Newstead, an inner suburb on the Brisbane River, is three km north-east of central Brisbane. It was named after Newstead House on the south bank of the mouth of Breakfast Creek. Newstead includes the locality of Teneriffe, a separate suburb until 1975.
Patrick Leslie, a pioneer pastoralist and part owner of the Canning Downs station on the Darling Downs, settled in Brisbane in 1845. He bought a 34 acre allotment on Breakfast Creek and built a residence that he named Newstead House. The name was given in deference to his brother's liking for it. In 1847 Leslie sold the property to Captain John Wickham, the adjoining property owner and the Moreton Bay Police Magistrate. Wickham owned Newstead House until 1859, and during his time the residence was a social centre of Brisbane. It is Brisbane's oldest extant house.
Newstead lies immediately east of Breakfast Creek Road which was the main road to Nundah and Eagle Farm. It was bridged in 1836 and again in 1848. Breakfast Creek Road was a convenient route along which to locate industries, early examples being a sawmill and the Waterloo Hotel at the Commercial Road corner (1879-81). A horse-drawn tramline to the Breakfast Creek Bridge began operating in 1885 and two years later a branch was opened along Commercial Road to the Bulimba ferry. Stormwater drainage was constructed in the mid-1880s to allow building development, although the Brisbane River flood in 1893 completely inundated Newstead except for Teneriffe Hill (145 ft). Newstead's largest industry, Brisbane Gas Co's gas works between Waterloo Street, the River, Longland Street and Breakfast Creek Road was opened in 1887. The gas-manufacturing buildings have been demolished, and a heritage-listed framework for a gasometer is all that remains.
Newstead was under the Booroodabin local government division (1879-1903), and the Booroodabin bowling club at the corner of Breakfast Creek Road and Edmonstone Road was opened in 1888. Further east along Edmonstone Road at Wickham Grove there were Kitchen's candle and soap factories.
Breakfast Creek Road became an industrial arterial, mixed with local shops and overpowered by the gas works. Dalgety's wool store (1911-84) was a dominant building. A branch railway (1897-1990) from Bowen Hills ran through the gas works site and along Vernon Terrace etc to New Farm. It had sidings to a timber yard next to the gas works and several wharves along Bulimba Reach. The line had a busy goods traffic, with steam locomotives guided by a flagman across Breakfast Creek Road.
With the coming of the motorcar age several garages were opened along Breakfast Creek Road, notably Edward Eager's American motor business (1913) and his car assembly plant (1922). Less glamorous factories such as a wallboard manufacturer and Hardies asbestos cement sheeting were also opened.
In the mid-1920s the shipping channels to Bulimba Reach were deepened and wharf facilities were moved away from South Brisbane to Newstead and New Farm. Newstead Wharf (adjacent to Newstead Terrace) received its first ship in 1937. The Britannia docked there for the 1963 Royal Tour and ANL installed a roll-on roll-off terminal in 1969. The port, however, was moving downstream to Pinkenba and Fisherman Islands, and the last cargo ship docked at Newstead in 1969. Other vessels used the wharf facilities, the Britannia again in 1982, but within 15 years the riverfront's real estate potential was of an entirely different character. Mirvac acquired a ten hectare land package along Newstead Terrace for its Riverpark apartments and town houses (2001), and the shoreline was landscaped with boardwalks. The former gas works site followed as the next stage of residential conversion, and apartment projects were completed along the shoreline of the river adjacent to Vernon Terrace and Macquarie Street. The median house price in Newstead in 2004 was $640,000, making it one of Brisbane's highest-priced suburbs.
Newstead's 'crown jewel', Patrick Leslie's house, remains as one of Brisbane's most visited historic sites, set in a park looking out on Hamilton Reach. Newstead House is listed on the Queensland heritage register. It was owned by various families from 1863 to 1925, and in 1932 it was leased to the Queensland Historical Society. During World War II it was occupied by the American Army. The park was vested in the Brisbane City Council in 1918 and opened to the public in 1921.
Proximity to Breakfast Creek led to flooding in January 2011, west of Breakfast Creek Road to Perry Park. Flooding also passed through the Booroodabin bowls club and southwards to the former gasworks site, finishing near Chester Street. The flood's coverage was one of the more spectacular among Brisbane’s suburbs, menacing some spectacularly expensive real estate.
Newstead's census populations have been:
In 2011, 88% of dwellings were flats, units or apartments.
Booroodabin: a sesquicentenary history of Breakfast Creek, Bowen Hills, Newstead and Teneriffe, 1823-2009, Bowen Hills, Qld Women's Historical Assoc. Inc, 2009