Friday, November 27, 2009

Reddacliff Place (Brisbane Square)

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.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; # 201413)

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.

(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

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.

tff

Next: Firefighters' fountain

10 comments:

  1. i ageree with you

    i haven't been to brisbane since that site was a park of green grass. i got accustomed to seeing grass through the 90s - i was shocked once a few years ago when i saw a photo of brisbane square taken from the victoria bridge - the high rise building looks like a bulwark, what an ugly and grotesque vista. i shake my head

    i vaguely remember the building adjoining reddacliff place to west being Trittons - as i right?

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  2. Yes, that's where Trittons was - the main entrance was in George St, but the store did go right through to North Quay.

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  3. anything on trittons coming up?

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  4. looking forward to it

    a few other requests, if i may ...

    * Dawn Cinema Chermisde
    * cinema on Ipswich Rd, Annerley, near intersection with Juliette St
    * what is now Coles at Greenslopes used to be a manufacturing palace, but the name escapes me
    * old Annerley or Woolloongabba before the housing resumptions in the 70s for the freeway

    that's enough requests for now. thanks very much

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  5. I'll certainly be looking at some of the old cinemas, although info on them is scarce. The Ipswich Rd theatre was the Boomerang - it was my local when I was a kid.
    The other requests depend on what info is available on them in the public domain.
    Thanks for your interest.

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  6. gosh, of course, the boomerang, what a crap memory i have since i turned a certain age. i went to see A Clockwork Orange and Natural Born Killers there in '94 or '95; shame to see those old cinemas go

    re: the boomerang as your local cinema - do you remember the mini-car racing place on the corner of juliette st and ipswich rd?

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. I feel like all the good architectural designs are being built too quickly so our future generations wont be able to appreciate originality.

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