Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Queen & Edward (2)

Do you remember your first job? And, if so, are those memories good memories or not-so-good ones? I do remember my first job - I should, because it lasted for fifteen years, and it has something to do with today's photos. The first image below was taken during the war years; in fact in 1940. It's an picture that I really like - Brisbane in the rain, some pedestrians hurrying across the street while others wait for the traffic lights to change. Two-way traffic in Edward St, including a Bayards (a large Brisbane department store) delivery van; and the buildings: on the far right hand side of the picture is a building that I believe at the time housed Nat Green the Chemist and Australian Metropolitan Life, and next to it is part of the Tattersall's building. Further to the left can be seen the Weller family's Embassy Hotel, which stood on the corner of Edward St and Elizabeth St. On the left edge of the photo can be seen part of the AMP Society's Queensland office, which would become the headquarters of General MacArthur during the latter stages of WWII. Click on the photo if you wish to see a larger image.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #82490)

My first job was in that building, working as a clerk for AMP. When I got there in the late 1960s, not much had changed from this photo, except that the fashions were a bit more modern, and so were the cars. And, the memories are good - I kicked off a career in the financial services industry that continued for forty years, made friendships that last to this day, and had a great deal of fun. Seeing I have mentioned cars: in 1967, on the princely annual salary of $1471, I bought my first car from an AMP colleague for $60 - it was a black 1953 Ford Customline. I didn't even have a licence when I bought this car and drove it home. My father had forbidden me to buy it. He woke up one morning to find it parked in our yard! Things were decidedly frosty for a while :-) That car kept kept my mother, a regular contributor to the petrol tank, and myself extremely poor for the next couple of years.(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

In today's picture, above, you can see the same view of the AMP building (we'll have a better look at this building in a later post), now known as MacArthur Chambers. It contains a well-known book store on the ground floor, basement and mezzanine levels; while the floors above have been converted to apartments. There is a museum commemorating General MacArthur's WWII stay here on the eighth floor, which in my days contained the dining room for AMP executives (the hoi-polloi like me ate on the ninth floor!). Moving to the right, the Embassy can still be glimpsed (just behind the tree) between the National Mutual Building and the Canegrowers building; then the Wintergarden shopping mall; the external view of Tattersall's Arcade still looking the same; while the whole southern corner (right side of picture) of this intersection has been redeveloped by the Tattersall's Club. It is now the entrance to the Queen St mall. I have even conjured up a similarly wet day to the original picture, and that isn't such an easy task these days!

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: One lump or two?


  1. I have just been reading about the building on the corner of Queen and Edward (a building that I believe at the time housed Nat Green the Chemist and Australian Metropolitan Life) This building was Ascot Chambers and was the first skyscraper in Brisbane according to the site I read. Thought you might be interested.

  2. Thanks for the info & the link.
    Daphne Mayo had an office in Ascot Chambers at one time:

  3. Love your blog.
    My grandparents who were Italian had a small fruit shop on Edward St, just up from Queen on the right-hand side some time around the time of WW2. Wondering if anyone remembers it as I vaguely remember a small fruit shop there in the seventies.

  4. When I started work in 1967 there was a small fruit shop in the position you describe. They also made the best fruit juices and milk shakes.
    I always remember that they used to have pineapples hung over the entrance and I bumped my head on them several times.
    An unfortunate event occurred around 1970 when a man committed suicide by jumping from the AML building on the corner and he landed in the alley right next to the fruit shop. The alley was lost when the Tattersall's building was redeveloped.


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