Thirty years of chronicles

A community group dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of New Farm is about to mark a milestone of its own.

The New Farm and Districts Historical Society turns 30 this year and members are keen for local residents to join in the celebrations.

Society President Desley Garnett said the society had its beginnings in February 1994 after then-Councillor David Hinchliffe organised a history walk around New Farm of about 40 interested people. The society officially met for the first time in June that year.

Society stalwarts: Past president Ross Garnett, Jim MacDonald whose memory of living in New Farm stretches back 85 years, Austin Adams who videos the meetings and Stuart Wallace, the “AV guy”

Early meetings were held at members’ homes, in the New Farm Library and in the Ron Muir Room next to the library before growing numbers saw them relocate to the Merthyr Road Uniting Church Centre in February 2009.

Mrs Garnett said the society promoted an understanding of the area’s history and its evolution from one of Brisbane’s earliest colonial settlements.

“From the start, we’ve been passionate about preserving and celebrating the rich and vibrant history of New Farm, Teneriffe, Newstead, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills,” she said.

Mrs Garnett said the society had grown to become one of Brisbane’s largest historical groups, known for its lively meetings, knowledgeable guest speakers, guided walks and published histories.

The society has more than 250 members and around 100 people regularly attend monthly meetings, which are recorded and available to watch online.

“Our thirtieth birthday is an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come, and to plan for the future,” Mrs Garnett said.

“We’re keen to build on our past successes and encourage more people to become involved.”

President Desley Garnett and historian Gerard Benjamin, newsletter editor for 11 years, holding the Society’s first newsletter from November 1994

The society’s first meeting for the year will be held on Saturday, February 24. Several community events to mark the society’s birthday will be announced over coming months.

Information about society membership and activities is available at

The Village Voice is pleased to help promote the society’s activities during the lead up to their 30th birthday in June.

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