Stories of  Montague Road  – its characters and its history – have been told for centuries; the ongoing and generous contribution of First Peoples, historians, and residents both past and present, bring this street to life.  

NOTE: All stories are presented  with care, in good faith, and from sources believed to be accurate. Every effort is made to publish free of content and typographical errors. Acknowledgement and thanks are given to all contributors, and creators of images and information used in the public domain.

 Story #1 

Paul Granville ©

Could it be that Montague Road is named after a typographical error? 

Montague Road was most-probably named after Parliamentarian, Lord Montague, incorrectly named in a Sydney newspaper. But who was he? Hansard records for the House of Lords are online and cite Thomas Spring Rice, First Baron Monteagle as the parliamentarian  who successfully moved a motion for an Upper House in the Australian colonies.

Story #2 

Electric tram number 1, running from West End to New Farm (State Library of Queensland)

Local Historian, Paul Granville’s blog post on the omnibuses of Brisbane reveals how far our public transport has come, and offers some encouragement for theatre patrons along  Montague Road! 

In the 1880s, Montague Road was in such a bad condition that omnibuses frequently travelled on the footpath. In the dark of the night, there was the risk of slipping down unseen adjacent embankments. This occurred to a ‘bus carrying theatre-goers one November evening in 1889. The ‘bus overturned without any of the passengers being seriously injured. The newspaper report goes on to say: “There was a good deal of mud and water about the place, and the appearance of the passengers after getting free of the vehicle may be better imagined than described”.  

Story #3

… a quiet little street by Francesca Lejeune, 2022

From my desk, as I write, I look out the front window of my timber and tin cottage to the street. It’s one of my favourite places to be, I hear the familiar sounds of the neighbourhood, people walk by, and the occasional car drives past. Geoffrey and I have lived in Skinner St for 27 years and raised two daughters here. In 1995, it was a quiet little street connecting Montague Rd and Hardgrave Rd, then came the acceleration of apartment development west of Montague and an ever-increasing stream of traffic. 

Our collective quality of life plummeted; there was constant traffic noise and bottle necks at both ends of the street, speed bumps put in didn’t work and we were frequently woken by cars and large trucks hitting them in the middle of the night. Street gardens didn’t work to slow or inhibit traffic either, trucks simply ran them over destroying plants. In response, our street worked together to urge council to deter rat running and to install a one-way entrance from Montague Rd into Skinner St. 

This outcome was eventually achieved and when google maps finally reflected the change, our quality of life returned.

Story #4

Image supplied by Steve Capelin

The Paint Factory by Steve Capelin

From 1987 to 1991, on the corner of Donkin Street and Montague Road, the Paint Factory was a community centre, a breeding ground for independent artists, a haven for alternative thinkers and activists, a cultural phenomenon. MORE…

Story #5

Judy Watson Image: © Ashley Barber

Brisbane artist Judy Watson is the talent behind the mesmerizing carpets in the Thomas Dixon Centre adorning the foyers, boardrooms and theatre. These carpets boast iconic Queensland elements from nature, each chosen not only for its beauty, but for its importance to Aboriginal culture and to this place. MORE…

Story #6

Image: © Ashley Barber / Courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney

‘Ensemble’ is a trilogy of tall, dynamic columns gracing the forecourt of the Thomas Dixon Centre. The sculpture was made by Newcastle-born artist Jamie North. Made from slag, a by-product of iron, the industrial looking columns cascade with lush, native Queensland plant life.   MORE…

Image is Jamie North installing Succession 2016 for the 20th Biennalle of Sydney – The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed

Story #7

Image:  Supplied by Davidia Lind.

Times And People Change, Sweet Memories Don’t by Davidia Lind

Times and people change; sweet memories don’t. Our home at 40 Drake Street was like many of the houses in this lower end of Montague Road being an original home with open fireplaces, a stable, fruit trees, plus a chook run in the back yard. More … 

“The photograph (taken in 1973) shows my beautiful younger sister Laurel, standing in the front yard of our family home at 40 Drake Street Hill End with the Thomas Dixon Shoe Factory in the background.”  

Story #8

Image: Supplied by Christine Hill

The Cars That Ate Montage Road, from Christine Hill

He was the one who would love to go full pelt down Montague Road. Mind you, it was a big empty road most days then, nothing like now. More…

Story #9

Image: Supplied by Christine Hill

Memories of the characters and business activity in West End – Highgate Hill

from Christine Hill, resident Hill End.

Even though all these transport businesses were in opposition, it was a different era, and the families knew each other and were often good friends. More…