Monday, March 30, 2009

William Jolly Bridge

Seventy-seven years ago today, the art deco styled Grey Street Bridge was officially opened by the Governor of Queensland, Sir John Goodwin, finally connecting Grey St, South Brisbane to Roma St at North Quay. The bridge was designed by local engineer AE Harding Frew and built by Brisbane construction firms MR Hornibrook and Evans Deakin, and the project provided much needed work during the Great Depression. The Grey Street Bridge was built between the years 1928 and 1932, during the tenure of William Jolly, Brisbane's first ever Lord Mayor. Here is a picture of the crowds present on the day of the opening of the Grey Street Bridge.
(Photo: State Library and Queensland and John Oxley Library; 34276)

In 1925, twenty local councils in the Greater Brisbane area were amalgamated, and William Jolly became the first Lord Mayor of the resultant Brisbane City Council. He served in that post from 1925 to 1931. William Alfred Jolly was an unassuming accountant from Windsor, who previously had been an alderman on his local council. Jolly was clearly energetic and committed to public service, as his list of achievements is impressive, including being a representative on the Hospitals Board and the Tramways Trust, president of Brisbane Rotary, and board member of the YMCA. Following his term in local politics, he successfully contested the federal seat of Lilley, then after his political career ended, became a member of the board of the National Australia Bank. The pictures below show William Jolly and his wife Lillie. They were taken in 1930, while Jolly was Lord Mayor.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #196481)

It was rumoured that Jolly was offered a knighthood but he declined, saying that he was concerned that it might interfere with his gardening. William Jolly died at his Windsor home in May 1955, and in July 1955 the Grey Street Bridge was renamed the William Jolly Bridge in his honour. (Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The photograph above shows the art deco inspired arches of the William Jolly Bridge today, taken from the bike track that runs parallel to Coronation Drive. Although some still refer to it by its original name, I prefer the use of its proper one, as befits the legacy of William Jolly.

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PS - This post comes as a result of a request from regular reader Malonie Blue, who is the great-granddaughter of William Jolly. Thanks Malonie!

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  1. Great looking art deco bridge and a nice photo ff.

  2. Thanks, that brought a big smile of delight tff!!. Your photograph is particularly spectacular. A beautiful day on the river, not a ripple in sight. I never actually met my great grandfather, as I was born 12 years after he died, but he left his legacy of eccentricity and public service on all of us that came later...I am a mad gardener and school teacher (although I don't think I'll ever get a knighthood for it!) My great grandmother I knew, and she was really that serious looking in real life. A very shy, humble and straight laced woman! (I think I take after William...)Thanks again tff you've made my day :) Malonie

  3. Excellent post, tff. I especially love the snippet about knocking back the knighthood - clearly a man with priorities! When I eventually get around to taking a photo of this bridge for my blog, I'll post a link to here.


  4. Nice having a bridge with that name, William Jolly !


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