Tarragindi Treasure: ‘Onival’ – A Testament to Brisbane’s Growth

‘Onival’ in Tarragindi stands as a quiet witness to the transformation of Brisbane, from a rugged bushland to a thriving suburb. Built circa 1919 for motor mechanic Joseph Edyvean-Walker, his wife Jeanne, and their children, this Interwar multi-gabled residence was among the first homes constructed in the then-undeveloped Sandy Creek area.

Early Development

Photo Credit: Screengrab from Google Map

The property’s roots trace back to 1862 when a 55-acre parcel of land was sold for freehold purposes. Over the following decades, the land changed hands several times, was gradually subdivided, and was eventually sold to William J. Cook in 1916. Jeanne Edyvean-Walker purchased a portion of Cook’s land in 1917, securing a mortgage loan to build their new home.

Construction and Naming

Photo Credit: Screengrab from Google Map

The house, completed in 1919, was named ‘Onival’ after a French seaside resort in the Somme District, holding sentimental value for the couple. The Edyvean-Walkers further expanded their property holdings in the subsequent years, owning a substantial piece of land by June 1922.

The early 1920s marked a period of significant development for the area. The formation of the Sandy Creek Progress Association, the opening of Andrew Avenue in 1925, and the inclusion of the area in Brisbane’s water grid in 1923 all contributed to its growth. By 1928, the area had even become home to a semi-permanent encampment of old-aged pensioners.

Transformation of the Area

‘Onival’ itself underwent several changes, expanding with the Edyvean-Walker family. The addition of a third bedroom, two side verandahs, a new enclosed back landing, and a new kitchen were among the modifications made in the late 1920s. Tragically, in 1933, the family experienced the loss of their son Ian, who drowned in the nearby Sandy Creek.

Despite this devastating event, Jeanne continued to reside at ‘Onival’ with her remaining children, further altering the house during the 1930s. The extension of tram lines in the late 1930s spurred further development, and by 1946, Tarragindi Road was lined with houses.

The post-World War II housing boom in the 1950s saw the complete urbanisation of Tarragindi. In 1951, Jeanne began to subdivide her property, selling portions to different buyers. Since Onni W. Lindstrom bought “Onival,” it has remained on its current piece of land.

Heritage Significance

‘Onival’ serves as a living reminder of Tarragindi’s evolution, its architectural style reflecting the transition from a semi-rural district to a suburban landscape. 

The house’s alterations and extensions mirror the changing needs of the Edyvean-Walker family and the broader community over time. As Tarragindi continues to grow and evolve, ‘Onival’ remains a cherished part of its history, a testament to the resilience and adaptability of both a family and a suburb.

Published Date 06-June-2024