Whites Hill is a hill and public reserve situated in Holland Park in Brisbane’s South East. The reserve covers an area of 53 acres (21.5 hectares) bound by the surrounding suburbs of Camp Hill, Coorparoo, Carina Heights and Mt. Gravatt East. The site is popular with locals, with the reserve offering many sporting and recreational facilities.
Whites Hill is named after the White Family, who, in 1873, acquired 53 acres (21.5 hectares) of land surrounding the 120m elevation now known as Whites Hill. It was here where the White’s built their dream home, whose grandeur proved popular with the locals. Soon, the house was opened to the public where, as well as tea and meals, a spectacular view of Brisbane city was offered. Later, a camera obscura, that projected the Brisbane skyline onto a wall, was constructed. This, as well as the installation of a music machine, made the house ideal for functions, with many weddings and parties taking place.
Brisbane City Council sought to acquire the land for development in 1924, offering Bob White ₤22000 for its sale. He declined and lived out his days on the property. Upon his death in 1927, the land was sold to the council for less than half the original offer. With clear views of the Greater Brisbane Area from its peak, Whites Hill became an ideal observation post during the Second World War. The house remained on the land until 1964, where it was torn down after repeated acts of vandalism forced the council to condemn the residence.
Soon after, the land was developed into a reserve. An area of land was set aside for a public park, which includes a playground area, BBQ and toilet facilities and a sizeable area of parkland. Further development from the 1980s to present day has seen sporting clubs for Cricket, Soccer and Touch Football become established within the reserve. Kilometres of walking track also snake through the reserve, most notably to a reconstructed lookout that provides excellent views of the Brisbane CBD.
The reserve was also the site of the Whites Hill Landfill and Recycling Facility, which closed in 1994 in favour of a larger facility in the Brisbane suburb of Chandler. Portions of the reserve near Pine Mountain have also been used as a quarry. Through community action however, much of that land has been rehabilitated.