Monday, July 27, 2009


When future generations look back on the millennium just past, the twentieth century, I wonder what will be the standout social change. Of course, the question itself implies that there will be future generations, which is just another thing that I wonder about. And addressing the second item first, one of the reasons that there may not be future generations is my answer to the first question. Are you confused? Me too! Anyway, back to my ponderings about what agent of change the twentieth century will be remembered for; and my answer is the motor car. Not the invention of it, because you, my intelligent reader, already know that the automobile (or the horseless carriage, the motor car or whatever other name it may have been known as) was invented in the century before that. However, during the twentieth century, methods of mass production (sounds similar to weapons of mass destruction, doesn't it!) and the increase in individual wealth and leisure time led to the present ubiquity of the motor vehicle. Wikipedia tells us that there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the world's roads in the year 2007. But this is not meant to be a diatribe against the car - I'm sure we are all aware of the issues. In our house, we have reduced the number of cars from two to one, and I cheerfully use public transport whenever possible. I know many others are using bicycles and walking in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. I actually love cars, and I used to love driving, too; at least up until recently when vertigo started to be a problem for me. (I bet you're glad I catch the bus now!) :-)

One of the things about cars is that, being a mechanical object, they sometimes break down. And if you are as mechanically challenged as I am, the very sensible thing to do is to belong to a motoring organisation that provides a 24 hour breakdown service. In Queensland, the premier motoring body is the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, or RACQ, which for over 100 years has been looking after the state's car owners and drivers. They have saved me more than once. Below is a photo of the opening of the Club's new service division in Spring Hill in 1953.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #20899)

In addition to its normal motoring services, the RACQ now also has major finance and insurance divisions and is a travel agent too. It has outgrown the Spring Hill premises, and moved to new corporate headquarters at Eight Mile Plains in 2002. It also opened a new claims centre at Acacia Ridge this year.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

These days, the former RACQ service centre is part of St Joseph's College (known as Terrace), a large Catholic school based on Gregory Terrace at Spring Hill. It is called "Waterford Place" and now appears to be an auditorium.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Noxious weed


  1. A very familiar place for me...

    some great research has gone into your blog here...thanks ...I will enjoy perusing it...and I think my family (siblings) will too!

  2. I used to work in this building when it was still owned by the RACQ. A few interesting points I learnt about this building when I was working there was that this building was this was the first building in the southern hemisphere to have rooftop parking (I think I have a scan of a newspaper article somewhere). This building was designed in such a way that additional levels could be built (hence the building having the funnel shaped columns). I was once told that it was planned to build another 7 stories onto this building so it could be the headquarters, but that never eventuated.


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