Monday, May 18, 2009

Botanical Gardens

The Alice St Botanical Gardens are meant to be one of Brisbane's quiet and restful places of contemplation. But I never liked going there. My earliest memories are of the days when there was a zoo of sorts there, and the animals and birds seemed to be held captive in the most deplorable conditions. After that, I recall them as being the marshalling yards for Brisbane's secondary schoolkids for the annual march through the city streets. Thousands of kids would be herded in to the Gardens in Brisbane's hot and humid climate, implored to be at their best behaviour. Naturally, there was the inevitable hand-holding, smoking and doing a runner into the city. And that was just the teachers :-) Today's picture, from 1952, is taken from the Gardens, looking across the river towards Kangaroo Point, and shows the 200 million year-old cliffs, St Mary's Anglican Church (constructed 1872-3), and the old Naval Stores that date back to 1886.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #17282)

Brisbane City Council decided to build new Botanical Gardens at Mt Coot-tha, far away from the Brisbane River. I guess they figured that might be cheaper than continually replacing plants and rebuilding paths each time the river flooded. The Alice St Gardens now are a lot different to my schoolday memories. The adjacent QUT furnishes plenty of students who use the area, the bike track along the river from New Farm to Toowong passes through the Gardens, and the Goodwill Bridge provides pedestrian passage between Southbank and the western end of the Gardens. Here is a recent view from the Gardens to Kangaroo Point.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The Gardens now has RiverStage for concerts, and is a great vantage spot for any city fireworks displays. As can be seen in my picture, it also remains a very popular mooring area for the many yachts that visit Brisbane, especially during our beautiful winters. And my most recent visit, apart from riding through it on a bike, was for the wedding of our close friends a few years ago, and it proved to be an admirable venue.

here for a Google Map.


Next: Nuts to you


  1. Hi there,

    I have heard there was a zoo at the Mt Cootha botanic gardens as well. Do you know anything about this?



  2. I haven't been to the Mt Coot-tha gardens for some time, but as far as I am aware there is no zoo there.

  3. I realise there isn't one there now. The Zoo I'm referring to was there during WW2. This is the only reference I can find to it.

    "The small zoo on Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane"

    There was a small zoo located near a searchlight unit associated with an anti-aircraft battery on Mt. Coot-tha in Brisbane during WW2. Arthur MacArthur, the son of General Douglas MacArthur would regularly visit the small zoo with his parents. Douglas Campbell, the Lieutenant in charge of the searchlight unit often met with and became well known to the MacArthurs during their visits to the zoo." []

  4. How interesting! Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding of your earlier message.

    That is the first I have heard of such a zoo, but I will see what I can discover.

    Thanks again!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...