The Reserve came into existence on 30 June 1921, ”being permanently reserved and set apart for Showground, Recreation and Public Hall” and “placed under the control of the Trustees”.
The Reserve that is known colloquially as the Brookfield Showground, has a very long and proud history.
Back in 1872 an area of some 40 acres which was put aside as a Reserve was subsequently broken up into a Cemetery Reserve of 10 acres and the balance, an area of 29 acres, was designated as a Recreation Reserve. This was further reduced to 20 acres when a further allocation of 9 acres was made out of it for a School Reserve.
Thus we have the genesis of what exists now, the Brookfield Showground, the Brookfield Cemetery and the Brookfield State School.
In later years various modifications occurred with a Public Hall Reserve being hived off in 1885, then in 1911 the Brookfield Reserve for Recreation and Showground was proclaimed, which excluded the Public Hall Reserve. Finally after nearly a half century of bickering, all the dust finally settled and the two reserves were amalgamated on 30 June 1921 as the Brookfield Reserve for Showground, Recreation and Public Hall. And this, some 90 years on, is as how we have it today.
Back in 1875 the Brookfield Cricket Club came into being with the Brookfield Reserve its home ground thus starting a relationship that has endured for so far for 140 years.
The Reserve a was natural meeting place, being at the junction of the two main valley roads of Brookfield and Upper Brookfield Roads and Gold Creek Roads, which followed Moggill Creek and Gold Creek to the junction just upstream from the Reserve.
It was a stop-over point for the official party who attended the completion of Gold Creek Reservoir in 1885; it was used by the Brookfield School for Arbor Day in 1893 and for their end of year breakup. It was used by the Queensland Mounted Infantry for full day parade in 1895 and an evening concert, both of which attracted a large crowd. Brookfield men were well represented in the QMI which after service in the Shearers Wars of the early 1890’s and the Boer War of 1899-1902 were integral to the formation of the Australian Light Horse and gave to it the iconic emu feathers in the slouch hat. The 2/14 Light Horse Infantry (QMI) still exists today at Enoggera as an Armoured Cavalry Unit.
The Show Committee of the Brookfield Farmers Association conducted the first one day Show on Wednesday 20 July 1910 and on 14-16 May 2010 the Brookfield Show Society celebrated a century of Brookfield Shows. In the intervening years, through the diligence, hard work and enthusiasm of extraordinary group of individuals, all volunteers, the Show well and truly went on.
It wasn’t until 1956 that the Brookfield Show Society, as we now know it, came in to existence and since that time has provided a stable platform for the ongoing development and then consolidation of the Show and its associated activities. It has weathered some difficult times but has a proud history of putting on the Biggest Little Show in the Country, together with the annual Show Ball, the Brookfield Bush Christmas and the weekly Members “Happy Hour”.
Given the wide ranging interest in equestrian matters within the Brookfield community, it wasn’t surprising that in 1957 the Brookfield Horse and Pony Club came into existence and in doing so became an essential part of the culture of Brookfield for over half a century. Hundreds and hundreds of young children have learned to ride well under the watchful eye of the BH&PC instructors and can attribute their love of horses and their well grounded adult riding skills to the dedication of this untiring band of volunteers. In the large and growing capital city of Brisbane, the BH&PC continues to thrive because of the unique environment created and sustained within equestrian friendly Brookfield.
Since 1921 the Brookfield Recreation Reserve Trust has discharged its broader responsibilities for the Reserve with great care. Because of the continuity of service and oversight of so many of the Trustees, it has been possible to overcome the inevitable up and down fortunes of many of the groups using the Reserve. The community asset that is the Brookfield Showground, the presentation of the grounds, the quality of its Heritage buildings and the egalitarian use of the facilities is something to be greatly proud of. Even more remarkable is the fact that this has come about without the need for ongoing financial support from any level of government.
We have this very special Brookfield Showground and we greatly value it because it is central to our sense of community. We have it because it is what we want. It hasn’t come about by accident, or overnight, it has taken more than a century of shared vision and quiet determination to get there and we expect that will continue for many, many decades to come.
The Trustees who have contributed their time and diligence over the past the past nine decades are listed below – take the time to run your eye over the extraordinary length of service of so many individuals. It is testimony to what a community can do when it sets its mind to it.
1921-1922 William Albert Gregory.
1921-1922 William Queale.
1921-1932 John Burnett North.
1921-1935 Carl C Breddin.
1921- 1945 James Irwin.
1921-1960 William Richer Moon.
1921-1970 William Leonard Shield.
1922-1925 GWA Walter.
1922-1945 ELB Gramenz.
1925 -1945 Graham Doyle.
1932-1945 Percy J Savage.
1935-1945 George Wilmott.
1946 -1952 Leo Douglas Cooper.
1946-1952 Albert Emmanuel Oakhill.
1946-1952 Cecil V Stewart.
1946-1952 Mervyn R Shield.
1946-1955 Ernest C Blake.
1946-1955 Kenneth J Morris.
1952-1956 WRR Bowman.
1952-1963 Edward J Surman.
1952-1977 Leslie Hallett.
1955-1960 Alexander Wruck.
1955-1982 Arnold G Wilmott.
1957-1974 Edwin A Russell.
1960-1974 Edmund F Taylor.
1960- 1985 William J Kay.
1963-1970 Charles D Queale.
1970-1985 Leonard S Rudd.
1974-2013 Rita F O’Hanlon.
1974-1981 JLW Townsend.
1977-1983 Cecil Graham Hughes.
1981-2006 John Brayton Brown.
1982-1988 Robert W Colquhoun.
1983-1996 John Smith.
1988-1994 Roger GB Winton.
1989-2015 Laurie Muller.
1994-2013 John Purves
1996- 2013 Lance Jelley.
2013- Don Chandler.
2013- Peter Israel.
2013- Andy McGregor.
2013- Kelly O’Hanlon.
2015- Jonathan Snow
Service of note: William Shields 49 yrs, William Moon 39 yrs, Rita O’Hanlon 39 yrs, Les Hallett, Arnold Wilmott, Bill Kay and John Brown 25 yrs or more.
Of further note: Rita O’Hanlon, the first woman elected to the Trust, and a direct descendant of the first families to settle Brookfield in the 1860’s, was succeeded by her granddaughter Kelly O’Hanlon in 2013, making seven generations of unbroken connection to Brookfield.
The Brookfield Showground is what it is today, through the foresight and perseverance of so many Trustees over the past century. We are all in a great debt of gratitude for their labours.