The Mount Gravatt district comprises three suburbs adjoining Logan Road, extending from Nursery Road (the boundary with Holland Park) southwards to the western branch of the Bulimba Creek (the boundary with Eight Mile Plains). 'Mount Gravatt' is a rise (195m) to the west of Logan Road in a reserve that was set aside in 1893. It adjoins a Griffith University campus which leads westwards to a larger reserve, Toohey Forest Park, which includes 'Toohey Mountain' in Moorooka. This extensive swathe of open space belies the relative scarcity of local open space in the post-World War II Mount Gravatt suburbs that grew along Logan Road, now comprising Mount Gravatt (west of Logan Road), Mount Gravatt East and Upper Mount Gravatt (south of Broadwater Road). (In the 1920s the area now comprising Holland Park was known as Lower Mount Gravatt.)
Lieutenant George Gravatt (1815-43) was for a few months in 1839 the Commandant of the Moreton Bay penal settlement, and for his short-lived leadership received the compliment of having Mount Gravatt named in his honour.
Logan Road, formerly Slacks Track and Slacks Road, was the route from Brisbane to southern settlements such as Beenleigh. (The Slack family settled at Slacks Creek in the 1850s.) Until the opening of railways in 1885 it was a much frequented route. In 1865 farm lots along Slacks Road were sold and the beginnings of a closer-settlement emerged: the German Bridge Hotel (1865, Holland Park), a provisional school (1874) and a post office (1877). The first church, Congregational, was opened in 1880. A ribbon village along Logan Road from Nursery Road to Selborne Street included the Mount Gravatt Hotel, post office, Underwood's store and the State primary school. A horse bus took residents from Mount Gravatt to the Woolloongabba tram terminus (1887).
Development along Logan Road was set back when the Beenleigh railway (1885) took away much of its traffic, and Mount Gravatt settled into several decades of rural life. Extension of the tram line from Greenslopes to Holland Park (1926) left Mount Gravatt too far from the terminus until another extension in 1951 to Selborne Road.
In 1915 the Mount Gravatt showground was reserved, creating a space that inhabitants would treasure for decades as a gathering place and a reminder of their rural origins. The first annual show was in 1918. In the 1920s soldier settlement farms were allotted in Lower Mount Gravatt (north of Nursery Road), and a Catholic church (1921) joined the pre-existing Congregational and Anglican buildings. A soldiers' memorial hall was opened in 1923, and development further south along Logan Road required the opening of Upper Mount Gravatt school in 1929. In the 1930s Mount Gravatt reached the status of an outer suburb when a crematorium in Nursery Road was opened and the Brisbane City Council acquired the site of the Toohey Forest Park.
Almost immediately after World War II the Chester estate near Selborne Street was subdivided for housing and the Housing Commission began building north-west of Creek Road. In 1951 the tram service was extended, terminating there at a new shopping centre on Logan Road. Schools followed the postwar housing boom: at Upper Mount Gravatt the St Bernard's Catholic school was opened in 1953, the Mount Gravatt East State primary school opened in 1955 and the Mount Gravatt high school opened in 1960. Another Catholic primary, St Agnes', opened in 1962 in Mount Gravatt. The ethnic composition also changed, as Lutheran farm folk moved to a new church and their old building was acquired by the Greek community. Suburban modernity arrived with the opening of the Big Top drive-in shopping centre (1960), the first of four Logan Road drive-ins opened between 1960 and 1981. Central Fair (1966) has a supermarket and 22 shops, and Mount Gravatt Plaza (1981) has a discount department store, supermarket and 37 shops. Both are at Logan Road and Creek Street. The largest, Garden City (1970) in Upper Mount Gravatt, has a department store, two discount department stores and 210 other shops.
At one stage there was a possibility of a fifth when the Brisbane City Council proposed to dispose of the showground for a Myer shopping centre development. Nine years and a Privy-Council decision later, in the teeth of determined local opposition, the development was withdrawn.
Mount Gravatt primary school changed from a rural outpost to an over-crowded suburban school in 25 postwar years. Its attendances numbered 112 (1945), 1005 (1959) and 1660 (1972). A teachers' college was opened on the western part of Mount Gravatt reserve in 1967, later converting to a campus of Griffith University. Further beyond the present boundary of Mount Gravatt, but at the time an outlying part, a stadium was erected south of the cemetery for the 1982 Commonwealth Games. It later became the temporary home of the Brisbane Broncos and also hosted a number of Davis Cup tennis matches. The Mount Gravatt Outlook Reserve is east of the university campus.
Numerous feeder bus lines brought residents to the Logan Road tram terminus. In 1966 the Brisbane City Council took over the feeder buses, joining them to their own bus network when the tram service ended in 1969. South-east suburban growth was soon too much for Logan Road or its buses, and a freeway (begun 1973) reached Klumpp Road, Upper Mount Gravatt, in 1980, ending at Slacks Creek in 1985. By then Mount Gravatt was a mature suburb, populations having stabilised or beginning to decrease as young family members moved out to newer subdivisions. In the late 1990s a dedicated busway was added on the eastern side of the southeast freeway, providing much quicker travel times to and from the city.
Mount Gravatt's early census populations were:
|Mount Gravatt||Mount Gravatt|
Gwen Robinson, Mt Gravatt: bush to suburb, Mt Gravatt, G. Robinson, 1986
Upper Mount Gravatt entry