blog 41: In which I reveal TWELVE surprising FACTS about the suburb of ASHGROVE.


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.   



This is the Old Ashgrovian that I grew up in (since repainted) showing a glimpse into the magical kingdom of ‘under the house’. One day I also will be an old Ashgrovian. It’s the circle of life!

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.


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14 Responses to blog 41: In which I reveal TWELVE surprising FACTS about the suburb of ASHGROVE.

  1. Robyn Burke says:

    Hi Michael,
    I met you at Ashgrove SS the other month. I gave my daughter the book of The Running Man in 2005. She was scared of it! Maybe because it struck a cord. I took it with me on holiday this week and read it today as I travelled. I loved it. Having lived in Ashgrove for the best part of 28 years, it struck a cord….so i found this husband was also born in Ashgrove Hospital…but more importantly, I pictured Mr Cousins store as the one you have shown on the photos…i loved your book and my husband now has it ….i think he will be as i was..


    • mgbauer says:

      Hi Robyn
      Thanks for writing. I remember our meeting. So glad you enjoyed TRM. I hope your husband does as well. Really enjoyed my time at Ashgrove SS. Hopefully I’ll get to return in the future.


  2. Debbie says:

    Just read through your blog about Ashgrove….reminded me of a house I used to rent along with my sisters in 1996. It was 171 Waterworks Rd, and it still had the old tennis court, gardens and what seemed like a small church/school room in the back corner of the block. Now it has a Floation business in the house and another 4 houses new houses built on the block 😦
    My kids were scared of the ‘under the house’ maybe because I told ghost stories to keep them out of there….who knows 🙂 Thanks again for the great read.


    • mgbauer says:

      Thanks Debbie
      I’ll have to check exactly where that is next time I’m on WW Road. In 1996 I would have been teaching at Marist Brothers and living just off WW road in Hawthorne Avenue.


  3. Pingback: blog 41: In which I reveal TWELVE surprising FACTS about the suburb of ASHGROVE. | Australian Children's Authors |

  4. From one Ashgrovian to another, Michael, you’ve covered our suburb with great perspicacity and finesse. Just climbing back on my office chair because you’ve made me fall of it laughing. 🙂
    And we’ll ignore the fact that over 50% of voters in Ashgrove just voted in the most narrow-minded politician since Jo Bjelke-Petersen – obviously these Ashgrovians are not as enlightened as thee and me, MIchael!


  5. Cathy says:

    You could add one of the painted version as well!


  6. Elaine says:

    I used to own and Ashgrovian but it was in Rocky so it must have been transplanted.


  7. Dimity Powell says:

    Enlightenment courses through my veins. Ah sweet relief. So glad to receive. No. 11 most salient. The sun always shines on TV. And apparently unfailingly in Ashgrove.


  8. Tanya says:

    You should write a book about ‘Under The House’… 🙂


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