At the time that I left school to enter the workforce, there was no shortage of jobs available - unlike today when even university graduates can't be sure of success in finding work. I was able to apply for a job at a number of government departments, banks and insurance companies, all of which absorbed large numbers of young people entering the work force for the first time. Because I began work in an insurance office, I got to know where all the insurance buildings were. This one (below) was my favourite. It is the Prudential Building that used to stand on the corner of Queen St and North Quay, and I loved its art deco lines and the brick facade. Prudential was a well-known British insurance company that opened branches all over the British Empire, and this building housed its Queensland Head Office. The photograph dates from 1958.
Regrettably, the site has been redeveloped. That's a word often used as a euphemism to describe the destruction of something that may have had historical significance or artistic merit to be replaced, usually with something bland and modern. I have been in the Prudential Building many times, and it was a delight. I suppose that its six storeys just didn't provide enough of a return for its fairly large footprint.
Here is what the site looks like today. We have what passes for "green space" in the front - just concrete with an occasional tree for comic relief. The concrete reflects our tropical heat straight back up to pedestrians - more on this when I revisit King George Square in a future post. A huge rectangular office tower that is not really any different from most of the others around it is nearby, with the only offset to this drabness being the colourful blocks with their abstract windows at the lower levels. This area is quite significant, because it is close to where the colony began back in 1825; and it is also part of the vista from Victoria Bridge as you cross to the CBD. As a personal view, I don't think that the redevelopment has the same impact as the older building, more's the pity.
Click here for a Google Map.
Next: Firefighters' fountain