From the Westender Archive:

From time to time, we delve into the Westender archives. This week we go back 20 years to focus on the Local Push: the precursor to West End Community Association. Mary Maher, a founder of The Push, tells the story of a community uniting for change.

The Local Push formed in response to Brisbane City Council’s envisaging Kurilpa peninsula (West End-South Brisbane–Highgate Hill) in discussion papers it released in 2000, as an area of big culture (QPAC precinct), big education (TAFE, Griffith, 3 major high schools) and big hospitals (Mater, PA). There was no vision for or about the community and all its diversity and mix of land-uses across the peninsula. Council was embarking on a Local Area Plan for the whole area in response to the modelling that said Brisbane had to accommodate major population increases in the 30 years ahead. West End became the Council’s target for land development given its bank of big industry sites. Where was the community vision?

The Westender – May 2001

The Push Vision

The local newspaper, the Westender joined forces with several agitated community members to develop the community vision to counter this big culture, education and medicine idea.

It was published as a centrefold in the 2001 August edition. We wanted to protect the density we had already and the diversity it supported. From this combination of the physical and social environment we had a highly effective community and we wanted it to stay that way as inevitably changes were rolled out. The peninsula worked – it had good residential densities, a mixtures of landuses that were conducive to living and working in the area; it had a coherent layout with several local centres serviced by public transport; a mixture of building types from different eras and a range of people from different cultures and income levels. We were an engaged and creative community attested to by the number of community organisations and arts industries we supported.

This became the Local Push’s vision, to maintain the vital elements of this precious sense of place.

The Westender features the Local Push in August 2001

The Push community

As a group of about ten West End folk, comprising artists, gardeners, landscape architects, environmental and social planners – we met every second Sunday from 2000 until we incorporated to form the West End Community Association in 2004.

The community’s journey took us across three draft Local Area Plans for all and then selected parts of the Peninsula in the period between 2002 and 2009. The Association’s task  was to keep the community informed and to formulate and negotiate responses with Council.

The Push sets out its vision in a two-page spread.


Cover image: Laurel Johnson (holding the Westender spread), Mary Maher and Andrew Bartlett for The Local Push – taken August 2001