Exploring Irish Heritage: Toowong Cemetery Tour for St Patrick’s Day

In preparation for St Patrick’s Day festivities, the Queensland Irish Association has joined hands with Friends of Toowong Cemetery to present an enriching Irish History Tour. 

Read: Stalled Development at Toowong Site Sparks Community Debate

Scheduled for Sunday, 10 March 2024 10:00 a.m., the guided tour promises an insightful walk through the final resting places of notable Irish figures, including founding members of the Queensland Irish Association. 

Participants can anticipate captivating narratives during the two-hour exploration. Attendees are advised to wear comfortable, enclosed shoes and attire suitable for the weather. The meeting point is set at the flagpole located at the Frederick Street/main entrance to the cemetery. Parking is available within the cemetery premises, with convenient bus stops nearby. 

Donations in cash are welcomed on the day to support the preservation efforts of Friends of Toowong Cemetery.

St Patrick’s Day Parade Participation

As the countdown to St Patrick’s Day begins, preparations are also underway for the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade, slated for Saturday, 16 March 2024 10:30 am. 

The Queensland Irish Association extends an open invitation to all enthusiasts willing to partake in the parade and represent the Association. Participants will be honoured to march behind the QIA float, carrying none other than Saint Patrick himself.

Photo Credit: Queensland Irish Association

Those interested can simply assemble at the City Botanical Gardens on Alice Street gates from 10:00 a.m. onwards on the event day.

Grand St Patrick’s Eve Dinner at Brisbane City Hall

Mark your calendars for the most anticipated St Patrick’s Day celebration event – the St Patrick’s Eve Dinner hosted by the Queensland Irish Association at the grand Main Auditorium of the Brisbane City Hall. Members are encouraged to secure their spots early for the event, which promises an unforgettable evening filled with merriment and tradition. 

Priced at $160 per person, the dinner includes a generous five-hour drinks package featuring beer, Guinness, red and white wines, and soft drinks, served from 6 pm to 11 pm.

Guests will also indulge in a delectable three-course dinner, courtesy of Epicure at Brisbane City Hall, accompanied by lively entertainment provided by the QIA Dancers and the Queensland Irish Association Pipe Band. 

The event will feature a toast to Australia Our Nation proposed by Father Frank Brennan SJ AO, alongside esteemed Irish and Australian guests. The evening will culminate in a heartwarming community sing-along of Irish favourites. 

For booking enquiries, email stpatricksevedinner@hotmail.com 

About the Queensland Irish Association

The Queensland Irish Association (QIA) traces its roots to March 23rd, 1898, emerging from the collective resignation of Irish volunteers in response to government interference. Led by former commandant Major PJ Stephens, ex-members joined forces with the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society to establish the association, embodying the principles of its predecessors.

Despite facing financial challenges and declining membership during wars and economic downturns, the QIA remains Queensland’s longest continuously operating national association. Non-sectarian and non-political from its inception, the QIA aims to unite Irish individuals and their descendants, fostering national freedom and community.

Over its century-long existence, membership has evolved to include women and has expanded to encompass various cultural activities such as a library, pipe band, dancers, singers, and theatre groups. The association hosts annual dinners and events, attracting prominent figures including Irish presidents and ambassadors.

Today, the QIA continues to be a beacon of Irish culture and heritage, guided by the vision of its founding fathers and embraced by Irish Australians who uphold its traditions. Stay connected to the QIA to celebrate Irish identity and heritage.

Make your Date with the UFC 298 and Alexander Volkanovski in Toowong

The latest blood-fest that is UFC 298 gets underway this Sunday, the 18th of February, with Aussie Alexander Volkanovski defending his Featherweight Title against the unbeaten Ilia Topuria from Germany, at the Honda Center in California, to be beamed live into the RE Hotel in Toowong from 1:00 p.m. Brisbane time.

Volkanovski was the first Aussie to win a UFC championship and has had 5 successful title defences.

Volkanovski likes to go long. His average fight time is 17 minutes, 40 seconds, which is the longest average in the Featherweight Division. His 57.1% “significant strike accuracy” is third on the all time list in the Division.

However, Topuria’s 67.4% “significant strike defense” is third on the all time list in the division and his record of 0.81 knockdowns for every 15 minutes of fighting ranks sixth of all time in the division, with his 1.62 submissions per 15 minutes ranking seventh on the all-time list in the Division.

This fight could be one for the ages.

The UFC 298 main card also features another Aussie, former UFC Middleweight Champion, Robert Whittaker who fights Paulo Costa from Brazil in the Middleweight Division. Whittaker is knocking on the door of another title challenge in his current ranking at #3, Costa is ranked #6.

UFC 298

Whittaker has landed 7 knockdowns in his fight history but “The Eraser” will be in his grill early in his return to the Octagon after a two-year absence. In his last fight in 2021, he turned up 25 pounds over the middleweight limit.

This fight was supposed to take place last February 12, but a contract dispute means it will happen instead this Sunday, shown live on the big screen at the RE Hotel from 1:00 p.m. Toowong time.

Stalled Development at Toowong Site Sparks Community Debate

A once-promising redevelopment project in Toowong has become the centre of community and council discussions following years of inaction and controversy. 

The site at 23 High St, once the home of a Woolworths store and was earmarked for transformation into a vibrant hub with various amenities, remains undeveloped, causing widespread discontent among residents.

Originally slated to feature a mix of retail, office spaces, and green areas, the project, dubbed the Aviary, has been marred by delays and cancellations. 

Concerns have been raised about the Brisbane City Council’s decisions regarding the development, including the waiver of green space requirements and alleged breaches of development application (DA) conditions.

A History of Disappointment

“We’ve been waiting to see whether the new owners lodge a DA, but we just learned they’re apparently asking Council for a licence to keep stalling – and have potentially been breaching their DA conditions for years,” Greens MP Michael Berkman said

“It turns out that a very minor condition that Council imposed on the developers, to cover the site with grass within 3 months of demolition, was too much for them to comply with. They’ve now lodged a change application that effectively allows them to ignore this requirement and keep the site as they see fit indefinitely.

“Council already ditched the plans for a park at this site from their long-term infrastructure plan, waived the requirement for the developer to deliver greenspace nearby, and have apparently let the owners sit in breach for years.”

Response and Engagement

In response to the growing frustration, a local council member emphasised the city’s commitment to dialogues with the new site owners, who acquired the property three months ago. 

“The new owner has only recently taken over the property 3 months ago and was not responsible for what occurred on site before this,” Cr Penny Wolff responded.

“Council has outlined their concerns regarding their non-compliance with the conditions of their approval in terms of the site condition and fencing.

“In late December 2023, the new owner made an application to Council to change that condition of their approval and that is currently being assessed by Council.

“The new owner wants to genuinely engage and shares the need to make the site look even better and useful while design/development plans are being completed.” 

Residents may check DA A006427990 for the details.  

23 High St Toowong
Photo Credit: DA A006427990

Future Visions

Meanwhile, the debate has also attracted attention from urban planning experts and residents, who have expressed mixed feelings about the development’s direction.

DA A006427990
Photo Credit: DA A006427990

Some applaud the vision for revitalising Toowong but criticise the plan’s emphasis on parking facilities over more sustainable transportation options. Others, including local businesses, argue that the development could provide much-needed retail and public spaces, potentially boosting the local economy and community life.

As discussions continue, the future of the Toowong site hangs in the balance, with calls for a development approach that aligns with community values, environmental considerations, and the suburb’s overall needs. The council’s next steps and the developer’s plans remain keenly anticipated by those invested in the suburb’s development trajectory.

Published 2-Feb-2024

Monarch Residences in Toowong: Completion of Earthworks on Coronation Drive

Earthworks at Monarch Residences, a 1.2-hectare project along Coronation Drive in Toowong that has been called Brisbane’s best-performing project in the latest Urbis report, are now finished, pushing the project one step closer to completion.

With $300 million locked in sales, the project will ultimately comprise 224 apartments and penthouse residences spread across two imposing towers. The development includes a suite of facilities including a riverside pool, gym, sauna, and an expansive rooftop terrace.

Monarch Residences
Photo Credit: Monarch Residences

Recent developments have seen the successful completion of earthworks at Monarch Residences, reaching the basement level. This paved the way for both towers, named River 1 and River 2, to rise from the ground in the first half of 2024. The simultaneous construction of these towers is expected to culminate in the entire project’s completion by the end of 2025.

Photo Credit: Monarch Residences
Photo Credit: Monarch Residences

Don O’Rorke, Chairman, and CEO of Consolidated Properties Group, attributes the project’s swift progress to strong buyer demand for larger riverfront apartments and the unwavering capability of Hutchinson Builders. Past the holiday season and the New Year, sales have surged, particularly for River 2, where fewer than 10 residences remain available for purchase.

Scott Hutchinson, Chairman of Hutchinson Builders, reports that the construction site continues to be very active. This number is expected to double during peak construction phases. 

Published 3-Jan-2023

Toowong Heroes Remembered: Unveiling Commemorative Plaques for Veterans

Researchers at the Australian Remembrance Army, with the support of the ‘Unmarked WW1 Graves Program’ of the Department of Veterans Affairs, have completed a massive undertaking, as hundreds of veterans who were laid to rest in unmarked graves have now been identified and commemorated with plaques at Lutwyche Cemetery.

Cate Walker and Katrina Trevethan from the Australian Remembrance Army conducted hours of painstaking research to identify and determine each individual serviceman’s origins, their service background, and military accomplishments.

The Toowong RSL Sub Branch lauded and expressed support and commitment for the initiative in an official unveiling ceremony held at the cemetery in September.

Honouring the Unsung Heroes

Australian Remembrance Army researchers and RSL officers
Kenmore-Moggill RSL Sub Branch member Chris Moon, Australian Remembrance Army researchers Cate Walker and Katrina Trevethan
with Toowong RSL Sub Branch President Peter Gow (Photo credit: rslqld.org)

Toowong RSL Sub Branch President, Peter Gow, expressed the passion behind this project, emphasising the significance of recognising veterans who selflessly served Australia.

“This project symbolises our commitment to encouraging commemoration and honouring the service and sacrifice of those who fought for the freedom that we enjoy today,” he said. 

Gow further emphasised the importance of the commemorative plaques, which now allow the service history of these veterans to be seen by generations to come.

Uncovering Remarkable Stories

The unveiling ceremony at Lutwyche Cemetery was a profound occasion that shed light on the extraordinary stories behind these veterans.

In this cohort, 203 veterans were born in Australia, while 98 hailed from various countries around the world. 

Two veterans were awarded a Military Medal, one received the distinguished Military Cross, and another was bestowed with a Meritorious Service Medal.

Remembering the Sacrifice

As Remembrance Day approaches, it’s vital to commemorate the sacrifices made by veterans. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks the moment when the guns fell silent on the Western Front after World War I, signifying the end of bloodshed. This day has been adopted globally to honour those who served and sacrificed in all wars and conflicts.

The legacy of veterans can be kept alive by participating in Remembrance Day services, taking a moment of reflection in silence, wearing a poppy, or supporting the veteran community. It’s a time for the city and the nation to come together in remembrance.

Attend a service, wear a poppy, or observe a minute’s silence at 11am, and help keep the legacy of our service people alive. Lest we forget.

RSL Queensland

Budget Cuts Force Pause on Toowong to West End Green Bridge and Victoria Bridge Project

BCC will undergo a series of cost-cutting measures to address a forecast budget blowout of approximately $400 million, impacting the already delayed Toowong to West End Green Bridge, which will be paused indefinitely.

Also affected by the cut is the shading of Victoria Bridge, part of the Brisbane Metro project, a stage that’s estimated at $5 million. This significant spending reduction, equating to a 10 per cent reduction in Council expenditure, comes just three months after the 2023-2024 budget was unveiled in June this year.  

Rising Costs Prompt Immediate Spending Cuts

The decision to reduce the budget by $400 million aims to tackle soaring construction costs, labour, materials, goods, and services, which have put pressure on Council’s financial resources. This move seeks to keep future rate increases in check and maintain affordability for residents as the city heads into an election year.

Brisbane City Council will implement a range of austerity measures to achieve these savings. For instance, the public art component of the Brisbane Metro project will be delayed. Advertising, travel, consultants, and councillor ward budgets will also be reduced. 

However, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner assured that there would be no forced layoffs among permanent Council employees, although contractors may face uncertainty.

Green Bridge

Citywide Impact and Concerns

The budget cut will have far-reaching consequences, potentially jeopardising various projects or increasing their costs. The specifics of how these cuts will affect services and projects, including roads and footpaths, have not been disclosed, leading to concerns among opposition parties and residents. 

Opposition leader Jared Cassidy criticised the lack of transparency in revealing which projects would be impacted, emphasizing that residents should not have to wait for months to discover how their local services might be affected.

Mr Schrinner defended the budget cut as a necessary corrective action to avoid future rate rises, highlighting the increasing costs faced by the council. He cited rising expenses in areas such as fuel, electricity, bitumen, and construction as key reasons behind the decision. Mr Schrinner maintained that essential services like waste collection, buses, and ferries would remain unaffected.

“Households right across the city are tightening their belts and it’s only fair governments do too,” Mr Schrinner said

“Today I’m announcing a Council-wide 10% savings drive amid the global inflation and cost-of-living crisis.

“What we’re doing will put downward pressure on future rates compared to the uncontrolled spending we see at other levels of government that will only lead to pain for households.

“This is the kind of responsible decision-making Brisbane residents expect so we can maintain the lowest rates in South East Queensland.”

Future Implications and Challenges

The revised budget is expected to be released by the end of November, just a few months before Brisbane ratepayers go to the polls in March 2024.

Global inflation has played a substantial role in driving up construction costs, causing budget revisions and project delays. Fiona Cunningham, chair for finance in Brisbane civic cabinet, explained that continuing to spend without addressing these rising costs would result in future rate hikes for residents, an outcome the Council is determined to avoid.

“While some proposed projects may be paused, the majority will be delivered on time however council officers will be working hard over coming months to descope and remove unnecessary costs,” Ms Cunningham said.  

Published 18-Oct-2023

Continental Butcher and Delicatessen Shuts Down Amid Rising Costs

After two and a half years of offering Toowong residents a taste of Europe through high-end meats and gourmet deli delights, Continental Butcher and Delicatessen shuts down. Rising living costs have taken their toll.

Owned by Flemming Jakobsen, who brings a wealth of international butchery experience, and his wife Lina Kasjan, this unique establishment prided itself on crafting old-fashioned charcuterie, using natural spices and grass-fed beef for that distinctive taste.

Photo Credit: Continental Butcher and Delicatessen

Lina shared their regretful decision, “We’re very sad to be leaving. The last six months have been quiet due to the cost of living; nobody has money to spend on this kind of food.”

The local community had warmly embraced this gourmet gem. Regulars came from as far as the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, and the shop was next to a renowned restaurant and French pâtisserie, adding to the vibrant culinary scene.

Customers took to social media to express their support and sadness. One remarked, “I’ll miss the best leverpostej (Danish liver pate) outside of Denmark.” Another shared, “Thank you so much for providing us with such delicious and delightful Danish food; I wish you great health and abundance going forward.”

As for what’s next, Lina and Flemming are exploring the idea of having a food truck, eager to continue sharing their culinary creations with the community.

Published 25-September-2023

Cyclist Sought for Questioning in Five-Year Car Scratching Spree along Sylvan Rd in Toowong

Police are intensifying efforts to identify and locate a cyclist believed to be a person of interest in a series of car-scratching incidents that have plagued Sylvan Road in Toowong for the past five years. 

The picturesque road, a favourite among cyclists as it connects two significant bikeways, has been marred by over 20 cases of vehicular damage.

Authorities are urging residents and car owners who have parked their vehicles on Sylvan Road since 2018 to come forward if their cars have been scratched. This plea for information comes as investigators strive to gather any and all leads related to the case.

Sylvan Rd
Sylvan Rd

“Initial information indicates vehicles parked along Sylvan Road have been scratched along the side in a series of incidents since 2018,” shared the police in a recent statement. The deliberate act of scratching vehicles has led to numerous wilful damage reports, leaving car owners both perplexed and frustrated by the ongoing issue. 

In a potential breakthrough, law enforcement officials have released photographs of an individual they seek to question regarding the spate of car scratching occurrences. The man, who is often seen cycling in the vicinity, is deemed a person of interest who “may be able to assist with ongoing investigations,” according to the police statement.

Authorities are actively seeking assistance from the public to identify the individual in question. Anyone who recognizes the cyclist or possesses any relevant information is urged to come forward to aid in the ongoing investigation.

Report crime information anonymously via Crime Stoppers. Call 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestoppersqld.com.au.

Published 22-Aug-2023

Fitstop Brings Own Brand of Fitness to Toowong

Fitstop, a popular functional fitness franchise with over 100 locations across Australia, has officially opened in Toowong.

Fitstop’s new tenancy, specially constructed to meet their needs, officially opened on 27 May 2023.

The fitness guru’s long-term lease commitment adds to the growing list of tenants at the commercial building owned by Helmsman Invest on 530 Milton Rd.

“This site offers us superb exposure and superior car parking for our members. We were attracted to the building as the car parking is located right beside the club, providing our customers with the most convenient access,” Luke Beauchamp, a representative from Fitstop, said.

Mr Beauchamp also highlighted the added convenience for Fitstop’s members due to the nearby Cat and Fiddle Deli Café and other retail shops directly opposite Milton Road.

In addition to the prime location and convenience factors, Fitstop is also looking forward to the building refurbishment undertaken by Helmsman Invest, which will ensure members have a classy building to visit.

Helmsman Invest purchased the building in September 2022 and immediately began planning a comprehensive revitalisation project. The refurbishment aims to transform the property into a modern and attractive space for its tenants and visitors alike.

Bernie McKeering, the Managing Director of Helmsman Invest, expressed his delight at securing Fitstop on a long-term lease.

“Fitstop has become a serious brand in the fitness industry, and we are delighted to have secured them for our property,” he said.

Mr McKeering also highlighted the ongoing success of Arthur Conias Real Estate, which operates a successful agency over part levels one and two of the building, and has also signed a new long-term lease.

The refurbishment plans for the building are well underway, with landscaping improvements, a fresh paint job, new tenant signage, and enhanced shopfronts being part of the renovation project. The iconic awning structure at the front of the property will be retained but undergo a remodel to enhance its appeal.

The 530 Milton Rd property already boasts other popular tenants, including the Bangkok Milton Restaurant and the Toowong Fish Market.

Published 19-June-2023

Legends Lunch in Toowong: Laughter, Secrets, and Bucket List Dreams Come True

The Legends Lunch hosted by Triple M Brisbane was certainly one for the books. With NRL greats such as Gorden Tallis and Wendell Sailor, football and TV legend Paul “Fatty” Vautin, and the King himself, Wally Lewis, all in attendance, it was a capacity crowd at the Regatta Hotel in Toowong.

Hosted by Dan Anstey and Liam Flanagan, the lunch was a riot of laughter and inside stories, with Margaux Parker and Greg “Marto” Martin also holding court. Even phones were confiscated before the lunch, with Mr Sailor being caught shedding a tear as his was taken away.

But it wasn’t just all laughs and legends. The event also had a special bucket list surprise for one lucky attendee. Jo Boon, a big footy fan and acute care nurse who is fighting motor neuron disease (MND), had always dreamed of meeting Mr Vautin. That became a reality at the Legends Lunch.

Legends Lunch
Photo Credit: Supplied

Following her MND diagnosis in October 2019, Ms. Boon’s life shifted within a matter of weeks. She quickly became unable to speak and then developed muscle aches and cramps that impacted her mobility. Despite battling MND, she managed to raise money for MND Queensland for three years and counting, and has been an inspiration to others.

It was a heartwarming moment that reminded everyone of the power of sport and the importance of making someone’s day a little bit brighter. Plus, to top off an already unforgettable event, the musical guest was none other than ARIA Music Hall of Famer Ian Moss.

It’s safe to say that the Legends Lunch is now on the bucket list of every Triple M listener in Brisbane, and who knows what surprises they’ll have in store next year.

Published 6-May-2023