As a cricket tragic, I have spent countless hours glued to television sets, watching cricket from around the world. One of the more interesting grounds (to me, at least) is The Oval, in London, with the large gasometer visible in most camera shots. I always wondered what it was for and how it worked. I didn't realise until I moved to Teneriffe that we had one at Newstead, not very far from where I now live. In fact, it has been here since 1863 - how could I have missed it? After all, the thing is huge. In a typical piece of larrikin Aussie humour, the hulking AFL footballer Mick Nolan (a towering 195 cm and at 125 kg, one of the heaviest men ever to play in the AFL) was nicknamed "The Galloping Gasometer" because of his size and the fact that he didn't run too far.
The picture below is from the infamous February 1893 floods, and shows a substantial amount of water surrounding the gasometer. I'm not sure whether the photo shows Teneriffe Hill or the Bulimba hills in the background. Look for the lone swimmer and the people in the boats - click on the picture if you want to see a larger image.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; # API-080-0001-0009)
The gasometer supplied natural gas to parts of Brisbane until 1996, when it was decommissioned as part of Brisbane's urban renewal. The area is to be known as Newstead RiverPark, with the Gas Works apartments to be included in the development. The outer frame of the gasometer will be retained as a feature of the area. In my recent photo (below), you can see the gasometer standing in the middle of the reclaimed area.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)
There has had to be a great deal of site rehabilitation done here. I'm not sure of the reasons for the contamination, but the process has been lengthy and arduous. I understand that the large site will contain commercial and retail tenants and a lot of green space. It should be great, but I do wonder whether the infrastructure here can cope with the influx of so many people.
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