It is difficult to envisage today, when the busiest water traffic is the bustling CityCat ferry service, but the upper reaches of the Brisbane River have witnessed a proud military and merchant marine heritage.
Years before modernisation demanded the construction of the Port of Brisbane, some of the largest ships plying the world’s oceans would tie up at wharves close to the heart of the central business district.
The nearest today’s Brisbanites get to an inkling of that once mighty inner-city river trade is during the holiday season, when mid-sized cruise ships embark at Hamilton Wharves.
Directly across the river, the suburb of Morningside also used to host vessels as large as aircraft carriers at the Cairncross Dockyard, built at the end of World War II.
After several incarnations the docks finally closed in 2014 with the land earmarked for residential development – part of a sophisticated urban transformation that has been a hallmark of Brisbane for more than two decades.
A suburb in transition
Morningside is no stranger to transition, from an earlier agricultural history through to industrial development in frozen food and chemicals, to the post-war boom typical of growing inner Brisbane.
Possibly because of its more industrialised past, Morningside has remained something of a well-kept property secret compared with neighbouring high-end suburbs like Hawthorn and Norman Park and the enclaves of Balmoral and trendy Bulimba.
With Bulimba’s retail, dining and entertainment precinct on Oxford Street literally on the doorstep, as well as its own share of shops, cafes and the ever-popular, iconic Colmslie Hotel, Morningside offers excellent value for astute buyers and investors.
According to Domain Group data, the current median price for a three-bedroom house of $676,000 compared with an overall $845,000 in Hawthorn, $785,000 in Balmoral, $928,000 in Bulimba and $721,000 in Norman Park.
These figures are underpinned by the latest Pricefinder data showing house prices in Morningside have increased by 7.7 per cent this year alone.
The suburb is a 15-minute drive or a 20-minute train trip from the CBD, has easy access to the Gold Coast freeway, and is less than 15 minutes from the Westfield Carindale retail complex.
With its mix of residential (some with expansive river and city views), commercial and parkland property, including the Colmslie Beach Reserve, the area is proving attractive to professional couples and families. Several of Brisbane’s top primary and secondary schools are close by.
The combination of price and benefits attracted Angie Reddington to invest in Morningside after three years overseas. With husband Tom, Angie bought a three-bedroom home in the area bounded by Thynne Road and Beelarong Street.
“I had family connections in the area,” she says. “We’d been living over in Cannon Hill but wanted to buy closer to Oxford Street or the river because there is lots happening.
“First, we looked around Hawthorn and Bulimba, but it was out of our range so we shifted our searching another couple of kilometres across. We saved a lot on a similar style home which meant we could put some back into some work to give us what we really wanted.”
The established popularity and growing potential of Morningside was a trigger for Ian Chester to swing his Vested Property Group into action with a townhouse development in Horsington Street, which is one of the highest sites in the suburb and has stunning bay and city views.
In keeping with Vested’s quality boutique styling, Kydos comprises six luxury terrace homes, each over three levels with three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms, two-car garage and ground-floor laundry.
A floating staircase with glass balustrades leads to the first level. Here there is an expansive living and dining area and a custom-made kitchen with stone benchtops. The front entertainment private deck has breathtaking views of the Brisbane CBD and Fortitude Valley.
The three large airconditioned bedrooms with built-ins are on the third level.
Each home has sweeping views, and one home has its own private lap pool. Prices range from $770,000 and $920,000.
Chester believes Morningside offers big opportunities for first home buyers as well as growing families from neighbouring suburbs who need to move to a larger home but find they are priced out of the market.
“This is a great place for those people who find they can’t afford to buy bigger or downsizers looking for great value,” he says. “They are looking to Morningside as the next best option.”
He says Kydos is perfectly placed with three schools within three kilometres, other top independent schools nearby, key supermarkets within easy reach and Morningside station 400 metres down the road with quick access to the CBD.
Kydos is under construction at 25 Horsington Street, Morningside with a completion target of February 2018.