Whites Hill Reserve

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History and Origins of Whites Hill Reserve

Whites Hill Reserve is located in the southeast of Brisbane and offers expansive views across the city and beyond. The area was originally known as Camp Hill until 1925 and served as a waterhole resting place for travelers between Brisbane and Cleveland. It was settled with small farms, dairies, and vineyards and had a strong German community. Hop over to our front portal.

Robert White, an English immigrant, purchased 43 acres in the Camp Hill area. Although the hilltop selected by White was unsuitable for farming, it provided impressive views. White built a slab hut, milking yard, and piggery on the property, and grew maize on cleared acres. He also constructed a sawmill near a reedy swamp.

White later built a substantial house with wide verandahs and a round living room to maximize the views. The White family provided refreshments and installed telescopes for visitors. They also installed a camera obscura to enhance the appreciation of the views. The house/kiosk became a popular venue for picnicking, dancing, weddings, and parties. Guests could even enjoy music from a German music machine.

Whites Hill as a Popular Destination

Visitors could reach Whites Hill by horse-drawn vehicles, tram, or walking. In 1928, William A. Jolly, the first Lord Mayor of the Greater Brisbane Council, was responsible for acquiring Whites Hill Reserve. Jolly aimed to acquire scenic viewpoints and parks for the citizens of Brisbane. The Brisbane City Council purchased Whites Hill, and additional land was acquired through resumptions.

The Reserve at Whites Hill was considered one of the best hills near Brisbane for panoramic views. Admission to the grounds and camera obscura had specific fees. During the 1920s, it was more popular than Mt Coot-tha as an excursion destination. The trees around the house were cleared or trimmed to facilitate clear views. The White property was fenced, and a drive traveled through the site to the summit.

Features and Natural Surroundings

Covering approximately 172 hectares of land, Whites Hill is bounded by Boundary Road, Pine Mountain Road, and residential properties. It includes sporting fields, a quarry, a water reservoir, and remnant bushland. The reserve offers facilities for soccer, cricket, and touch football, as well as a play area, memorial gardens, bandstand, and war memorial.

As the westernmost peak of a ridge starting at Pine Mountain, its slopes are covered with open eucalypt forest and an understorey of grasses and shrubs. The summit features a lookout shelter and path. In the southeast, there is Sankeys scrub, a small pocket of dry rainforest. This area shelters rare or uncommon rainforest plants.

Significance and Associations of Whites Hill Reserve

The Reserve holds historical significance and meets local heritage criteria under the Brisbane City Plan 2014. It is important in demonstrating the city’s history as a popular vantage point since the late 19th century. The reserve also has aesthetic significance as a green backdrop to surrounding suburbs and has a strong association with the community for social, cultural, and spiritual reasons.

Additionally, Whites Hill Reserve has a special association with William Jolly, the first Lord Mayor of Greater Brisbane. During World War II, the hill was used by the army as an observation post, and the surrounding bush was used for practice maneuvers. The Whites kiosk on the property was damaged by vandals and later demolished. In 1964, the Brisbane City Council subdivided 125 acres for residential development, and the development of sports fields began in 1968-69.

In summary, Whites Hill Reserve in Brisbane has a rich history and offers panoramic views of the city. It has served as a popular destination since the late 19th century and continues to be an important community space. The reserve features various facilities, including sports fields, a quarry, and a water reservoir, and also includes unique natural areas such as Sankeys scrub. Its historical significance and association with William Jolly further add to its importance. Click here for another interesting nook of the city.


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Getting from Whites Hill Reserve to Yeronga Memorial Park

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08:26 03 Nov 23
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01:27 09 Jun 23
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