The making of Brisbane's Centenary Suburbs

From the pioneering days of T.M Burke in 1924, through to the expansive reach of Hooker Corporation in the middle of the century, and the evolution of Australand into the business we know as Frasers Property Australia today, ours is a centenary-long history rich with stories of the development of Australia. As we approach our 100 years’ celebration in 2024, we’re looking back at the places that have gone on to shape who we are and the way we live today.

26 April 2023

In 1959, the Sydney Opera House commenced construction, Johnny O’Keefe burst on to television screens as the larrikin host of Six O'clock Rock, and Australia’s population inched past 10 million people for the first time. The year also marked the centenary of the country's Golden State, Queensland—a milestone honoured by an ambitious new development in Brisbane's south-west, named the Centenary Suburbs. Consisting of what’s now known as Jindalee, Jamboree Heights, Mount Ommaney, Riverhills, Westlake, Middle Park, and Sumner, the vast development area of almost 1500 hectares was, in1959, rolling farmland hugging the Brisbane River some 15 kilometres from the city. Having completed negotiations with 170 different land owners, Hooker Corporation—the land development arm of real estate giant LJ Hooker—set about developing an integrated masterplan for the development of seven new Brisbane suburbs, capable of housing more than 30,000 residents. The first to be commenced was Jindalee. As part of its initial works, Hooker Corporation funded the construction of the Centenary Bridge across the river, vastly improving traffic connection between Ipswich and Brisbane, as well as 8kms of new highway, several rail crossings, sewerage treatment plants, a water reservoir, public golf course and an olympic swimming pool for new residents to enjoy.

In 1968, when 16,000 Boy Scouts from all over the world converged on Brisbane for their 8th Annual Jamboree, Hooker Corporation made the woodland areas of Jindalee available for them to camp. In commemoration of that event, the development of this area would go on to be called Jamboree Heights, hosting its own 50th year reunion of Boy Scouts in 2018.Over the course of the next three decades, Hooker Corporation—eventually to be acquired in the late 1980s by Australand Holdings and evolving to become Frasers Property Australia in 2015—completed the seven Centenary Suburbs. It was at the time the largest development undertaken in any city in Australia and a remarkable achievement of town planning at tremendous scale. By Hooker Corporation’s own admission, it was “a developer’s dream”. For Frasers Property, it’s an impressive chapter in the company’s100-year history in Australia and a standard-setting benchmark that influenced large-scale masterplanning for decades to follow.