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Brisbane suburb of Albion transforms from industrial hub to residential delight

By Demi Treloar

Orignal Story – Courier Mail
Shae McDonald, AAP

SONGWRITER Sam Cooke wrote the legendary lyrics “a change is gonna come” in the 1960s.

More than half a century later, it seems the words are finally ring true for the Brisbane suburb of Albion.

For years the suburb has been an industrial and sporting hub.

Automotive, glass and building suppliers line the narrow streets that sit wedged between Breakfast Creek and the Albion Park Raceway.

Just a few hundred metres down the road is Crosby Park — home to Brothers Rugby Club — and the Queensland Cricket Association.

Places like Bunnings, Repco and Battery World are found along Hudson and Sandgate roads, which wind their way over Albion Hill.

But in recent years the landscape has started to change and later this year hundreds of new residents will call the inner-city suburb home.

Located just three kilometres from Brisbane CBD, Albion has long been forgotten in favour of its more affluent Ascot, Windsor and Clayfield neighbours.

David Treloar says it is an exciting time to be working and living in Albion. David Treloar opened Ray White Albion in late 2015.

Mr Treloar said developments like The Hudson — built on the old flour mill site — Jade and Crosby Park Apartments were helping the area to become a real growth corridor.

“We’re finding the whole precinct is really lifting,” he said.

Mr Treloar said because buyers now did most of their research online, Albion was often overlooked.

“Online searches are area specific,” he said.

Mr Treloar said houses in Albion could still be picked up for between $700,000 and $800,000, while one kilometre down the road in Hamilton the price had soared to more than $1 million.

“It’s so affordable,” he said.

“It’s similar to Newstead 10 years ago when the woolstores were being converted into apartments.”

Mr Treloar said a lot of residents also underestimated the elevation of Albion Hill.

“We have uninterrupted city views,” he said.

Geraint Holmes-Clark opened GB’s cafe on the Sandgate Rd thoroughfare just over two years ago.

“I was watching the area for about seven or eight years,” he said.

“It is one of those suburbs that needed a catalyst to change.”

Mr Holmes-Clark said Albion was a place that should have boomed about five or 10 years ago.

“That’s why I came in here a few years ago,” he said.

“There are low rents and they can’t justify the higher costs when it hasn’t taken off.”

Old meets new: The Hudson apartments will open later this year, while the Albion Hotel has been located on Sandgate Rd for more than a century.

While there is still plenty of room for Albion to change and grow, there has been a definite spike in interest in the area.

Sandgate Rd at the top of Albion Hill is now lined with restaurants and cafes, some old, some new.

But there is one venue that has been there since the very beginning.

The Albion Hotel — located just a stone’s throw from the train station — was built in the late 1880s.

Today it remains a popular watering hole for nearby workers and neighbouring residents.

Manager Tim Mellifont said while in the past people had driven through Albion without giving it a second thought, things were slowly changing.

“There are a few little bars starting to make a name for themselves,” he said.

“It could potentially become a little sort of West End.”

Mr Mellifont and assistant manager Jeremy Neville said they wanted the Albion Hotel to grow with the area.

“We don’t have strangers here just friends we haven’t met yet,” Mr Mellifont said.

Albion Park Raceway operations manager Damian Raedler has been involved with the facility for more than 30 years.

It is the busiest racing precinct in the southern hemisphere, running greyhound and harness race meets seven days a week.

Mr Raedler said Albion was changing for the better, but the raceway would continue to play an integral role in the area.

Albion Park Raceway operated as a sand track for more than 100 years, before it swapped to harness racing. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Damian Raedler says the raceway’s inner city location is important both for racegoers and those involved with the industry.
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