Bracken Ridge, my old stomping ground and a fantastic community that I’m proud to represent!







Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (19:45): I have been thinking a little bit about Bracken Ridge, the suburb where I grew up. I spoke a little last week about the history of Redcliffe after a visit to the Redcliffe Museum with my sons. It was an excellent trip down memory lane, and I want to congratulate the Redcliffe Historical Society, which is celebrating 50 years, for capturing life on the peninsula since its modern beginnings.

It reminded me of my childhood—great mates and carefree days spent pretty much running amok in Bracken Ridge, as you do. Bracken Ridge was my first home. It is just across the bridge from my electorate office and is a place with which I feel fortunate to retain strong ties. As the member for Petrie, I have the privilege of representing the people of Bracken Ridge. It is a relatively young community, with the median age sitting shy of the nation’s average. It is home to lots of young families who seek the city’s outskirts for a range of reasons, including being in Brisbane City Council with a little more space, a bit further out from the heart of the city, with a little less hustle than you get right in the centre and with the charm and support of the community fibre.

Just 18 kilometres north of Brisbane’s CBD, Bracken Ridge was gazetted as a suburb in 1962. Prior to that, it was known as Bald Hills, another great suburb in the Petrie electorate. 2016 marked 150 years since the Scottish moved in, with the first record of settlers dating back to 1866—with, of course, Indigenous people before that. Among the first families were the Fergusons, whose family tree includes Kristine Herron, who has devoted countless hours to compiling a comprehensive history of the area. I know Kristine well. She was a local real estate agent and businesswoman in Bracken Ridge, and she has done incredible work on the history of Bracken Ridge. I sincerely thank her. You might like to look up her Facebook page, ‘Memories of Bracken Ridge’. Her research contributes the most comprehensive bank of information on Bracken Ridge that I am aware of, and it is a fascinating insight into what was my first home.

My memories of growing up in Bracken Ridge are something that I treasure. I grew up in Toolang Street, and I remember walking down to the shops there with my mate Ivan, who lived across the road, or down to McPherson Park. In 1979 I walked past the Bracken Ridge Scout Hall, and there was a judo class going on there, and I started to do judo back in 1979 at the Bracken Ridge Scout Hall. It is still there, going strong. We managed to get them some solar panels for their roof. I remember racing billycarts down Wangarah Street. We used to call Wangarah Street the killer hill because my mate’s sister Natalie fell off and injured her face. She is looking good now; don’t worry. I remember gardening with Dad. We would often dig up horseshoes and things out of the garden. I remember the Santa sleighs and the old milk bottles, when the milkman used to come around and you would leave 50c out the front for your milk. I remember burning rubbish with Dad in the incinerator in the backyard, when it did not matter; you could put ash over your neighbour’s clothes. I remember cricket on the front lawn; I remember hitting fours straight into Mrs Gardner’s house, and she would come out and go off at us. They were good, carefree days in Bracken Ridge. I moved to Talgai Street, and I remember training in the local hills, running up different hills there and doing lots of training there. So I have fond memories, particularly of Christmas, when the Christmas beetles would come out and you would get this great Christmas smell.

The Bracken Ridge Tavern these days is pretty flash and, thanks to the passion and hard work of owners Jenny and Michael White, it is one of the last independent taverns or pubs in Australia. It is a place where you can get a feed and be in good company. The tavern recently hosted the Treasurer and the Minister for Small Business for a small business forum, but in the old days they had people like Wickety Wak and they used to run a public bar called the Rum Jungle down there; that was pretty rough. These days, of course, we have local sushi, and there is a McDonald’s and a whole lot of other things in Bracken Ridge. But it really is a great suburb. I remember the circus at the park next door to Bracken Ridge; the elephants were in the park and they would go across to the creek and have a bath and all the rest of it. Those were the days, right? Memories of Bracken Ridge!

But, seriously: Bracken Ridge is home to 733 businesses that put food on the tables for the workers they employ. I am proud to be part of this federal government that is supporting those businesses and investing in the community I call home.

When we talk here in the House may we never forget: it is not about political point-scoring; it is about the people, and I represent the people of Bracken Ridge.