by Jodi Panayotov
Brisbane's oldest suburbs are awash with historical treasures and little known (even to locals) points of interest and with the cooler months there's no better time to roam the streets and discover them. Here are six of the best get-to-know-the-neighbourhood walks, with cafes and coffee stops incorporated along the way:
While the main thoroughfare Latrobe Tce – with its picturesque jumble of cottage boutiques, galleries, cafes and bars – is well trampled by shoppers and café goers, there's a whole lot more to this hilly timber and tin suburb. Home to Brisbane's most glamorous stately home Government House, churches & a monastery by esteemed colonial architects, pocket parks with stunning views its lesser known sites include a tiny burial ground that contains the graves of first settlers and one of Brisbane's oldest surviving playgrounds.
Take this 2-3 hour stroll through the leafy peninsula streets of one of Brisbane's oldest neighbourhoods with its showcase riverside park (that was once a convict farm and then a race track) and take in its fantastic mix of architecture from the Victorian villas through to its cache of art deco, Tudor and Spanish Mission houses and flats including the original Tudor style block designed by the City Hall architects. Along the way discover some secluded waterfront parks that only the locals know and make an espresso or food stop at one of the many great cafes.
Despite being dissected by major arterial roads and tunnels, the north side's oldest shire has much of its colourful history intact, with this being a place of characters and stories. From the city's smallest house to Windsor's oldest house, (which was home to a prominent judge who walked to his city chambers daily in a white suit), to the houses fashioned from the demolished mansion of a shipwreck victim, the residence of the man who invented the first cancer treatment, the once active quarry and the bus stop with a tragic place in the city's history and culminating with one of the most stunning city vistas to seen, there's a lot more to Windsor's streets than anyone ever saw from a car zooming along Lutwyche Rd.
As much as Teneriffe's character and charm comes from its unique woolstore lined streets, this surprising walk is perhaps the most varied of the urban walks, taking in as it does a quaint hilltop park with stunning views, a bush track and a waterfront amble along a boardwalk that contains relics of the working woolstore days. And it is the old-fashioned Teneriffe Park atop the hill that was once part of the estate of Teneriffe House, which is still tucked away atop a windy street and which was once a setting for a Claude Chabrol movie.
A labyrinth of windy streets with hidden staircases and laneways, grand Victorian villas (from the time pre 1893 floods when South Brisbane was a serious contender to the CBD as a prime business district) and workers cottages define this leafy walk, taking in along the way Brisbane's very first high rise residential block of flats that was the 1960's talk of the town, city vistas, tiny pockets of shops and waterfront parks and reserves.
Before it became East Brisbane this little riverside settlement was known as Mowbraytown, after the Reverend who established church and community there in the 1880s and whose heritage listed cluster of distinctive timber church buildings are a focal point of the neighbourhood. Other highlights are the gorgeous riverside park with its quaint croquet club and still visible remnants of the river swimming baths, tree-lined streets with homes of historical significance and the little visited other world of Bulimba Creek.
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