You’d have to be living under a rock to not know how Stones Corner has been rebuilding its identity in recent times, following the closure of many of the outlet shops that defined the precinct in the 1990s.
Once a bargain-hunter’s paradise, Stones Corner is now attracting a new crowd with its impressive line-up of bars, eateries and upcoming residential development. Local business owners and residents are using this much talked about revival as an opportunity to reclaim Stones Corner’s status as a formal suburb.
Back in 1975, the small pocket of Stones Corner was absorbed by its neighbour Greenslopes, and to this day remains officially part of that suburb. The community group Our Stones Corner is made up of passionate locals and business owners keen to set the area apart, and they believe restoring suburb status will be a major milestone in the revitalisation of the area. The plan also has the support of the local Councillor, Ian McKenzie.
Traditionally, Stones Corner has been a commercial hub. From its humble beginnings as Burnett’s Swamp, the area attracted savvy business people looking to benefit from the prime inner-city location that was well serviced by trams in the late 19th century.
One of the suburb’s earliest residents, James Stone, used his entrepreneurial skills to set up shop on the main corner. When he failed to gain a liquor licence he instead turned his hand to brewing ginger beer, and thus locals referred to his enterprise as Stone’s Corner.
As the area grew a swathe of butchers set up shop and by the mid-century Stones Corner was home to a vibrant retail mix including a hardware store, a shoe shop, a home furnishing store, drapery and a music store.
Like many inner-city Brisbane suburbs, there was, at times, a certain notoriety to the area. In the early 1900s, locals were concerned about so-called ‘larrikin gangs’, most likely a by-product of the thriving local hotel erected after James Stone sold his business in the late 1800s.
If you’re keen for a glimpse into the past, there are many pockets of buildings offering a step back in time. The Stones Corner Hotel was first erected in 1888 and is the longest standing building in the area. Lady Marmalade is just one of the cafes taking advantage of stripped back heritage buildings straddling Old Cleveland Road and Cleveland Street.