Albion, a residential suburb on Sandgate Road, is 5 km north of central Brisbane and is bounded on its south-west by Breakfast Creek.
In 1860 John Petrie opened a quarry in the area to extract whitish sandstone, and four years later the proprietor of a new hotel in Sandgate Road named his establishment Albion – derived from the Latin word albus, meaning white – after the local quarry stone.
Although Breakfast Creek had been bridged for Sandgate in 1858, there was little or no urbanisation north of the creek. Of country estates there were only a few: Whytecliffe (1876) on Sandgate Road (now the site of a retirement village) and Moolooburrum (1886) built for Andrew Petrie and acquired nine years later for St Margaret's Anglican girls' school. Moolooburrum's area was later named Albion Heights, rising to Bartleys Hill, Ascot, the site of a service reservoir (1907).
It was on lower-lying parts that Albion became better known, when a swampy area north of the mouth of Breakfast Creek was chosen as the site of a racecourse. The area had been popular for hunting and coursing, and it became the headquarters of the Smithfield Pony Club (1885) and the Albion Park Racecourse (1895). By then there had been several real estate subdivisions at Albion, and town mail deliveries were extended to the settlement in 1888. The area was also popular with Chinese settlers. Market gardeners populated the lower lying marshlands and the Temple of the Holy Triad was constructed in Higgs Street near Breakfast Creek in 1885-86 to serve the local Cantonese community. It is listed on the Australian heritage register.
The business owner and manufacturer, James Campbell acquired Petrie's quarry and opened a brick and pottery works immediately north of Crosby Park (now an Australia Post business delivery centre). The opening of the electric tramline along Sandgate Road to Clayfield in 1901 confirmed Albion as a maturing suburb. It was described in 1903 in the Australian handbook:
The Sandgate Road tram ran within a couple of hundred metres of the railway station, creating a local transport hub around which a shopping precinct developed. A cinema, the Capitol, later opened in Sandgate Road, and there were several churches, an Oddfellows hall and a drill hall. Further afield were four sawmills, including Campbells, and a furniture factory. In 2013 the four-storey brick Albion flour mill in Hudson Road, earmarked for mixed-use development as the Albion Mill Village, was destroyed by fire. The mill had been constructed by Scottish migrants, the Gillespie Brothers, during the economic depression of the 1930s, and had operated for 72 years until production ceased in 2004.
Albion includes the localities of Albion Heights and Breakfast Creek, the latter home to the popular heritage-listed Breakfast Creek Hotel (1889). The former Albion post office, the former fire station and the art deco Hampton Court flats at 436 Sandgate Road are also heritage listed. The Albion Park racecourse, a gallops venue for some 100 years, was converted into a harness racing venue in the early 1900s. The Allan Border Field at Crosby Park is adjacent to the Albion Park Raceway, and is home to the Queensland Cricket Association and features the Stuart Law Stand.
Albion's census populations have been:
Mervyn Royle, Northern suburbs heritage tour, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane History Group, 1993
Australian and Queensland heritage registers
Booroodabin: a sesquicentenary history of Breakfast Creek, Bowen Hills, Newstead and Teneriffe, 1823-2009, Bowen Hills, Qld Women's Historical Assoc. Inc, 2009