Residents Oppose 3-Storey Development That Will Block Beloved Francis Lookout

A community in Corinda is opposing the planned development of a three-storey house that will stand directly on the west side of one of Brisbane’s oldest and most beloved park, Francis Lookout, essentially blocking its gorgeous views.

The neighbours are asking the Council to reject the development application for 9 Francis St, which has been waiting for approval since August 2019. 

They are also asking the State Assessment and Referral Agency to recall its endorsement of the development, citing that the oversized house will affect the state of a heritage-listed site. 

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council/PD Online

Francis Lookout was a cemetery built in the 1860s for the pioneers, the Francis family, who used to own 21 acres of the land in the southwest suburb of Corinda. 

In 1936, the family’s trustee gifted Francis Lookout to the Council. Since its last burial in 1966, Francis Lookout became a public parkland, offering a place of tranquility for the residents, with its pleasurable views of Mount Coot-tha, the D’Aguilar range and Brisbane CBD. 

Photo Credit: Margaret Giebels/Google Maps

There are at least four empty lots next to the Francis Lookout, which was bought by the Mel Investment Group in 2018. The company then filed the development application the following year and made changes to the plans on 10 July 2020. 

Meanwhile, the community has been submitting their objections to the development via the Council.

“Our concerns regard the height and bulk of the proposed dwelling, the lack of Traditional Building Character code in the design, and the effect it could have on significant heritage trees in the park,” one resident wrote.

“I believe the building of this development on 9 Francis St Corinda would be a total devastation to the Corinda community. There is history tied to that location, and that is something I value about having a property here,” another local said. 

Photo Credit: Justin Giebels/Google Maps

“A 3 storey house would totally ruin a once very well protected view and the overall peaceful and tranquil aesthetic of Corinda. Furthermore, Francis lookout has been a place for friends and family to meet up and watch fireworks for a long time. It’s a very popular spot for disabled people, elderly people.” 

Neighbours also said that some movement has been taking place in the lot on Francis St although they know that the Council has yet to make a decision.

A Glimpse at the Story of Francis Lookout in Corinda

Have you ever wondered where Francis Lookout in Corinda got its name?

One of Corinda’s local landmarks, Francis Lookout is a parkland at the corner of Dewar Terrace and Hilda Street. Its prominent hilltop location offers fantastic panoramic views of Brisbane, especially towards Mt Coot-tha.

If you have already visited the heritage site, you might have noticed a few graves within the park. This is because the park was initially a private cemetery.

History of Francis Lookout

Panoramic view from Francis Lookout, Corinda, across the Brisbane River towards Mt. Coot-tha, 1931. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Negative number: 59074

The Francis Lookout got its name from the Francis family, one of the first families to settle in the Corinda area. In 1862, the family bought 21 acres of land in the area which extended from the Brisbane River to the present location of the park.

The establishment of the burial ground was similar to the story behind God’s Acre Cemetery in Archerfield. The family also established the private cemetery as a memorial for their youngest son, Clement, who died in 1863.

The Francis family dedicated one acre for this purpose since there was no municipal cemetery in the district at the time.

Today, the burial grounds contain memorials from 1863 to1966. The last member of the family to be buried on site in 1937 was Mary Francis. She was the wife of the Francis’ eldest son, Dick.

Apart from the Francis family, other graves of early Corinda residents are also in the cemetery. These include the Jones grave, the Dunlop grave, the Clarkson grave, the Walker grave, the Gray grave, and two unlocated burials.

The Lychgate

Francis Lookout lychgate from E (2016). Photo credit: Vic Bushing/Queensland Heritage Register

In 1902, Angela Francis erected the private cemetery’s intricate lychgate for her husband. The ornate barge boards were carved by her friends and a small bronze plaque that reads ‘ERECTED BY ANGELA FRANCIS 1902’ can be seen on the structure.

In 1934, the Brisbane City Council took over the cemetery and carried out several improvements and repairs in the subsequent years.

Francis Lookout Now

The heritage-listed Francis Lookout is currently amongst the significant landmarks in the suburb, currently home to 10 known graves and two unlocated graves.

The five graves of the Francis family are situated together, surrounded by a white painted fence. Meanwhile, the other graves are randomly scattered to the north of the family’s gravesite.

Francis Lookout in Corinda offers a great picnic spot for those who want to have a quiet time under the shade of eucalyptus trees. Visitors can enjoy the scenic views of the city coupled with a piece of the suburb’s history.