Main Image: The Heeler Family with St Bridgid’s in the background (ABC Kids). Listen: Brother Tim Scott talks about the history of St Bridgid’s Church and the Red Hill area.
Like most other parents with kids my age Bluey is a massive thing in our house.
Along with everyone else I’m inspired by the themes of the show – the importance of play, a positive role model for Dads in the character of Bandit, and being present as a parent.
But the thing I’ve always been fascinated with is the shows depiction of Brisbane. Maybe it’s the fact that Bluey is set in the inner north-west of Brisbane, the part of town that I grew up in. It sounds kind of cheesy, but Bluey reminds me of home.
Last year I asked Joe Brumm why the show was set in Brisbane, and why had the city been recreated so faithfully. Joe said that it was really about highlighting the best of what Brisbane had to offer.
“I think so much of Brisbane, and the tropics is really beautiful – the sky, the colours and the architecture. We (Ludo Studio) have a couple of really talented art directors who love going around Brisbane and drawing all the details. I really wanted that feeling of suburbs.”
My kids love that we can go to the same places that Bluey goes to so I’ve put together a Bluey adventure that you and your kids can do with some optional activities along the way.
Bluey Location 1: St Bridgid’s, Red Hill.
We’re starting on Musgrave Road, at the very top of Red Hill, at the heritage listed St Bridgid’s Church. You can see the church behind Bluey’s house in the main image at the top of the page.
Brother Tim Scott wrote the history of St Bridgid’s for the centenary in 2014, but said the story of the church goes back further than 1914.
“Archbishop Quinn purchased the site in 1881 and built a simple church on the land. The original church was a little sandstone building, and became a parish in 1891. Then in 1897 the Sisters of Mercy opened St Bridgid’s school with 400 pupils, so there was a huge need in the area.
In 1908 the foundation stone for a bigger church was laid by Father McCarthy who was the then parish priest, and who saw a need for a bigger church in the Red Hill community.”
In the late 1800’s Spring Hill and Red Hill were originally farming areas with many Irish immigrants. It was this Irish influence in the area that saw the original church being given St Bridgid as its patron saint.
“St Bridgid was the champion of the poor and is the saint of those in need. To see churches named with the saints of Ireland like St Bridgid, St Patrick and St Columban would give those new Irish immigrants a foundation for their faith to continue.”
The church was designed by the well-known architect Robin Dodds, with the striking red brick structure based on the Cathedral of St Cecilia in Albi, France.
“It was the first church in Brisbane to be done in red brick; before that they were all done in sandstone. To build a sandstone church of this size would have been a massive expense.”
Self-guided tours of the church are free – for more information contact the Jubilee Parish Office.
Bluey Location 2: Woolcock Park, Red Hill.
This is the park that features in episodes such as ‘Bike’. To access the park turn into Mossvale Street and then Hawthorne Terrace.
For a fun, family activity you can stick with the bike theme and ride the bike paths between Woolcock Park and Banks St Reserve in Newmarket. You can find more information and directions on the Must Do Brisbane website.
Bluey Location 3: Golden Crown Chinese, Ashgrove.
After all this riding and exploring why not stop for lunch at the Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant on Waterworks Rd in Ashgrove. If you’ve been heading west from Red Hill, it’s just after the Jubilee Terrace intersection.
Golden Crown is the setting for the ‘Takeaway’ episode, home of Bingo’s infamous ‘bush wee’.
What does it take to scout a location for Bluey?
I’m heading a little further down Waterworks Rd, to the Taylor Range Club, inspiration for the ‘Squash’ episode to find out.
Club manager Michael Wilson says that this episode came straight from the top!
“Joe Brumm was a member here for a short time and played squash regularly. He approached me with the idea of an episode with the squash courts at Taylor Range as the back drop.
I’d forgotten all about it and then a few years later, sure enough someone from the studios came down on the weekend and captured all the visuals for the episode.
When we were in lockdown a club member told me that he’d seen an episode of Bluey with the squash courts. I sent it out to all the members and they enjoyed watching it, because at the time the courts were closed; it gave them an opportunity to reconnect with the club while we were in lockdown.”
To find out more about the Taylor Range Club or becoming a member visit their website.
Bluey Location 4: Hammerbarn (aka Keperra Bunnings)
To get to Hammerbarn you’ll need to continue west through The Gap, turning right into Settlement Road. Once you go over the range you’ll find the Keperra Bunnings at the bottom of the hill. With the store set into the backdrop of the Keperra Quarry, it’s clearly identifiable from the Hammerbarn episode. You can even duck in to find husbands, or get a photo in front of the paint colour samples, just like Bluey and Bingo.
Bluey Location 5: The Dump (aka Ferny Grove Resource Recover Centre)
We finish our Bluey adventure in Ferny Grove at the dump. The dump is located just around the corner from Hammerbarn on Upper Kedron Road in Ferny Grove.
The best thing about finishing your Bluey adventure here is that there’s a couple more activities to keep the kids entertained.
On the corner of Samford Rd and Upper Kedron Rd is the Ferny Grove Aqua Park, which is a free water themed playground that’s also wheelchair accessible. The highlight of the park is the giant waterfall bucket, and other facilities include electric barbecues and toilets.
If your kids are into trains, or you just love a bit of history, go on your Bluey adventure on a Sunday and visit the Ferny Grove Tramway Musuem.
Located on Tramway St, the museum is open every Sunday from 1pm to 4pm. They recommend you allow at least one and a half hours to sample everything the museum has to offer, including riding on the heritage trams.