Monday, December 7, 2009

King Edward Park

Sixty-eight years ago today, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. This horrific act forced the United States to enter WWII, but it had other effects as well. It demonstrated the capability of aircraft carriers to transport bombers close enough to be able to launch raids on sites that were previously thought to be unreachable by air. Here in Brisbane, it caused our civic leaders to realise that it would be possible for the Japanese to attack Brisbane in the same manner, and these thoughts were reinforced when Darwin was attacked by air in early 1942. Brisbane City Council assumed responsibility for the construction of air raid shelters to provide protection for its citizens in the event that Brisbane was attacked. Some 235 shelters were constructed in the city and we have previously looked at those that stood in Ann St. There are some that still survive, thanks to the Council's wisdom in designing them to be used for other purposes at the end of the war. The photograph below, taken in 1963, shows those that were built in Turbot St at King Edward Park.
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; Image #BCC-B54-20589)

Brisbane City Council's architect in 1941 was Mr FG Costello, and he created several different types of air raid shelter, most of them designed to revert to another purpose, after minor modification, when the war ended. The one in King Edward Park was made from stone rather than the concrete used for others, and it became a bus shelter after the removal of some extra blast walls. Here it is today.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

As far as I am aware, there are no buses that actually stop here these days, and of course the trams that used to rumble past on the way up to Spring Hill have disappeared too. The shelter is now useful for those who need a rest before tackling the climb up Jacob's Ladder to Wickham Terrace.
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; Image #BCC-C35-1359318)

King Edward Park itself was neglected for many years, but recently the Council has seen fit to beautify both the park and Jacob's Ladder, and it is now a very attractive part of the city.

Click here for a Google Map.

Next: From retreat to attack

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