An early land subdivision named was located in 1881 on both sides of Brighton Brook which fed the lagoon behind Cooks River. A wide reserve and carriageway on either side of the stream was made an integral part of the estate's design. Part of this became Rosedale Reserve, re-named Rosedale Park. "Rosedale" sold rapidly, especially after it was rumoured that public transport might be located nearby.
Rosedale was the first development of its type in Canterbury, aimed at working people who wished to buy their own homes. Tradesmen who worked on building houses on the estate were among its first owner occupiers. The tramway promised by the subdividers did not eventuate.
There was an outbreak of typhoid fever amongst children bathing in the river near Rosedale in the late 1890's. It was caused by the river being silted up and rubbish and sewerage washing into the river from local streets.