Peel, Kate Dyson, Denis Peel.

The evening was well attended, and included former and current locals from Villa Street who have contributed to the project.

It was excellent to have some of them gather for a photo after the talk – to record a moment in time for Villa Street.

Villa Street locals who attended – and their street number connections, some past, some present.

View the Villa Street PowerPoint for slides and transcript of the evening’s presentation put together by the team clicking ‘Download’ button below.

The project also shows the huge advantage that having a history room has been to ASHG – a place for people to drop by and share memories, stories, photos and things.

A number of Villa Street artefacts were on display

The project is entering its final stage of research gathering. If you have information or photos about Villa Street, past or present, let us know. You can drop by any Wednesday between 9.00 am -12.00 pm. Or drop us a line on our email: [email protected].

We are very happy to make a time to meet with you.

We’ll be ruling a line on this research stage of the project by end June 2024.