Nathan, a suburb comprised mostly of Toohey Forest Park, the Mt Gravatt cemetery and a campus of Griffith University (1975), is 10 km south of central Brisbane. Its residential parts are a small estate on the western boundary and student accommodation on campus. The suburb was one of three around Mt Gravatt named after Queensland governors. Sir Matthew Nathan was Governor of Queensland from 1920 to 1926 and Chancellor of the University of Queensland (1922-26), gaining considerable public approval.

Most of Nathan – when Mt Gravatt – was reserved for public purposes: the Mt Gravatt Cemetery (1918), which included the sites later detached for the university campus and Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Sporting Centre, and the Toohey Forest Park (1938). The forest park was purchased by the Brisbane City Council from the descendents of James Toohey (1927-83), a settler who acquired large areas of land from Tarragindi to Mt Gravatt between 1865 and 1872.

The suburb of Nathan was named in 1967, two years after the Queensland Government decided on a new university in the cemetery reserve and in the year when the proposed university was named Griffith. Later, to no avail, the university sought a change of name of the suburb to Griffith. The campus opened in 1975. In 1982 the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee sports stadium was built on another site detached from the cemetery reserve, and it was opened for the twelfth Commonwealth Games.

Nathan's census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

The median age of residents was 24 years, reflecting the high proportion of students.

William Metcalfe, 'James Toohey' in Royal Historical Society Queensland Journal, vol 14, no 9, 1991

Noel Quirke, Preparing for the future: a history of Griffith University, Moorooka, Boolarong Press; Nathan, Griffith University, 1996

Rob Simpson, Find your way in the Toohey Forest: an introduction to the Toohey Forest bushland reserve, Brisbane, Toohey Forest Protection Society, 2000


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