Friday, March 24, 2023; Queensland, Australia

Auchenflower Residents Alliance Inc
"Local people addressing local issues"



By Kevin Southern

Much of what I have found has come from the wonderful book “Auchenflower, the Name and the Suburb” by Professor John Pearn. I must thank him for doing so much research and for filling me with the passion to explore so much that was significant in my own childhood.

Please Consider
All of the Stormwater that is not captured by rainwater tanks in the suburb of Auchenflower flows to the Brisbane River. It does so through two major drainage and storm-water lines, one of which enters the river at Oxley’s Wharf Restaurant and another at the bamboo clump on the Bicentennial Walkway opposite Moorlands Park. They generally follow the two major creek systems that existed when John Okley explored the Brisbane River in 1824.
These two major drains are very large concrete pipes – large enough for young teenage boys to enter and follow upwards for hundreds of yards in the 1960s when they were accessible to such adventurers.

Today they are mainly underground with a few open drains where they are tidal – generally near the junction with the Brisbane River.
You will have passed over them without knowing of their significance. They drain a huge area from Bardon to Toowong and everything East of Mount Coot-tha.

Think about where the watersheds are around the area – notably the Hill of Fernberg Road and the area below the Governor’s residence at Fernberg – next along Birdwood Terrace which follows the spine and drains to the North and the South – next along Ascog Terrace and back towards the Western Freeway.

Any rain that falls into that area follows the line of least resistance to the Brisbane River.

At the time of white settlement there were two major creeks within these huge gullies:-

Western Creek + Langsville Creek.

Western Creek AKA Cribb’s Creek AKA Dunmore Creek AKA Milton Drain:
The main drain for the area from the Governor’s Hill – through Norm Buchan Park – along Elizabeth St Rosalie - under the trendy Blue Room Cinema – through Gregory park adjacent Milton State School – next to the fig tree in the Haig Road Roundabout then under Frew Street where the Milton Bowl used to reside. Here it becomes the boundary of Auchenflower as it runs parallel with Torwood Street – under Milton Road in the open drain – closed to go under the railway line at Camford Street – open again to flow under Coronation Drive and into the Brisbane River adjacent Oxley’s Wharf Restaurant - Tidal right up to Rosalie Shopping Centre
Essentially it drained everything North of Birdwood Terrace to Fernberg Road at Rosalie and the Hill of Heussler Terrace.

Cribb’s Creek:
Is the creek from Milton Road to the River and draining the very trendy Park Road.

Dunmore Creek:
Is a tributary that ran from around Cue Street under the railway line through what is now the Soccer Ground of Dunmore Park and under what is now Kilroe Street to meet Western Creek.
Described as “a non-perennial stream” Dunmore Creek was known locally as “The Dump” for the obvious reason. It was drained, graded and levelled in 1949.

Langsville Creek:
AKA Saltwater Creek - note that the Brisbane River is salty up towards Indooroopilly then brackish thereafter to College’s Crossing.
Drained the watersheds of Birdwood Terrace, Frederick Street, Markwell Street and the hill of Toowong Memorial Park.
It ran from the area around the Child Care Centre near Jones Street – across Milton Road, under the old Mobil garage and parallel with both Dixon Street and Park Lane – under the railway at the MacIlwraith Croquet Club then through what is now Moorlands Park to enter the Brisbane River near the big stand of bamboo along the Bicentennial Walkway opposite where Patrick Land joins Coronation Drive. This is the point where John Oxley camped in his journey up the Brisbane River in 1824. This is described vividly in his journal and reproduced in Professor Pearn’s wonderful book on Auchenflower.

At the site of the MacIlwraith Croquet Club - Langville Creek (Saltwater Creek) was adjacent (and presumably feeding) the Duck Pond associated with Auchenflower House. The Pond had a large island within known as Fern Island. An old tressal constructed railway bridge crossed Dixon Street and the creek. Coronation Drive (then known as River Road) crossed Langsville Creek with “The Crooked Bridge” – so named because it was at an angle to the flow of traffic along River Road.

The creek was described as “a mangrove lined open drain” and was levelled and filled by the Brisbane City Council with the assistance of volunteer labour in 1948 - (one year before the same thing was done to Dunmore Creek).

Adjacent the railway line on the site of the residential unit towers on Land Street and Patrick Lane was a magnificent colonial home called “Clayton” - built by the Dixon family in the late 1800 (about 1880 we think).
In front of it - where Land Street has been pushed through – was a small creek that drained under the railway line from Toowong Memorial Park. The football ground behind the Scout Hall had an opening into a stormwater drain – it ran from Moorlands Park along what is now Land Street - under the railway line under the oval of Toowong Park – across Sylvan Road – along the lane adjacent LiquorLand – under St Osyth Street behind the tennis courts of Toowong State School – through Quinn Park – under Milton road near the roundabout – and fed by the drains within Toowong Cemetary as well as the swampy area at Anzac Park and the Botanic Gardens at the Western Freeway. All of this catchment from Mount Coot-tha drains through here along the pipes and ends up under Moorlands Park into the Brisbane River.

The Current Time:
In keeping with the current view on public safety and protection from self harm there are very few places where these wild creeks see the light of day.

Think of Western Creek:
In Norm Buchan Park - a small open drain structure near the Baroona Road junction with Rainwothh Road then nothing until you cross Milton Road and see the open drain behind the Scout’s Hall then underground until you get to the industrial park at the old Kirk’s / Helidon Spa soft drink factory. Then under a high rise building on Coronation Drive.

Think of Langsville Creek:
A few open drains in the Toowong Cemetary and the swamp area adjacent the Western Freeway then nothing until the overflow cage in Moorlands Park below us.

They have ceased to exist in our minds but once they were either :-

  • mangrove infested swamps OR
  • exotic, wonderful play spaces OR
  • havens for wildlife and reserves for ecological sustainability OR
  • sources of water and food for itinerant indigenous tribal groups


----Depends on your perspective really.


Page updated: Jan 2010