Paddington, a residential suburb, is three km west of central Brisbane. It was named after a farm which was named after the borough of Paddington, England.
It was located immediately beyond Brisbane town's earliest suburban subdivisions in Petrie Terrace. Between 1975-2010 Petrie Terrace ceased to be a separate suburb and was a locality in central Brisbane, before again being deemed a suburb in 2010. Rosalie, also once a separate suburb, has been a locality in Paddington since 1975. Each is described in a separate entry.
Large semi-rural allotments were first sold in Paddington in 1859, giving rise to several 'gentlemen's estates'. One of them, Fernberg, was built in 1865. More concentrated settlement occurred in the 1870s, occasioning Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist churches (1875, 1877) and the opening of the Paddington Hotel in Given Terrace. A horse-bus service began operation in 1879, the same year as a post office was opened in the hotel.
Paddington was part of Ithaca Shire (1887), and the formation of the shire by severance from Enoggera division coincided with increasing urbanisation in Paddington. In 1898 an electric tram service was run from the city through Petrie Terrace and along Caxton Street, Given Terrace and Latrobe Terrace to Enoggera Terrace. An extension along Latrobe Terrace to Macgregor Terrace was completed the following year.
Given and Latrobe Terraces were Paddington's main activity strips. In addition to the hotel, Given Terrace had the Catholic church at the Fernberg Road corner, the Primitive Methodist church and hall, and shops interspersed with houses; Latrobe Terrace also had a scattering of shops, the Salvation Army barracks and the Morris and Co boot factory. Ithaca Town (1903) came to play a more important role, building its second town chambers in Enoggera Terrace (1907) and pioneering child welfare with a supervised playground, crèche and kindergarten at an old cemetery site in Caxton Street, north of Lang Park. The service also took children from Petrie Terrace, just as the Petrie Terrace primary school (1868) took children from Paddington.
There was no State school in Paddington, but Petrie Terrace, Ithaca Creek and Milton primary schools (1868, 1885, 1889) and the Sacred Heart school (1907-95) in Rosalie were near or just inside its borders. The Marist College in Rosalie opened in 1929.
In 1910 Fernberg was acquired as the State Governor's residence, at the south-west corner of Paddington (then Rosalie). More proletarian institutions came with Marconi's goanna oil factory (1910) and the Pavilion cinema (1911-79). Paddington's second cinema was also built in Given Terrace and a third, the Plaza (1929-61), was in Latrobe Terrace at the corner of Collingwood Street. The Morris and Co boot factory expanded to additional sites in Latrobe Terrace and Caxton Street.
Tram sheds were built in Latrobe Terrace at the corner of Warmington Street in 1915. Forty-seven years later they went up in a fire that also consumed 20 percent of Brisbane's tram fleet, hastening the replacement of trams with diesel buses. The tram sheds site was rebuilt as a drive-in shopping centre (1967), a sign that Paddington's hilly Queenslander landscape was in for modernisation. The issue emerged in the 1990s, with the prospect of shops and business in Latrobe and Given Terraces being unlawfully zoned and high-density, bland dwellings replacing the picturesque vernacular houses. The zoning issue was not imaginary, as many businesses, some retail, had been added on to house frontages. The Paddington Central shopping centre, La Trobe Terrace, had opened in 1988, offering smarter retail outlets.
The workers' cottages and Queenslanders attracted new, younger residents. In the 1990s Paddington was the yuppie epicentre of Brisbane, spawning cafes and coffee shops. The boom was followed by a slump in demand and empty shop fronts, but the shopping strip recovered. There are numerous sites in Paddington on the Queensland heritage register, including the Ithaca war memorial, the former Plaza Cinema, the Paddington water tower and the Rosalie kindergarten.
The floods are described in the Rosalie entry.
Paddington's census populations have been:
Dawn Buckberry, ed, Padd, Paddo, Paddington: an oral and visual history of early Paddington : living memories from the heart of Brisbane, Paddington, Red Hill Paddington Community Centre, 1999
Brisbane Courier, 14 June 1930
Ithaca, Petrie Terrace and Rosalie entries