Wooloowin, a residential suburb, is six km north of central Brisbane. It includes the former suburb of Kalinga, north of Rose Street and ending at Kedron Brook. Until the 1970s Wooloowin also included the site of Kedron High School and the QUT Kedron Park campus, but that is now in neighbouring Kedron.
Wooloowin is on Lutwyche Road which was the main thoroughfare of the Windsor Shire (1887-1925), and Wooloowin occupied the shire's far north-east corner. It was thus an outlying district, despite the opening of the Sandgate railway line in 1882 with stations at Wooloowin and Eagle Junction. The name 'Wooloowin' apparently began with the naming of the station. A Catholic community was scattered between Lutwyche Road and the railway line, but its nearest church was in Fortitude Valley. A site was acquired at the south end of Kedron Park Road where the Holy Cross church was built in 1886. On the rest of the site, vested in the Sisters of Mercy, a Magdalen Asylum was opened in 1889 and a convent school in the following year. The asylum was a haven for destitute women (usually 'fallen' or with children out of wedlock) and in common with most similar institutions employed the women in laundry work, notorious for hard toil melded with penance for past misdeeds. The asylum building is on the Australian heritage register.
At the other end of Kedron Park Road Judge Lutwyche donated land for an Anglican church, a racecourse was established on Kedron Park and the Diamantina orphanage was built. A Wooloowin Progress Association was formed in 1911, probably anticipating the extension of the tram service along Lutwyche Road. Wooloowin primary school in Lutwyche Road was opened the year of the tram extension, 1914. Kedron Park Road developed as Wooloowin's local shopping area, south from Norman Street. The post office directory recorded four stores, a grocer and a blacksmith in 1924. Towards the end of the 1920s house building moved into Kalinga, and a bus service to Kalinga Park began in 1926. Three years later it was replaced by a branch tram line from Lutwyche Road, around Park and Kent Roads.
Most of the houses in Wooloowin are interwar Queenslanders, built on large allotments. The area was home to a suburban middle class, and aspirations for post-primary education were satisfied in 1956 with the opening of the Kedron State High School on the former racecourse next to Kedron Brook. Forty years later Wooloowin's housing market occupied a highly desirable niche: it was close to Lutwyche Road and Toombul shopping centres, had bus and rail public transport and about 70% of its dwellings were free standing (Queenslanders). Town houses and units were mostly east of the railway line. In 2002 Wooloowin's median house price rise was the highest in Brisbane and proximity to higher priced Ascot and Wilston was part of the reason. Queenslander houses were demolished or moved away, to be replaced by dual dwellings, a cause of concern to heritage-minded residents.
The Wooloowin primary school, and Kalinga Park and its memorial gates, are listed on the Queensland heritage register. In early 2014 the Kedron substation No 8 (1920s) was reopened to house a printmakers' studio and gallery under the Brisbane City Council's program to convert disused public buildings to artistic spaces.
Wooloowin's census populations have been:
Gavin Scott, Holy Cross School Centenary, 1996