Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Queens Park (2)

We previously had a brief look at Queens Park from the perspective of it being an oasis in the middle of the city, but it is a site that, being so integral to the early days of Brisbane, has a lot of history. Let's take a leisurely stroll around the park to see what's there. Firstly, the reason it is called Queens Park is as a tribute to Queen Victoria, and her statue has pride of place in the park. The statue was partly funded by public subscription, and was unveiled in 1906 in front of the Executive Building (now the Conrad Hotel), and the then Executive Gardens were renamed Queens Gardens, but known these days as Queens Park. Facing the statue, with your back to the Treasury Casino across the road, presents this view.

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Now we are going to move around the park in a clockwise direction, coming firstly to this plaque set into the ground to the right of the statue of Queen Victoria.

That's right - the Anglican Parish of St John stood in this park during the time frame shown on the plaque, and it became the pro-cathedral when the Diocese of Brisbane was created in 1859. There are a couple of old photographs of this church, and here they are. Firstly, the exterior of the church as seen from William St in about 1876; then the interior photographed around 1889.
(Photos: State library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #64578)

(Photos: State library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #19041)

The foundation stone for the present Cathedral of St John in Ann St was laid in 1901, and the congregation eventually was able to move there.

As we continue our clockwise journey around the park, we come to a statue of TJ Ryan, who was Premier of Queensland from 1915 to 1919. The statue was sculpted by Bertram MacKennal and was commissioned by public subscription. It is situated at the entrance to the park on the corner of William St and Elizabeth St, and here it is.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Moving down the Elizabeth St frontage to the park (still going clockwise), we come to the newest monument - one dedicated to the servicemen AND servicewomen who sacrificed so much during WWII - that was erected in 1990 by the Queensland Service Women's Association.

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

This area of the park originally held the Church Institute and Synod Hall buildings associated with St John's, and when the State Government bought the land from the Anglican Church in 1899, these buildings were used by the Criminal Investigation Branch of the police. The buildings were demolished in 1962. This is what they looked like just prior to destruction.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #lbp00193)

Our final walk is up the George St side of the park, where, on the left of the statue of Queen Victoria is a Krupp 77mm field gun that was captured from the German Army in France in 1915. The inscription reads "On 18th August 1917, His Excellency Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams GCMG unveiled this Trophy of British Valour. Presented to Queensland by His Majesty King George V. at the request of Hon T.J. Ryan (Premier) through Lord Kitchener."

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Over the years this park has also been the focal point of gatherings and protest meetings, the most recent being a gay and lesbian demonstration in favour of same-sex marriages.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Across the road

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