Whinstanes: From Hamlet to Suburb to Hamilton Locality

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Whinstanes was once a small settlement near the Eagle Farm racecourse, bounded by College St, all the way to the former Eagle Farm Rd, now known as Kingsford Smith Dr in Hamilton. 

The hamlet was named after the grand Whinstanes House, which was built in 1886 for A.B. Webster, a Scotsman and a pioneering merchant of Brisbane and founder of Webster and Co. with his brother.  

Whinstanes House
Whinstanes House in the 1920s
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

Whinstanes House was the site of many social gatherings in its hey day, once even holding a ball in honour of HRH The Prince of Wales as its most distinguished guest during his visit to Queensland in the 1920s, after World War I.  

A.B. Webster lived in Whinstanes House with his wife and children until his death in 1923.

Mr AB Webster Death
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

Whinstanes Suburb

Despite its size, Whinstanes had its own public facilities. In 1897, the post office was constructed and remained active until 1945. Large industries, farmers and small business owners along Kingsford Smith Dr, Woonah Ave, and Eagle Farm were registered in the post office directory.

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Around the same time as the post office’s establishment, the Whinstanes railway station was opened to extend to the Pinkenba station. In the 1970s,  the Whinstanes railway station was merged with Doomben. One can still see traces of its former identity in the existing railway line today.

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Whinstanes Train
Train lines of Brisbane, 1970s
Photo Credit: Eswood Shawn/Facebook

School Days

Eventually, the nine-acre house was sold to the Sisters of Sacred Heart and became a boy’s boarding school known as the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, originally based in Corinda.

Whinstanes College
Whinstanes College
Photo Credit: Brenda Koster/Facebook

However, by the 1940s, the sisters were asked to relocate the school as it was close to major petrol storage sites that have been declared danger zones near the Brisbane River. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart established their new home in Freneau Park. 

Whinstanes College Transfer
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia


During World War II, Whinstanes was transformed into Camp Whinstanes and was used by the U.S. Army, specifically as a headquarters for the Medical Detachment and Company “B” and “C” of the 738th Military Police Battalion. Company “C” also had a detachment at Camp Lafayette nearby, which was a prison stockade.  A few years later, Company “A” and “D” were also active at Camp Whinstanes. 

After the war, the Augustinian Fathers bought the property to establish Villanova College. The school operated at the site until 1953, when the Augustinian Fathers resold the property to pursue their plans to move to Coorparoo. Villanova College has since relocated to Coorparoo.

The next owners of the site were developers who demolished the property to build industries and factories.

Today, the former hamlet turned tiny suburb is a Hamilton locality, the site of the City Motor Group near TAFE Eagle Farm and the BP Whinstanes Terminal.