Monday, May 31, 2010

Waterloo Bay Hotel, Wynnum

When I was a kid, one of the favourite school holiday pastimes was the building of a billy-cart and the subsequent racing of it down the nearest hill - the steeper the better. The day I had my sister in the cart with me and we lost a rear wheel during a race still lives in my memory. She jumped out of the cart after we had jarred to a stop and ran after the wheel which had careered off without us. Unfortunately there was another billy-cart right behind us, and it knocked my sister over onto the bitumen road. Result for her - bruises and grazed knees. Result for me - bruises to the buttocks from the "lesson" I learned later. My mother wanted to impress on me that my sister might have been hit by a motor-car instead of a billy-cart. Here's a picture of a billy-cart. This one is a proper one, and it shows how the name originated. It is being pulled by a "billy goat" and it is chauffeuring some kids past the Waterloo Bay Hotel at Wynnum. The photo was taken sometime around 1915 when the licencee was Robert Connell - his name can be seen above the name of the hotel.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #183257)

The Waterloo Bay Hotel was built in 1889 by a Mr George Gibbs, a stonemason from England. He was granted the licence to the hotel after its completion, and so he became a publican. Gibbs owned the hotel until ill-health forced him to sell it in 1892. The hotel was extended in 1918 to designs by architect GHM Addison, and here is a photo of it from 1940.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #183528)

The Waterloo Bay is still a popular bayside watering-hole down at Wynnum. The hotel's web site gives details of its current list of attractions, and here is a picture of the way it looks these days.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

And, dear reader, there is still the occasional "billy-cart" around the tff household - at the request of mrs tff! This is the type she favours - the luscious Billecart-Salmon champagne. It's much less dangerous than the other one! And, I'm sure you can buy it at the Waterloo Bay Hotel!
Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Recycling

Friday, May 28, 2010

Southport Bathing Pavilion

Still in the seaside town of Southport, today we are looking at a structure that is more symbolic of the area. It is a bathing pavilion, built so that visitors to the beach could change from their confining clothing into a swimming costume, known variously as a cossie, bathers, trunks or togs, depending on where you are from. Here is the Southport Bathing Pavilion, pictured in 1935.
(Photo: GCCC Library; Image #LS-LSP-CD086-IMG0055)

The pavilion was built in 1934 on the shore at the Broadwater at Southport. Designed by Hall & Phillips in a Spanish Mission style, the pavilion has some distinctive features: a decorative gabled entrance with three arches and some unusual "barley sugar" pillars. The pavilion has been maintained over the years and is now heritage listed. Here it is today, sheltered under a magnificent Moreton Bay fig tree.

(Photos: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Next to the entrance there is a plaque from the National Trust of Queensland that highlights the importance of the building - click the photo to see a larger image.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

No longer used as a bathing pavilion, it is now a storage area for the council's gardeners, but it's good to see that its original style has been retained for our benefit.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Billy carts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cable Park, Southport

You are reading this blog on a computer connected to the World Wide Web. Through this medium, the blog can be read almost anywhere in the world by a number of people simultaneously (I should be so lucky!), and the posts are visible the instant I upload them to Technology is fabulous these days - we have instantaneous email, and programs like Skype make international phone calls cheap and easy. Spare a thought for a time not all that long ago when there was no internet, no international telephones and only rudimentary cable communication existed between continents. An international telegraph link between Australia and Britain existed as far back as 1872, with the cable travelling through Singapore, India, Suez and Gibraltar. There were concerns about the high cost of this service as well as vulnerability of the cable in the event of war. For these reasons, it was proposed to lay another cable from Britain through Canada and across the Pacific Ocean to Australia, all via British Commonwealth land points. This was commenced in 1901, and was completed in 1902. Here is a picture of a crowd attending the event of the cable coming ashore at Southport in Queensland in 1902.(Photo: GCCC; Image No LS-LSP-CD129-IMG0005)

The new cable from Britain was laid to Canada which it crossed on the back of the Canadian Pacific Railway infrastructure to Vancouver, then via Fanning Island, Fiji, Norfolk Island and on to Southport. A branch split off to New Zealand. When the cable reached Southport, it was laid in a trench through the sand at Narrow Neck to a Cable Hut, where it was connected to a land line before being sent to the nearby Cable Station to be linked up with the Australian cable network. For a good few years, Southport was the epicentre of communication in Australia. The undersea cable was laid by two specialist ships, taking most of 1902 and costing £2 million. Although this cable ceased operation in 1962, the Cable Hut is still standing, preserved at Cable Park, Main Beach. (Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The structure above is the Cable Hut, where the incoming cable connected with the Australian land line. There is a plaque on the wall of the Hut (click the picture for a larger image):
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

A few metres away stands a cement plinth with a map on it. The map shows the route of the cable between Australia and Canada, and around the edge is written some facts about the distances involved. At the bottom is a quote from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and it says "I'll put a girdle around the earth in forty minutes". If only he had known that it would eventually take much less than that!
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Modern communication is wonderful and these days it is affordable for most of us. How lucky we are in comparison to our forefathers. On the subject of the internet and communication, today marks my 200th post on this blog. And they said it would never last! ;-)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Goin' for a dip in yer togs

Monday, May 24, 2010

Southport Town Hall

Please don't tell anyone, but this week's posts are about places outside Brisbane ;-) The indefatigable mrs tff recently was a lecturer at a medical course on the Gold Coast, and I went along as chauffeur, navigator, baggage handler and complaints resolution officer (the $29 glass of champagne my wife was served after a hard day on the hustings was FLAT! So was the barman after I had a word with him!) It was a tough gig, but I was up to the challenge. So was mrs tff, who has been invited back next year. This week we will be looking at Southport. Southport was Southport long before the Gold Coast was invented, if you catch my drift. The name "Gold Coast" was coined by journalists and developers (particularly Bruce Small, later to become mayor and chief promoter of the area) in the 1950s, and Gold Coast City was proclaimed in 1959. Southport, however, was established as a town way back in 1902 with a population of just over 1,000 (white) people. In fact, there is archeological evidence suggesting that indigenous history dates back at least a further 20,000 years prior to that. The Southport Town Hall was built in 1935, and here is a picture of the official opening on 2nd August 1935.(Photo: GCCC; Image No LS-LSP-CD063-IMG0044)

This wonderful Art Deco building was designed by Brisbane duo Hall & Phillips, and it replaced the former town hall, a timber structure built in the nineteenth century. TR Hall had formerly been in the architectural firm Hall & Prentice who had designed Brisbane's City Hall; subsequently he became a resident of Southport. We will see some more of the Art Deco inspired work by Hall & Phillips on the Gold Coast later. Here is another view of the Southport Town Hall from yesteryear,
(Photo: GCCC; Image No LS-LSP-CD094-IMG0005)

The building continued to be used by the Southport Council right up to the amalgamation of several local councils to form the South Coast Town Council in 1949. The new combined council then used this building as its headquarters until the renamed Gold Coast City Council built its new chambers at Bundall; but this building is still operating as a branch office of the GCCC. Major conservation and refurbishment work was undertaken in 1997, and the building, refreshed, withstands any scrutiny in comparison to other local structures. Here is the way it looks now.

(Photos: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Cable guys

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sandgate Baptist Church

The first Baptist church in Sandgate, a Brisbane bayside suburb, was built in Louden St in 1872. Subsequently, a parishioner donated a block of land for a new church - that block was situated at the shore, on The Esplanade. The new church was built to a design of the prominent architect (and staunch Baptist), Richard Gailey, who frequently donated his services for the construction of churches. This is our third Gailey design for the week, and the disparate trio shows us his versatility. The new Sandgate chapel opened and held its first service on Christmas Day in 1887. It is pictured below shortly thereafter, showing its nearness to the waters of Moreton Bay. Bathers and bathing sheds can be seen in the photo too.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #13198)

The church was fairly substantial, built to accommodate up to 350 Sandgate residents and holidaymakers. It cost £1300 to build, and was topped with a tall spire that needed to be erected by a specialist steeplejack. Because of its size, it was also used as a community meeting hall, and the local Freemasons also used it for their lodge meetings for almost 30 years.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The fine building still stands, and although it is no longer a church, it still serves the community as a childcare centre. The Esplanade is now called Flinders Parade; the bathing huts are no more; but the area is still a haven for relaxation. The building is in terrific order (click the picture to see a larger image), and it is a tribute to Richard Gailey and the early Baptists of Sandgate.

Click here for a Google Map.


Hall's hall

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Regatta Hotel, Toowong

The next Gailey structure for the week is the Regatta Hotel at Toowong, which has long been a favourite Brisbane watering hole. Just recently, it received fifteen minutes of national fame (not its first, either) when it was awarded a Gold Logie for best hotel. Not really :-) But veteran actor Ray Meagher did win Australian television's top gong, and referred to the venerable Toowong institution in his acceptance speech by declaring that the last thing he had won was a chook raffle at the Regatta in 1965. Meagher is a Queenslander from the country town of Roma who was a regular visitor to the Regatta in the sixties and early seventies when he was a first-grade player at the local Wests rugby club. Their Sylvan Road home ground is just down the street, and the Wests' players ran chook raffles at the Regatta every weekend. "Meggsy" Meagher, as he was then known because of his red hair and freckles, was already an aspiring actor; and I can remember what was probably his first ever television performance when he appeared in a commercial for Metropolitan Permanent Building Society (now Suncorp-Metway Bank) as "The Loan Arranger". That, of course, was a spoof on the Lone Ranger, with Meggsy in a mask atop a rearing horse, heroically organising home loans for Queenslanders. Here is a photo of the Regatta from around 1940 - just prior to Meggsy's time :-)
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #12977)

Actually there are a number of stories featuring the Regatta that I could regale you with - and several that I couldn't, fearing prosecution. There was the bloke dressed in a gorilla suit who turned up for a drink on his way to a fancy-dress party. A drunk emerging from the men's ablutions area took fright and punched him. Then there was the group of students who lived in a humble abode nearby who didn't have any outdoor furniture. They absconded with a table and four chairs from the Regatta's verandah, all transported home in a Mini. The table was supported above the roof by the hands of the passengers. I swear it's true! 
 (Photo: Courtesy Courier-Mail)

The last time the Regatta achieved national coverage happened to be back in 1965, when two women - Rosalie Bognor (above, L) and Merle Thornton - chained themselves to the bar in the Regatta, protesting against Queensland's archaic licencing laws that decreed that females were not allowed to drink in a public bar. The photo above and the story headlined around the world.


Edit: In April 2014, following renovations to the Regatta, this story was remembered with the naming of Merle's Bar - a tribute to Merle Thornton, one of the two women who made this historic protest. That is Merle, above. Read the details here

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #16169)

The first Regatta Hotel on this site was built around 1876, and was the single-storey structure above. Publican William Winterford bought the site, and engaged Richard Gailey to design a large hotel to be constructed in place of the earlier building. The new three-storey hotel was opened in 1887, and was situated ideally for people attending sailing regattas and rowing races on the Toowong Reach of the river. Being situated on River Drive (now called Coronation Drive) meant that the hotel had the normal issues with Brisbane floods. Here is a photo from 1908 showing the Brisbane River breaching its banks and flowing across River Drive. The new Regatta Hotel is visible in the picture.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #133441)

The design of the hotel was typical Gailey. Wide verandahs have unparalleled views of the river and provide breezeways for the patrons, and ornate cast-iron balustrades were a feature of the building. Unfortunately Mr Winterford's fortunes declined and he was forced to surrender the Regatta to the mortgagors. Fortunately, others were quick to take up the challenge and the hotel survives to this day. Here is a current picture of it.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Timber church

Monday, May 17, 2010


(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #63597)

Architect Richard Gailey (above) has already had plenty of exposure in these pages, but this week we are looking at three contrasting examples of his very eclectic work. Today we visit the grand house he designed for the Mayne family, built on a hill overlooking the river at Toowong. Here is an early photo of the house, pictured in 1918.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #74257)

Mrs Mary Mayne bought the property at Toowong in 1878 after the death of her husband Patrick, and the family moved there from their Brisbane residence. There was already a dwelling on the property called Moorlands Villa. After Mary died in 1889, her children decided to build a new house and they engaged Richard Gailey to design it. They named the house Moorlands, and it was built in 1892. Here is an photograph of the house that was taken in 1971, and below that is what the building looks like today.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #11848)

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The Mayne children (none of them ever married) owned the property until the death of the final survivor, Mary Emelia, in 1940; the house at this time was bequeathed to the University of Queensland. Moorlands was subsequently sold to the Uniting Church, and they built the Wesley Hospital in the grounds behind the house. The Wesley Hospital sign can be seen above the roof in the photo above. As well as the Gailey-designed exterior, the house is known for its internal timber detail and stained glass windows. An old gate that used to stand at the bottom of the property has been saved and shifted closer to the house.

(Photos: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

And finally, a view from the northern side of the house (above), featuring the tower which would have provided excellent views of the Brisbane River.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Chook raffle

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gateway Bridge (now Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges)

On 11 January 1986, Brisbane's Gateway Bridge was thrown open to pedestrian traffic in a special inauguration which will be repeated on Sunday when the duplicate bridge is accorded the same honour. Apparently there will be entertainment and a giant fish and chip fryup, so it should be a ton of fun. I remember the construction and opening of the first bridge for a couple of reasons. I was an avid golfer at the time, and the bridge spanned the Royal Queensland Golf Club where I played every Saturday. The course had to be shortened with some of the holes redesigned to allow the construction of the bridge. There was a deal of satisfaction when the bridge was completed and the course was free of obstructions like contractors' huts and vehicles, and it was returned to championship length. There were still some issues with local rules being created to allow for balls hitting the bridge pylons and so on. Most of us amateurs lobbed the occasional mishit tee shot from the 12th hole onto the bridge - I don't know what that would have done for the nerves of motorists traversing the bridge at the time. When Greg Norman played there, he just hit his shot straight over the top of it, so I heard - an option not available for mere mortals. One of the other issues was a most unfortunate one. The bridge became a prime site for suicides until special barriers were constructed to prevent them from occurring. Here is a photo of that bridge from 14 May 1986, the day it was officially opened by Prince Philip. The golf course runs along the river underneath the pylons on the far side of the bridge.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #78999)

I'm not playing golf these days, which is most disappointing, because I really miss it. Some sort of inner-ear issue has created havoc with my balance and I can barely stand up while swinging a golf club. My friends down at the club tell me that the course was completely redesigned for the new duplicate bridge and it is now better than ever. The bridges are also getting a new name - they will be known as the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges, named after a senior Queensland public servant who has just retired. The word is that the name is not popular with the populis, probably because most would never have heard of him. That's a shame, because he is a thoroughly nice man and has done a lot for Queensland in his completely understated and modest way - much more than many of the grandstanding politicians we have been lumbered with over the years. Just Google him and you'll see what I mean. Anyway, here are the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges, side by side - the new one is on the left.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Postscript: Here is a Courier-Mail photograph of thousands of walkers crossing the new bridge - some estimates say that over 100,000 Brisbane walkers took part.
  (Photo:; 16 May 2010)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Three of the best

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bulimba House

Bulimba is one of Brisbane's oldest suburbs, just under ten kilometres downstream from the CBD. The name Bulimba is an aboriginal word meaning "place of the magpie lark (peewee)". Initially it was a farming area, and the earliest white inhabitants were David McConnel and his wife Mary. In 1849-50 Andrew Petrie built a sandstone house there for them, and it remains Brisbane's oldest stone house. They were able to move in to part of the house at the end of 1849, and the rest was constructed while they were resident at the property. The sketch of the house (below), then called Toogoolawah, was made around the year 1851, and the photograph below that is undated.
(Photos: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #135747 & 199636)

The McConnels established a combination grain farm and cattle-fattening business at Bulimba, and by 1852 they were using the name Bulimba House for their property which had grown considerably, employing up to 100 men. Unfortunately Mrs McConnel became ill, and the property was sold in 1853 in order for the family to return to England. The buyer, Donald Coutts, subsequently subdivided the large holding into residential blocks, enabling housing to be constructed in the area. Bulimba House still stands between Coutts St and Kenbury St in Bulimba, but there is no view of the house from the street on the Coutts St side, and a tennis court and large wire fence on the Kenbury St side of the property have made photography difficult. Here it is, nonetheless - this is actually the rear of the house.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

here for a Google Map.


Next: Another Gateway

Monday, May 10, 2010

Water Reservoir Residence, Balmoral

Here is one of the coolest (figuratively and literally) projects to do with conservation and alternative use that I have yet seen. Pictured below is an ordinary concrete water tower that was constructed on a hill in the Brisbane suburb of Balmoral around 1939-40. These constructions are relatively common in Brisbane - they are simply very large rainwater tanks that store water which can then be fed down to the surrounding houses by gravity.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Later, when Brisbane's town water was delivered from nearby dams via treatment plants, these constructions became redundant. This one was sold by auction in 1992, and the imaginative new owners decided to convert it to a residence. The "adaptive reuse" project was developed by Brisbane architect Robert Riddel, and you can click here to glean some information about the water tower residence, including some internal photographs. Congratulations to all concerned - I love the whole idea of what has taken place here. The photo below shows the prime position of the tower, on the crest of a hill overlooking the Brisbane River.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Toogoolawah

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cleveland Lighthouse

I usually avail myself of public transport when I get out to take photographs for this blog, but sometimes that is just not feasible. Cleveland is about an hour's drive from where I live, and much longer if I were to try to get there on buses and/or trains. So I scheduled a day where I could prise the car keys from mrs tff's clutches, and duly drove down there to take photos for several posts that were in the planning stage. But the fickle gods of photography had other plans - firstly a storm, then rain, and then... (you'll find out at the bottom of this page). Cleveland is south-east of Brisbane, situated on Moreton Bay. It is now a suburb of the Redland City Council, so named because of the red soil of the area, originally a farming community. Shipping was the early form of transport to the region, and in 1864-5, a lighthouse was built for the safety of the vessels that plied the waters. Our historical photo today is actually a Christmas card from around 1908, showing some picnickers at Cleveland Point with the lighthouse in the background.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #193124)

The lighthouse was a hexagonal structure built from timber, and a kerosene lamp at the top provided the illumination to keep ships off the coastline and sandbanks nearby. It stood 10.6 metres above the high water mark and could be seen over 14 kilometres away. The lighthouse was designed by Capt GP Heath, RN - he was Queensland's first port master and a marine surveyor. The design allowed for the structure to be moved if the shoreline were to change, and it became the prototype of many other Queensland lighthouses. The light underwent several changes as technology allowed, culminating in the installation of an electric filament in 1934. This lighthouse remained in operation until 1975, when it was relocated to allow a more modern light to be installed in its place. Here is a picture of the structure being moved at that time - it was only moved about thirty metres.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #36434)
And my recent journey? After driving through a storm and then putting up with persistent rain whilst trying to take a couple of other photographs, I arrived at the lighthouse to find...
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The bloody thing was covered in scaffolding and swaddled in green netting. Not even a glimpse of the lighthouse to be seen. I've included a photo anyway, useless as it is. I'll replace it if I ever have a chance to get back to Cleveland in this lifetime. Those of you who can't wait that long can look here. Returning home, I investigate further, and find that the lighthouse needed to be restored after being eaten away by galahs! Now it has been photographed by one!

PS - A visit to Cleveland today (26/01/2012) disclosed that the renovation of the lighthouse is complete. Now it looks like this:
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Water wise

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

St John the Baptist Anglican Church, Bulimba

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The suburban church that I have photographed above has become quite a centre of attention recently.
The church is the Anglican church of St John the Baptist in the Brisbane suburb of Bulimba and the reason that it gets mentioned in the news is that a couple of the regular worshippers here are the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and his wife Therese Rein. There is often a swell of television cameras encircling the church and the nearby Riverbend Books and Teahouse (which on Sundays is apparently better known as K-Rudd Koffee Korner) hoping for a sound bite from the PM for their news bulletins. According to the sign at the front, this place has been Queensland Independent Bookshop of the year in six of the last seven years, and Australian Independent Bookshop of the year in 2006 and 2007 (see picture below - click for a larger view). No wonder the PM goes there!
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The church is a fairly old one - it was built in 1888 - and it is situated on the corner of Oxford St and Jamieson St, not far from the even older Uniting Church. The following photograph was taken shortly after the completion of the building, and prior to the building of the bell tower, which was not erected until 1915. Prior to the construction of this church, Anglicans firstly worshipped at Bulimba House, the home of local grazier David McConnel, and then at the little Christ Church at Tingalpa - we'll look at both of these later.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APO-017-01-0028)

The history of this parish and its building, including an interesting story about the bell, can be read at the church's web site.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Galahs

Monday, May 3, 2010

Waterloo Hotel

This photo was taken in Brisbane around the year 1890, and the information with it declares that it shows flooding around the Waterloo Hotel in Brisbane. Brisbane had floods in 1890 and 1893, so it's a guess as to which of those years it may have been.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #34223)

The only Waterloo Hotel in Brisbane that I am aware of is situated not far from where I live -
on the Ann St and Commercial Rd intersection in Fortitude Valley, pictured below.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

This Waterloo Hotel was built in 1937 in Art Deco style, so it is clearly not the building in the earlier photo. There is a Waterloo Bay Hotel down at Wynnum on Moreton Bay that was built in 1889 (we'll look at that one another time), but my assumption is that the hotel in the top picture was replaced in 1937 by the building in the second photo, on the original Fortitude Valley site.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

In any case, the Waterloo was, for a long time, a venue for live music (particularly Blues) in Brisbane. It is presently being renovated, and an office and residential tower is being included in those plans. The Art Deco styling of the hotel is being retained though. Click here to see the vision of the architects, Cottee Parker Pty Ltd, for this project.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Sound bites
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