Freer Farm Redevelopment: A Clash Between Progress and History of Bardon

Freer Farm holds a special place in the hearts of many Bardon residents. The land has a long history, having once belonged to a local businessman and pioneer in Brisbane’s food industry, Gerard James Freer.

Gerard Freer: A Legacy of Resilience and Innovation

Photo Credit: Blogspot

The historical significance of the site cannot be overlooked. Gerard James Freer, born in 1926, was the youngest of eight children, growing up during the Great Depression. Tragic events and hardships were a part of his early life. Three of his siblings succumbed to the Spanish Influenza, and his father died in a work-related accident when Gerard was just 18 months old. Raised by his mother, Annie, Gerard’s childhood was spent in orphanages and with relatives due to economic hardships.

Rising Above Adversity: Gerard Freer’s Journey

Gerard’s determination saw him rise from these humble beginnings to become a pioneer in Brisbane’s food industry. After leaving school, he worked as a food chemist while studying industrial chemistry at night. Despite early-onset deafness, he persevered, eventually becoming the production manager at Mynor, a potato crisp manufacturing company.

Superfoods: Innovation in the Snack Industry

In 1953, Gerard and his fiancée, Maureen Evans, sold their only asset, an Austen A40, to buy five acres of bushland in Bardon. Ten years later, Gerard founded Superfoods, producing bacon crisps and cordial extracts. His innovative spirit led to the creation of 84 snack lines, including the popular Red Seal Chips, which won a taste-testing competition against major brands like Arnott’s, Smiths, and Cottees.

Challenges and Triumphs

Despite facing challenges such as the 1987 stock market crash, Gerard’s resilience kept his business afloat. However, a deal with Arnott’s in the late 1980s saw his beloved Red Seal production halted, and Gerard’s factory machinery dismantled. Unwilling to give up, Gerard restarted his business, eventually selling it in 1998 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stuartholme School later acquired his factory and land.

Honouring a Legacy

Photo Credit: Old Brisbane Album

The legacy of Gerard Freer fondly remembered as Queensland’s “Mr Chips,” lives on through his contributions to the local food industry. His story of overcoming adversity and achieving success is integral to Bardon’s rich history. As Stuartholme School moves forward with its redevelopment plans, it carries the legacy of a man who turned his dreams into reality despite the odds.

Balancing Development with Preservation

Photo Credit: MID-1021-0542

The current redevelopment of Freers Farm into a sports complex aims to balance community needs with environmental concerns. Operational hours, noise restrictions, and traffic management plans are in place to address residents’ issues. Additionally, the requirement for a new bus set-down facility and flood management measures seeks to mitigate potential impacts on the area.

Community Vigilance 

Photo Credit: MID-1021-0542

The controversy centres around the approval process and its environmental ramifications. Despite claims of minimal ecological disruption, Stuartholme’s environmental assessment has been criticised for not measuring existing light levels despite protected species. The decision notice, however, imposes strict operational limits, noise management plans, and traffic management requirements to mitigate these concerns.

Published Date 03-July-2024

Stuartholme School: Historic Junior School Precinct Construction Commences in Bardon

The educational landscape in Bardon is witnessing the start of a new era as construction begins on a dedicated Junior School precinct at Stuartholme School.

This development is set to provide a strong educational foundation for the institution’s Year 5 and Year 6 students. The construction is part of an ambitious plan by the school, which has recently gained approval from Planning Minister Steven Miles for a new sports centre project on Sir Samuel Griffith Drive, near the iconic Freers potato chip factory site.

A New Chapter in Stuartholme’s History

Stuartholme School, a prestigious girls’ school bordering Toowong and Bardon, celebrated the significant milestone on 26 Oct 2023, as the board, school leaders, and students turned the first sod to mark the beginning of construction on its new junior school precinct. This historical moment takes place within the school’s 21-hectare campus on the picturesque foothills of Mount Coot-tha.

“As a leader in girls’ education, Stuartholme understands that the early years of education provide the foundation for successful and lifelong learners who will make a global impact beyond the gates of the school,” Principal Daniel Crump said. 

Stuartholme School
Photo Credit: Stuartholme School

Educational Excellence and Collaborative Learning

This modern Junior School precinct is designed to optimise educational achievements, fostering active learning and essential skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. The classroom layouts are intentionally crafted to encourage collaborative learning, promoting self-reliance and independence as students transition into secondary school.

Junior school students will have the privilege of accessing the school’s extensive facilities, including a swimming pool, netball and tennis courts, library, technologies precinct, art studios, and design technology rooms. The school maintains a commitment to small class sizes, allowing 100 students across the two-year level cohorts to receive individualized attention while providing ample opportunities for growth and learning.

“With the introduction of Years 5 in 2024 and Year 6 in 2025, our students will have a seamless progression into the Secondary School in a safe, caring, and warm environment, to understand who they are, how they belong, and learn to achieve educational excellence,” Mr Crump added.

Stuartholme School building
Photo Credit: Queensland Government (Planning) /

Embracing Sustainability and Heritage

The contemporary building is designed with sustainability in mind, aligning with the school’s commitment to environmental responsibility. This includes expanding the existing solar program, enhancing landscaping, and installing water tanks.

“This innovation will enrich our sense of history as our youngest students are embraced into our culture of belonging – sentiments that are underpinned by our school’s Sacred Heart charism of which we are very proud,” Chaplain Sr Rita Carroll, who has been associated with the school since 1957, remarked. 

Sports Centre Approved

In addition to the Junior School precinct, Planning Minister Steven Miles recently approved plans for a major sports facility, which will be situated on the site of the iconic Freers potato chip factory and adjacent Freers Farm on Sir Samuel Griffith Drive. This sports facility will include sporting fields, multipurpose courts, and associated floodlighting, catering to various sports and activities. 

Stuartholme School building
Photo Credit: Queensland Government (Planning) /

While some locals expressed concerns about possible downstream flood impacts and effects on wildlife at the site, the project’s documentation claims that floodwater will be contained on-site. The hours of operation for the sporting fields, multipurpose courts, and the Freers Shed will be regulated to minimize noise and inconvenience for the surrounding community.

Published 31-Oct-2023

Issues Raised on Proposed Stuartholme School Sporting Precinct Development in Bardon

The Freer’s Farm Action Group has outlined several issues concerning the proposed redevelopment of the Freer’s Farm farm site in Bardon into a sporting precinct for Stuartholme School. 

The group cites that they are not opposed to the plans per se  (MID-1021-0542 – Stuartholme School)  but there are potential problems that the developers need to address before the redevelopment gets a green light. 

Among the most concerning issue is the sports field’s impact on flood levels, especially on the properties downstream. The group said that the flood modelling used in the proposal “don’t reflect actual historical flows.” 

Photo Credit: The State of Queensland (Planning) /

Additionally, the earthworks within the flood zone call for filling land that will raise its level higher than the neighbouring properties. Essentially, this will remove the flood plain and increase the risk of flooding onto the other sites.

Freer’s Farm is near Sir Samuel Griffiths Drive and picnic areas at Hoop Pine and Silky Oak within the Mt Coot-the Reserve. The sports field may also cause parking and traffic issues at these sites.

The residents are also concerned about light and noise pollution when there are games at night that will likely bring ecological impacts to the wildlife, parkland users, and the neighbourhood. For years, most of the area at Freer’s Farm is completely free of artificial light at night. 

Photo Credit: The State of Queensland (Planning) /

Last week, some of the locals have met with representatives of the developer, Ethos Urban, Stuartholme School, and the consulting firm, Blight Tanner, to clearly discuss the concerns of the community. Cr Peter Matic was also in the said meeting.

According to the Freer’s Farm Action Group, the flood modelling used in the proposal is not accurate, thus they have asked for a revised model. The planners said they are willing to work with the community to deliver a final model that will be agreeable to all concerned. 

The planners also acknowledged providing more information on the sports field lighting information. They have agreed to defer the start of construction to August 2022. 

The MID submission, on the other hand, has been extended until 19 May 2022. Follow the guide on how to make a submission from this group