Chermside & Districts Historical Society
Originally written by Pat O’Shea, 2010. Updated by Sherry Mackay, Julia van Zon, Bradley Scott, 2023.
Kedron - an inner Northern Brisbane suburb
Kedron is an inner northern suburb of Brisbane. Like Aspley, it is divided by the major arterial road, Gympie Road.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Kedron had a population of 12,133 in 2006 living in its 5,200. In 2021, it had a population of 9907, which is a 15.3% increase since 2011. Like many of the suburbs along Gympie Rd, houses are being rapidly replaced by apartments. In the last decade there has been a 50% increase in the number of apartments in Kedron.
Kedron slopes from Webster Road in the west down to the parklands surrounding Kedron Brook in the eastern part of the suburb and many small creeks flow from the ridge along Webster Road. Accessibility to permanent running water led to the establishment of many tanneries in the area during the latter part of the 19th centruy. Tanneries operated by Gallagher, Maggs, Slaney, and Pill provided employment for many men in the district.
Housing is also changing rapidly. With the increase in population in southeast Queensland, Brisbane City Council has changed zoning rules which now allow for closer housing and apartments. Older houses are being either demolished or removed and the replacement buildings are usually multi-dwelling units.
The Kedron section of Gympie Road has long been an area where traffic tends to slow travellers and commuters.
From the early days of settlement in Brisbane, farmers had to take their produce to the Brisbane markets, crossing several creeks along the route. The discovery of gold in Gympie led to an increase in traffic and the need for bridges. A wooden bridge carried traffic over Kedron Brook about 1875 and the tram route was extended from Windsor to this bridge by 1914. The tramline was extended to Lutwyche Cemetery in 1924, but not over the bridge. Passengers had to walk that section of the route. The new Brisbane City Council was an amalgamation of the many local councils in 1925 and it built a new bridge over Kedron Brook in 1927.
View of Gympie Road looking towards the Kedron Park Hotel. The trams are waiting to transport race patrons from the nearby Kedron Park Racecourse back to the city.
The intersection of Stafford Road and Gympie Road in October 2003. All of these buildings have since been demolished – the Kedron Bowls Club, Mobil Service Station, and the car yard.
This intersection was originally known as Barron’s Corner, named after early owners of the land. It was also the intersection which the Kedron Shire Council chose to install its first Kitson light. The only remaining building is the one on the hill at the rear of the scene.
There was continuing congestion over the next eighty years and the State Government is building the Northern Busway to speed the traffic in this section.
It will also create a link to the airport. This has disrupted many businesses and changed the lives of people living along the route. Houses have been demolished, people have relocated, and building work has continued day and night.
Farmer Joe’s, a very successful business on Gympie Road in Kedron. It was closed in 2009 to make way for the Northern Busway.
Medical needs of the district
After the Second World War, the areas of Kedron and Chermside were expanding, but medical and dental facilities were lacking. Tom Packer was finishing his dental studies at the University of Queensland and saw there was an opening for a dentist in the area. After much searching, he was able to buy a small block of land from Les and Maurice Brooks next to their business, on Gympie Road, Kedron, opposite Sadlier Street. Tom designed and built a small surgery, with urging from his father, Joe Packer who was a great believer in the expansion of the district.
In October 1947, Tom started his practice and a week later he married Viti Deller – the practice lasted for 40 years and the marriage for 60 years.
Tom Packer’s practice was well known in the district, and he worked hard day and night with the efficient help from his pleasant dental assistants, without whom he couldn’t have managed. He believed he was needed by the people in the area, and he did his best to fulfill that need. He even built a home on the back of the surgery ground for his wife and growing family so he could be near his practice. They lived there for ten years before moving to Aspley.
He had many patients and they varied from school children and their parents, local workmen from the tanneries, priests, nuns, businessmen and parliamentarians. They came from all around the district – Aspley, Chermside, Everton Park, and Stafford, and even as far away as Dayboro and New Guinea. Tom was interested in people as his grandfather, Thomas Andrew Hamilton, had been before him, and his work kept him in touch with people from many walks of life, and this he enjoyed.
Other medical facilities were set up and Kedron was well supplied with doctors. Dr George Corones and Dr Clem Murphy built a surgery on the corner of Gympie Road and the then Richmond Road (now Strathmore Street), Kedron and this building was used by other doctors as well.
Tom Packer retired from his practice in 1985 as the practice of dentistry was gradually changing, and although he had kept up with the times, he felt it was time to finish.
The business was sold to another dentist, Mark Stanton, who continued on with the practice until the site where the surgery and house stood was resumed for the new busway. The original surgery and house were demolished in 2009.
Dental surgery built by Tom Packer. The building was demolished in 2009 to make way for the Northern Busway.
House built behind Tom Packer’s surgery. It too was demolished in 2009.