Highgate Hill, an inner Brisbane suburb, is two km south-east of the city centre and overlooks the St Lucia Reach of the Brisbane River.

As it is separated from the city by South Brisbane, several decades of the town's first settlement period passed before there was any housing at Highgate Hill. It is thought that an early resident, George Wilson (whose house was at the top of Bellevue Street) named the locality Highgate Hill. The Highgate Hill estate was advertised in 1864, and Dornoch Terrace was a roughly formed thoroughfare, but it was the 1880s before significant European settlement occurred. Dornoch Terrace joins Gladstone Road immediately south of the Highgate Hill (64 metres), and in 1889 on a southerly continuation of the rise a service reservoir was installed. By then the urbanisation of West End, Highgate Hill and South Brisbane made the reservoir essential.

The Dutton Park to South Brisbane railway line (1897) is on Highgate Hill's eastern boundary and there was a station at Gloucester Road until 1978.

In 1902 an electric tram service began along Gladstone Road, confirming the road's role as the suburb's main shopping street. Highgate Hill Park was taken over by the South Brisbane Town Council and a pavilion was built there for public shelter and entertainment. The Catholic Ursuline convent was built on another rise to the south at Park Road West, and it is associated with St Ita's church and primary school (formerly a girls high school) in adjoining Dutton Park.

The Dornoch Terrace ridgeline was built on during the interwar years with several flats, presaging Brisbane's first apartment tower (1962) also on Dornoch Terrace. The 22 storey structure, Torbreck, is on the crest, overlooking a block of garden apartments. The tower, with adjustable louvres and a rooftop viewing room, has been described as an heroic monument to high rise, creating an unlikely Brisbane landmark. Torbreck is on the Queensland heritage register. It replaced a colonial villa (1876) also named Torbreck, Gaelic for brow of the hill. A short distance west of Torbreck there is Highgate Hill Park, with good views of the CBD skyline.

Highgate Hill residents have shopping facilities in Annerley Road near Stanley Street or in West End. Schools are also in West End and Dutton Park (primary) and South Brisbane (secondary).

Highgate Hill was chosen as the locale for John Fairbairns' The Highgate Hill Mob (juvenile fiction). Most of the significant landmarks are mentioned in it.

In 2002 about two hectares of remnant bushland, known as the Gully, was the scene of strident protests when a developer obtained a permit for nearly 30 dwellings to be built on it. During the previous 40 years, numerous Queenslander dwellings were demolished - particularly in Gladstone and Hampstead Roads - and replaced by medium-rise units and some taller blocks.

The census populations of Highgate Hill have been:

Census DatePopulation

J. Keith Jarrott, History of Highgate Hill, Sunnybank, J.K. Jarrott, 1997


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