ASHGROVE FACT SHEET:
1. I was born in ASHGROVE. Yep, in the actual suburb, in what used to be a small private hospital, but is now a block of flats. Naturally I petitioned the State Government to have a bronze plaque erected there. No luck. I’m just another victim of the recent crazy budget cut-backs.
2. The name ASHGROVE comes from two non-aboriginal words ASH and GROVE which roughly translate to ‘BIRTHPLACE OF LEGENDS’.
3. As well as being born there, I also grew up in ASHGROVE, went to primary and secondary school there, taught there, met my wife there, (moved out for a few years when first married), moved back there with our young family, taught there again but in a different school, sent both kids to primary and secondary schools there, wrote my first book there and also set my first book there. (Currently we live in the neighbouring suburb but if I go to the end of our street I can still see the ‘ASHGROVE’ sign so that’s all right then.)
4. ASHGROVE is the only Brisbane suburb to have a style of house named after it. Not surprisingly it’s called ‘THE ASHGROVIAN’. No other Brisbane suburb has this honour. Search as you will, you won’t find any Kedronians or Cooparoooians or even Woollongabbaians.
5. As far as houses go some people can’t tell the difference between an ASHGROVIAN and a QUEENSLANDER. These people are just being fools to themselves and burdens to society!
6. Traditional classic ASHGROVIANS were built up on stilts with open verandahs (see image below) and featured a mythical area beneath referred to in hushed tones as ‘under the house’. This is the ASHGROVE equivalent of Narnia or Middle Earth.
7. In order to distinguish one Ashgrovian house from another and avoid confusion , it is a common practice to plant a palm tree in your front yard. That way you can say, “I live in the old Ashgrovian in Blue Tongue Crescent – the one with the palm tree in the front yard.”
Of course if there is already an Ashgrovian with a palm tree in its front yard in your street, then you have to go that little bit further …
Just try to avoid going overboard …
8. Enoggera Creek runs through ASHGROVE. I don’t know why. It just does.
9. Back in the day, ASHGROVE, like the rest of Brisbane, used to have Trams.
(That advertising on the side of the tram reminds me that when I was a student as Marist Brothers in ASHGROVE one of the Brothers had a short, thick, heavy, platted leather strap he used to hurl at kids who were mucking up or not paying attention. He called the strap ‘Aspro’ because he reckoned ‘it worked two and a quarter times faster’. Those Marist Brothers were funny guys! Until someone lost an eye or suffered brain damage. )
10. For people who know my books: In the photo below, the street on the left is ASHGROVE Ave, the street the Running Man runs down. And where that car is parked used to be Mr Cousins’ store. Across the road is the Vets where Corey takes Mr Moe in Just a Dog. And the street that goes down to the right is where both Corey and Joseph from The Running Man would have lived. It’s also the street (Holmesbrook St) where I grew up.
11. A nice thing about living in ASHGROVE is that wherever you go you can usually see Taylor Range and the TV station towers up on Mount Coo-tha. It’s very comforting and reassuring to be reminded that no matter what problems you might have, there will always be television.
12. In the old, old days that I can just barely remember, ASHGROVE (along with other Brisbane suburbs) used to get visited by the Rat Patrol and the Rat Men would bring along their very excitable and efficient Rat Dogs to hunt for … wait for it … RATS! Now THAT’S entertainment! Afterwards there would be a big fry up and a street party along with a human sacrifice to appease the Rat God. (Not completely sure about that last fact. Could be an urban myth.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this nostalgic and educational trip through god’s own suburb.