Monday, September 7, 2009

Centenary Place

There are a few confusing elements about the subject of today's post. I'm not sure that I have all the answers, but let's examine the information.

Queensland celebrates its 150th year since separation from New South Wales this year, as Queensland officially came into being on 6 June, 1859. Maths wasn't my best subject at school, but I can add up! That means that the centenary celebrations should have occurred in 1959, doesn't it? Indeed they did! And yet, here we have Centenary Place, situated right where the CBD becomes Fortitude Valley, which was commenced in 1924 and officially opened in 1925. Why is this so? It turns out that the Centenary being celebrated by the establishment of the park is 100 years of European settlement in Queensland, and that dates back to 1824. Well, any reason for a party I guess. :-) The picture below was supposedly taken around 1925 when the park was opened, and shows a schoolboy on the steps in the park under the "Centenary Place" sign.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #83069)

The statue behind the schoolboy is that of Robbie Burns, the famous Scottish poet - you can read more about the statue and Burns here. However, the State government's EPA site says that the statue of Burns was not commissioned and erected until 1929, so the photo could not have been taken before then. A further confusion occurs because there is another statue in the park - one of former Queensland Premier, Thomas Byrnes, by all accounts a very popular man himself. And, this park is only five minutes walk from the shopping district at Fortitude Valley, where there used to be the TC Beirne's department store. "Meet you at Beirne's in the Valley!" Burns, Byrnes, Beirne's?
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

During the sixties, Centenary Park became the Brisbane centrepoint for free speech, and there was a regular forum there each Sunday to allow soap-box orators to vent on all manner of topics of the day. The park had a makeover in 1999-2000, but the stone stairway featured in the original photograph remains, recaptured in my recent photo (above). Wary of offering a schoolboy a treat to pose for a photograph in the park, I have no human form to show you! Even the statue of Poet Burns (not Premier Byrnes!) has now been camouflaged by greenery, much as Centenary Place itself is camouflaged by mixed messages.

(Click for larger: Left
- Burns; Centre - Byrnes; Right - Beirne's.
Photos: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

Oh - and by a complete fluke, today's post happens to be the 100th on this blog! Another centenary! Time for a party! :-)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Museum to library

1 comment:

  1. Ha! there's something in that!

    Happy anniversary - it's a fab blog.


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