Kingsford Smith Drive was built by convict labour in 1829 and it connected Brisbane Town with the women’s jail at Eagle Farm.
Hamilton was a town in its own right from 1890 until 1924 when it became part of the Brisbane City Council. Hamilton Town Hall built in 1920 still stands in Racecourse Road and is now a library and community hall.
Hamilton Hill was originally farms but after the floods of 1890/93, wealthy families built impressive homes on this higher ground, with sweeping views of the river and Moreton Bay breezes. Many of these grand homes (Victorian Georgian, colonial, Queenslander, Tudor) still exist.
1925 saw these large properties subdivided into smaller allotments and residential growth increased helped by improved public transport.
Originally this area was thickly forested. The initial grant of 320 acres to establish a racetrack in 1863 meant that racegoers caught only occasional glimpses of the horses. Horse racing was one of the colony’s earliest sports and the name Ascot was given to the suburb as a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ reference to the prestigious racing hub in England.
1882 saw the railway extended to Eagle Farm Racecourse at Ascot, followed by the first horse-drawn tram service.
In 1941 military authorities took over the racecourse, then known as Camp Ascot, to house thousands of American troops in tents.
Racecourse Road was the village shops for the suburbs of Ascot and Hamilton, and up until the 1960s trams (which ran down the centre of the street) were a popular form of public transport.
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