200-year-old Moreton Bay Fig Tree In Clayfield Suspected To Be Poisoned

Locals fear that a giant Moreton Bay fig tree on Enderley Road in Clayfield, estimated to be 200 years old, may have been poisoned.

Read: Clayfield: Revisiting the Historical Places That Made This Suburb Great

This comes after nearby residents noticed that the Moreton bay fig tree, located at the corner of Crombie Street and Enderley Road, has been experiencing a sudden decline, and has been looking unhealthy since last 2021.

A resident, who wishes to be unanimous, claimed that nature officers examined the soil and though official results were not shared, allegedly found herbicide residues.

Whilst neighbours believe the tree had been poisoned, an arborist refuted such claims and said the tree looks like they have dead leaves that haven’t dropped off, which isn’t an indication of herbicide damage.

When a tree is poisoned, the arborist said, the leaves suddenly fall. If it’s confirmed to be a case of poisoning, the arborist from Brisbane Trees and Gardens assured it can still be saved, since most poisons are biodegradable. Normally, flushing the soil is an effective measure.

Moreton Bay fig tree
Photo credit: Google Street View

Regarding the issue, City Standards Chair Kim Marx stated that any interference with the trees was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

Under the Brisbane City Council’s Natural Assets Local Law 2003, natural assets including bushland areas, wetlands, waterway corridors and trees in urban areas should be protected.

Marx said Council is working to save the Moreton Bay fig tree, by trimming it and using specialised techniques to get rid of the herbicide from the soil. Council officers will also closely monitor the tree.

Read: St Rita’s College Clayfield: Where and How It All Began

Meanwhile, a sign will be placed in the area asking the community to provide information to help them find those responsible. Residents can report interference with protected vegetation online if they suspect vegetation has been cleared or damaged unlawfully.

Enderley Road Heritage Precinct: From Pineapple Farms to Clayfield’s Best Street

The Enderley Road heritage precinct in Clayfield has heritage homes that epitomise the alluring and enduring characteristics of well-designed houses from the 1890s to the 1930s. Did you know that the area was once a pineapple farm? Here’s a look back on how one of Clayfield’s best streets metamorphosed into the neighbourhood of choice of some of Brisbane’s most influential people over the years.

Oliver Jonker

Development started in Enderley Road upon its purchase by Deed of Grant around the 1850s. Properties were subdivided and sold for farming pineapple and producing dairy, or as a semi-rural retreat for privileged families.

Photo Credit: Nundah & Districts Historical Society Inc.

Stanley Hall

One of the first grand houses to be built on Enderley Road was Stanley Hall in the 1880s for produce dealer John William Forth, who had 10 children with his wife Selina. The Forths, however, lived in the house for a short period only following the death of one of their daughters and Mr Forth.

Stanley Hall
Photo Credit: Queensland State Library  

The mansion was turned over to Herbert Hunter, a family friend, pastoralist, grazier, and horse racing enthusiast. Stanley Hall appealed to him not only because of the house’s architecture but for its proximity to the racecourse at Eagle Farm. Mr Hunter did subsequent redevelopments to the house but he eventually sold the property to pastoralist and racehorse owner Edward Goddard Blume in 1910. 

Mr Blume subdivided most of Stanley Hall, with 4.5 acres going to the Order of the Sisters of the Presentation. The sisters built the St. Rita’s Convent on the land in 1926. Nearly a decade later, the sisters expanded and built a school that has thrived until today. 

Stanley Hall, now St. Rita’s College, is in the Queensland Government’s Heritage Listing


Ralahyne on 40 Enderley Road was built in 1888 for Robert Gray, then the colonial secretary, by architect George HM Addison. Mr Gray, who became the Commissioner of Railways,  lived in the house until his death in 1902.

The home changed owners several times following the death of the public figure until Henrietta Watson bought the house in the 1920s. Ralahyne remained with the Watson family until 1985, when it was bought by private owners. 

Ralahyne is also in the Queensland Government’s Heritage Listing

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council Library

The Lynton house on 58 Enderley Road, constructed in 1918 for Gilbert Lees, covered three-quarters of an acre of the Ralahyne property. This land was further subdivided into blocks of houses in the 1950s.

Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC

Second Wave of Development

Aside from Stanley Hall and Ralahyne, three other properties stood out in Enderley Road in the early 1900s:  Huntington, Fortland, and Stanwraith but only the latter remained in the modern times. Stanwraith, constructed in 1901 on 32 Enderley Road, was the home of architect Montague Talbot Stanley, the son-in-law of Sir Thomas McIlwraith, a former Queensland premier. 

Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC

By the 1920s, another wave of development washed over Enderley Road with Interwar houses like the Girrawheen, the Breffney, the Linstarfield, and its neighbouring houses.

The Breffney on 83 Enderley Road was owned by Mr and Mrs Hendry Drew. The Spanish Mission house was designed by prestigious Brisbane architects Hall and Prentice. It had a tennis court, a pool, a stucco garage, and heaps of tropical plantings.

Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC


Girrawheen on 71 Enderley Road was built in 1923 for insurance manager James Milne and his wife Edna. This property was subdivided from Mr Blume’s land that surrounded Stanley Hall. The Milne family lived in Girrawheen until the 1950s.

In 1956, Sir Walter Campbell, a distinguished lawyer who went on to become the Chief Justice of Queensland and the Governor of Queensland, lived in Girrawheen with his family for three decades. The house went through many alterations during this period but the redevelopments generally retained the character of the Interwar home.

Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC


The Linstarfield on 64 Enderley Road is a Federation-style timber villa built for mine owner PD Rylance, whose son, Mervyn Rylance, grew up to become a prominent Brisbane architect. A few years later, the house also became the home of another wealthy mine owner, HG Noble, an active figure in Brisbane’s business and society gatherings. 

Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC

Some alterations and demolition were done to the house through the years and into the modern period, whilst still maintaining its elegant and very recognisable architectural features.

Mr Noble’s wife, Agnes, purchased the neighbouring lots around Linstarfield that became vital to the heritage-listed precinct. During World War II, the grounds of the Linstarfield were used as a private air-raid shelter and were further subdivided as a family lot. 

Beside the Linstarfield is a modern house on 72 Enderley Road. The home is technically not part of the heritage precinct though its development has to be regulated by the Heritage Code.

Also on the former Linstarfield lot is the home on 82 Enderley Road, a house with a terracotta tiled roof. It was built for Mr and Mrs James Ernest Stewart. 

82 Enderley Road
Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC

The neighbouring house on 92 Alexandra Road is part of the heritage precinct because it contains part of the former Linstarfield wall and was erected in the 1920s. At least four more houses on Alexandra Road are part of the former Linstarfield wall and are also included in the heritage precinct listing.

92 Alexandra Road
Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC

Camara, Delcotta & Fetlar

Camara, Delcotta, and Fetlar were also built in the 1920s and are considered integral properties to the Enderley Road Heritage Precinct. 

Camara, on 24 Enderley Road, is a timber house with a curved front verandah and was originally built for a draper, Cecil Bowerman.  Delcotta, on 19 Craven Street (formerly 51 Enderley Road), is a stylish Tudor home designed by influential Brisbane architect EP Trewern for the dentist A. Ure McNaught and his wife. Fetlar, on 57 Enderley Road, was constructed in 1923 for wool expert Mr Richard Baxter. The house stands out as a California bungalow.  

Photo Credit: Local Heritage Places/BCC

The Enderley Road Heritage Precinct was entered into the local heritage listing in 2011.

Today, Clayfield is a highly desirable suburb with generously sized properties in a neighbourhood that has an appealing family vibe and plenty of lifestyle amenities within easy reach. Local providores know people by name. Highly rated schools abound and areas like the Enderley Road Heritage Precinct provide a unique heritage appeal that gives people an enduring connection to the suburb’s roots.

Clayfield: Revisiting the Historical Places That Made This Suburb Great

Let’s revisit the historical places and heritage landmarks that have helped Clayfield evolve from a mid-19th century settlement to the highly desirable suburb we know today.

Clayfield: What’s in a Name?

The suburb’s name was derived from the “clay fields” in the mining town of Albion, where large deposits of clay were transported to Hendra and the neighbouring suburbs for brickmaking. This industry was vital to the growth of the settlements in the north. 

With settlements dating back to the mid-1870s, the Clayfield community started with the opening of a Baptist church catering to Clayfield and Hendra.

From the 1870s to 1901, allotments of subdivisions and estates were advertised and auctioned off with Clayfield turning into a locale with heaps of large residences rivaling that of homes in Hamilton and Ascot, where the old rich also settled. 

Clayfield’s appeal was underpinned by its elevation and accessibility to the racecourse and central Brisbane.

North Coast Railway

Stages in the evolution of Clayfield were marked by houses or structures that reflected the suburb’s progress and development. One of the developments that greatly influenced the placement of houses in 19th-century Clayfield was the North Coast Railway.

The North Coast Railway opened in 1882 with a line running from Clayfield, Eagle Junction, and Albion. The post office opened the following year. It did not take too long after that before European families started to build houses in the area.


One of the most notable homes that were established during this period is the heritage-listed property, Ralahyne (1888) in Enderley Road. The house was also called East View, Nowranie, Koojarewon, and Huntington as it changed owners. 

Clayfield resident Under Colonial Secretary Robert Gray
Under Colonial Secretary Robert Gray
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

The single-storey timber residence with iron roof stands on an eight-acre property that Under Colonial Secretary Robert Gray bought. George HM Addison designed the modest four-bedroom home, then known as East View.

The house had distinctive wide verandahs with cast-iron balustrading and frieze panels. On the north side of the house, the verandah opened to a large ballroom with dome ceilings and skylights.

Most of the rooms in Ralahyne had timber ceilings while the dining room featured moulded beams. The drawing room had a Carrara marble fireplace with two fluted columns. 

In 1904,  the firm of Halls & Dods renovated the house after Ada Laird bought the property from Gray. Three years later, Laird sold the house to Anne Millar and her family lived here until 1918.

A peek at Ralahyne
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Ruby Winten owned the property until she sold this to Henrietta Watson, who renamed the house to Ralahyne.

Story on fundraising social in Ralahyne
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

Enderley Road Heritage Precinct 

The Watson family owned Ralahyne until 1985, when its current private owners bought the place. The property was subdivided several times during the various phases of ownerships, forming what is known today as the Enderley Road Heritage Precinct.  

Enderley Road Heritage Precinct
Enderley Road Heritage Precinct
Photo Credit: BCC

Clayfield and Ascot locals are proud of the homes in this precinct, including the surrounding street of Alexandra Road, for its aesthetic and historical value. Enderley Road became a model for historical architectural styles in Brisbane as the houses were designed by prominent architects and built during significant times in history — Federation 1890-1914, World War I 1914-1918, Interwar 1919-1939.

The housing styles in these prestigious locations included California Bungalow, Free Classical, Old English, Queen Anne, Spanish Mission. Aside from Ralahyne, the Delcotta house on Craven Street (formerly 51 Enderley Road) has been highlighted for its Tudor design. Delcotta was built around 1929 to 1930 for Mr A. Ure McNaught, a dentist, and his family. 

Delcotta House in Clayfield
Delcotta House, Clayfield
Photo Credit: University of Queensland Library

Incidentally, Clayfield has the largest concentration of Old English house designs in Brisbane at 18, followed by Hamilton (12), St Lucia (9), Ascot (8) and New Farm (6). Old English houses were deemed out of reach for the average Brisbane homeowners but some local architects believed it did not fit into the climatic and living conditions of Queensland. 

Fetlar, the California Bungalow, was designed by Chambers and Ford for Richard Baxter, who was regarded as a wool expert. He named the house Fetlar for his Scottish roots.

Fetlar House in Clayfield
Fetlar House, Clayfield
Photo Credit: BCC 

The Interwar house featured large hallways with spacious living and dining rooms. It has the classic elements of a housing style introduced in Australia around  1910, such as low pitched roofs with street-facing gables, roughcast rendering, and sleep-outs.

Baxter’s property was sold in 1965 to a private owner following his death.

Sandgate Road Electric Tram

When the Sandgate Road electric tram opened in the early 1900s, Clayfield’s housing and building structures also flourished. Spanish mission-style buildings were becoming popular with the opening of the Savoy Theatre, which had a major art deco renovation in 1937. The building was characterised with bevelled glass mirrors and light fittings from sandblasted glass. 

Old Savoy Theatre in Clayfield
Inside the Old Savoy Theatre
Photo Credit: Lost Brisbane/Facebook
Savoy Theatre foyer
The foyer at the Savoy Theatre
Photo Credit: Lost Brisbane/Facebook

Unfortunately, Savoy Theatre ceased to exist in 1962, in the advent of the popularity of television at homes.

Clayfield Schools 

From 1895 to 1926, a boom in educational institutions defined the suburb, beginning with the opening of the Eagle Junction Primary School.

Brisbane Boys’ College (BBC), now known as Clayfield College, started operating in 1902. 

BBC moved to its present site in Toowong when the school community had outgrown the campus, allowing Clayfield College to open a primary school on the site, which was named the Somerville House. By 1935, Clayfield College established its secondary school followed by its boarding school a decade later. 

Clayfield College continued its expansion amidst the construction of the tunnels in Sandgate Road to provide access to the east of Brisbane. The school bought the former Turrawan Private Hospital and increased its boarding facility. 

Turrawan Private Hospital
Turrawan Private Hospital
Photo Credit: BCC

The heritage-listed Turrawan Private Hospital is a two-storey masonry building designed in the Interwar Georgian Revival style by prominent local architect Eric Percival Trewern. It was regarded for its high level of care. Matron Amy Olive Aitkin sold the hospital in 1971 but it continued to operate as intended until Clayfield College took ownership.

In 2023, Clayfield College will begin its transition to co-educational learning.

Meanwhile, other Anglican churches in the suburb also built their own schools, such as St Marks in Bonney Avenue, St Michaels in London Road, and St Rita’s College in Enderley Road. St Rita’s College was established in a former house built for produce dealer John William Forth and his wife Selina. 

Outside Stanley Hall in Clayfield
Stanley Hall
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Stanley Hall, now a heritage-listed property, went through different stages of construction. Most of the building’s rich ornamentation was retained, including the elaborately detailed Dutch gables.

Inside Stanley Hall in Clayfield
Inside Stanley Hall
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Stanley Hall has grand rooms with interlinked modest service rooms. The main entrance is marked by stained glass surrounded by a hibiscus motif, alongside a cedar staircase with carved balusters and fine timber panels. Stanley Hall also has free-flowing wrap-around verandahs. 

St Rita's College in Clayfield
St Rita’s College
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

In 2021, St Rita unveiled its new state-of-the-art Trinity Learning Centre.

By the 1970s, many of the suburb’s lavish dwellings, especially around Bayview Terrace were turned into units. Property prices rose when the shopping strips filled with essential businesses were established. 

For the 12-month period ending September 2021, Clayfield’s median house price sits at $1,380,00 and the median unit price is at $400,000, according to Property Market Updates