Coorparoo is a southern suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Its distance from the city is approximately four kilometres. Surrounding suburbs include Camp Hill, Greenslopes, Holland Park, Norman Park and Seven Hills.
There has been some discussion over the origin of the name. Some believe it comes from the Aboriginal name for a creek that passes through the suburb and into Norman Creek near the (now) Coorparoo railway station. For thousands of years Aborigines lived on the fertile land on the banks of the Brisbane River, hunting and fishing.
Those who lived on the southside of the river, particularly the Yugarabul or Jagara tribes, found plenty of food in this area. Just before European settlement, John Oxley in 1823 marked (but did not name) a creek. The name “Norman’s Creek” first appeared on a map prepared by Major Lockyer in 1825.
Historian Leslie E. Slaughter, in a paper presented to the Historical Society of Queensland on 28 November 1953, wrote that “the name Norman’s Creek is a corruption of the original name of Gorman’s Creek, named after Lieutenant Owen Gorman of Her Majesty’s 8th Foot Regiment and who was the last commandant of Moreton Bay. Baker’s Atlas of 1846 mapped it as Gorman’s Creek. Norman Park was named after Sir Henry Norman, the seventh Governor of Queensland, May 1, 1895”.
The Aboriginals called this small creek/tributary of Norman Creek “Cooraparoo”. The meaning remains unclear, with possibilities including ‘place of the biting mosquito’, ‘call of the dingo’ . The first survey in (what is now) Stones Corner/Coorparoo area was of ‘Norman’ Creek–in 1839–just when the Moreton Bay penal settlement was coming to an end. Surveying of a practical route from Brisbane to Cleveland commenced in 1850 and the former bullock track became a road, later named Old Cleveland Road.
This important arterial road has carried bullock drays, electric tram (from 1915 to 1969), buses and an ever increasing volume of cars as the bayside district became more densely populated.
Another important arterial road is Cavendish Road, marked as a Government Road on the original survey, it later became Pine Mountain Road then Cavendish Road. Until 1955 a tram line ran along Cavendish Road from Old Cleveland Road. In that year, the trams were replaced by a trolleybus service which operated until March 1969.
In October 1856 the first auction sales of land in Coorparoo took place with 10 country allotments between Norman’s Creek and Old Cleveland Road being offered. In December 1857 the second Coorparoo land sale took place with a further 9 portion on the southern side of Old Cleveland Road being offered. Further sales subsequently took place and by 1875 the population of the district had grown significantly enough to demand the provision of the district’s own school.
Samuel Stevens in 1875 donated two acres (8,000 m²) of his property near the junction of Pine Mountain Road (now Cavendish Road) and Old Cleveland Road for use of a school. He declined the offer of naming the area “Stevenstown”. At a meeting on 22 March 1875 of the residents at Frederick Wecker’s home it was resolved “that the name of the locality and the school should be Cooraparoo” after the Aboriginal name for the area around the creek but the Board of Education chose the spelling ‘Coorparoo’ and the district finally had a name.