Janelle Christofis shares her memories of growing up in Hill End where she attended West End Primary and Brisbane State High Schools and studied ballet and dance.

I grew up in Drake Street on a 36 perch block. All the neighbourhood kids came to our place to play football or cricket. We had chooks, ducks and the ubiquitous Mango Tree in our back yard. My brothers and I went to West End Primary and Brisbane State High Schools.

My brothers Russell and Jeffrey collected bottles[i] and cashed them in at Buzby’s collection house at Montague Road to raise money for the scouts. It’s no coincidence that we lived across the road from Cub Scout leader Nell McMillan and next door to Mr (& Mrs) Hervey, one of the Hervey Bros master craftsmen.


Of course, there were lots of Greeks in the neighbourhood like my father. My father was a member of the South Brisbane Sailing Club at the Orleigh. He grew up in Cordeaux Street, a block from the river at the Orleigh. My mother worked at Drug Houses of Australia (DHA)[i] across the road from Thomas Dixon on the corner of Montague and Ferry Roads. My grandmother worked as a clerk at the Thomas Dixon Boot factory.

I went to ballet at the local hall in Mitchell Street with sisters Laurel Santry and Davidia Lind (nee Graydon) and our ballet recitals were held in the Rialto Theatre. Our houses were at opposite ends of Drake Street but Laurel and I often performed ballet in her backyard opposite the Thomas Dixon Centre. Their mother, Mrs Graydon was a milliner and my mother often joined her millinery classes. 


I had a very memorable moment in 2013 while sitting in Queensland Ballet’s studio auditioning children for the Bolshoi Ballet. I could see Laurel and Davidia’s house across the road, which brought back memories of me as a young dancer, the same age as those children auditioning.


Cover image, Janelle with her brother Russell – note the Thomas Dixon factory in the background.



[1] A bottle collection depot is operating in Montague Road: Containers for Change West End.  Applicants who fulfil the donation partner criteria can apply to become a donation partner at their local depot on the Reverse Vending Machines. Donation partners are rotated every 3-months to give as many not-for-profit organisations as possible the opportunity to fundraise through the scheme. 281 Montague Road is the TOMRA Recycling Centre

[1] In 1989 the Correspondence Pre-School, Primary Correspondence and Secondary Correspondence Schools amalgamated to form Brisbane School of Distance Education (Brisbane SDE), located at 405 Montague Road, West End.  405 Montague Road is now Montague Markets and Residences.