Location: Farrah Family Home

Farrah Family Home

Location Type:

11 Bank Street West End

-27.477894, 153.009287

Duration Of Location:
90 years

End Date Of Location:


Mary remembers her grandparents’ home as a house ‘filled with laughter and love’. Callil and Shufier Farrah bought the house at 11 Bank Street West End in the 1920s and it remained in the family for almost nine decades. It is likely they chose the location in West End because they already knew other Lebanese people living there. With fourteen children, it was a tight fit. It was in Mary’s words ‘a tiny little rabbit warren of a house’ with ‘a little shed out the back where the two older boys lived’. Each bedroom had at least two beds in it, someone slept in the sewing room and ‘there was a little back room off the kitchen that had a single bed’. Somehow they managed to fit and although they may have had to share a bed and at times do without, as Mary’s mother often told her, ‘what they may not have had materially, they made up for with love’.

As the Farrah children married, they stayed nearby living for example in Jane and Amersham Streets and Montague Road. Some remained single and stayed in the family home and when others became widowers ‘they came home and brought the children back to granny to look after’.

Mary recalls ‘a lot of sitting around talking’, card playing and food including kibbeh, cabbage rolls, Loobya (green beans) and sambousik , that would ‘magically appear’ whenever you went over. There was a huge big fig tree at the back kitchen door, fruit trees in the back garden and ‘the most amazing basil bush that never died’: ‘whenever I smell basil, that is what I immediately think of’.


Mary Surtees, interview with Anne Monsour, Brisbane 2019.

Queensland Post Office Directories to 1949.

Residents of this location

  • Occupation: Hawker/Mine worker/Storekeeper/Farmer/Retired
    Arrival in Australia: 1892
    Religion: Catholic
    Place of Death: Brisbane