A Little History of Newstead

Hidden behind the woolstores and industrial buildings of the Teneriffe riverside lies Newstead, the inner-city suburb next to Fortitude Valley and New Farm. Newstead lies north-east of the Brisbane CBD, stretching from Breakfast Creek on the north side to the Brisbane River in the east side.

A bit of Background

The name ‘Newstead’ is taken from Newstead House; Brisbane’s oldest surviving colonial residence registered under the Queensland Heritage Register. This occupancy was built in 1846 by Scottish settlers Patrick and Catherine Leslie, taking its name from Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England, where the word ‘newstead’ means ‘new place’ or ‘new house’ in Scottish terms.

During the late 1880s, most early landholders in Newstead began subdividing properties at the same time as the area’s river-based industrial development. The boom of businesses began in 1887, with the opening of Brisbane Gas Company’s Newstead Gasworks, the second gasholder to be build in Brisbane. A domino of businesses moved into the area shortly after, including the Colonial Sugar Refinery and the Monier Ventilation Shaft 3. Wool eventually became Newstead’s major wharf side export, with the first wool store Dalgety’s opening in 1911, although this was destroyed by fire in 1984. Amidst the industrial life of Newstead, European settlers arrived in the suburb and established government farmland to support the penal colony sent from Sydney. Surpluses were exported down to Sydney, reemphasising the wharf network of the Brisbane River.

The 1950s saw an increase in prominent local citizens moving to Newstead which branded the suburb as a locality for fine houses. This changed during the 1960s when industrial life declined and businesses that once flourished in Newstead’s heritage buildings were shut down.

What Changed?

In response to the then dilapidated area, the Urban Renewal Brisbane (URB) taskforce was established in the 1990s to re-develop Newstead. The project aimed to revive local economies and deliver affordable housing. The river’s edge was seen as an opportunity to establish a riverfront promenade, public spaces, a waterfront park and facilities. The first plan was completed in 1995 with the conversion of the Teneriffe woolstore into residential apartments, with most other woolstores making the same transition by 2000.

Regeneration of the suburb has continued into the 21st century and has seen some significant changes. Teneriffe, which was incorporated into Newstead in 1975, was re-established as a separate suburb in 2010, celebrated by the annual Teneriffe festival.

The industrial businesses of Newstead and Teneriffe have been swept away and replaced with local restaurants, cafes and shops – its once bustling life evidenced by the old heritage buildings that remain along the river edge. Newstead House has been transitioned into a tourist attraction, situated in Newstead Park with a commanding view over the Brisbane River. Currently, the building is undergoing reconstruction to maintain its structural integrity.

In 2008, planning approval was given to turn remnants of the original Newstead Gasworks into a commercial, residential and retail district with the first stage of its urban redevelopment opening in 2013. Gasworks’ original gasholder remains on site, repurposed as an outdoor amphitheatre.

Today, Newstead has become one of Brisbane’s most sought-after suburbs for homebuyers. The last century has seen a gradual transformation from a bustling industrial precinct to a local community of businesses – the only evidence of its past being the heritage buildings scattered throughout the suburb. You can find our office located in Newstead at Suite 5, Level 1/76 Commercial Rd.

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