Red Hill, a residential suburb, is 3.5 km north-west of central Brisbane. It includes the locality of Ithaca, a separate suburb until 1975. Red Hill was named as a description of the place; in parts the slopes approach 45 degrees, and the red colour of the subsoil was evident as soon as cuttings were dug to ease the gradients of tracks. St Brigid's Catholic church occupies a prominent site.

During the 1860s Red Hill was subdivided for semi-rural estates, and in the next decade settlement intensified. The Windsor Brass Foundry (1874-1973) was built in Windsor Road near Storie Street, and a Catholic school was opened. St Brigid's church opened five years later, which with associated convent occupied land both sides of Musgrave Road near Upper Clifton Terrace. Presbyterian and Church of England churches were opened in Enoggera Terrace and Waterworks Road (1885, 1888). Tram services along Musgrave Road and Enoggera Terrace were opened during 1897-98, the former running through Red Hill, within convenient walking distance for residents.

Apart from the Catholic school, Red Hill families had government schools at Petrie Terrace (1868), Ithaca Creek (1885) and Kelvin Grove (1875). The local hotel, the Normanby (1872), was also nearly outside Red Hill, in Musgrave Road at its intersection with Kelvin Grove Road. The hotel was rebuilt in 1891 to an English Tudor design.

Musgrave Road was the main shopping strip by 1918, with a picture theatre, motor garage, grocers, fruiterers, drapers and furniture shops. Around the corner of Musgrave and Windsor Roads there were Storie's joinery works and timber yard and Mountcastle's hat factory. St Brigid's church was replaced by a massive brick edifice to seat 1000 people in 1912. Designed by Robin Dods, the building sits atop a rise with views to most parts of Brisbane. The church and the nearby Normanby Hotel are on the Australian heritage register.

The factories, shops, houses and street lighting were connected to the electricity power house run by the Tramways, beginning in mid-1916.

Socio-economically, Red Hill was a continuation of Petrie Terrace with workers' dwellings, manual industries and a close reliance on the tram lines to get about. A Salvation Army Men's Retreat, with about 150 inmates, was established in Glenrosa Road.

Red Hill fell into disfavour between 1940s-1960s as bright, new postwar housing caught public acclaim. By the 1970s its proximity to the city, elevated views and colonial architecture regained popularity. Never threatened with retail drive-ins because of its topography, a good deal of Red Hill's heritage building stock was restored. The Ithaca embankments along Musgrave Road, a testament to the area's hilly terrain, are listed on the Queensland heritage register, as are St Brigid's church and convent, the Ithaca Council chambers (1910) in Enoggera Terrace and the Normanby Hotel in Musgrave Road.

Red Hill's census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

Ithaca entry


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