Friday, November 19, 2010

Wickham Terrace car park

It's all a bit non-PC to talk about inner-city car parks these days, of course. We don't want to attract cars into our cities, we want residents to use public transport and green transport such as walking and cycling.

But fifty years ago, when the post WWII economy saw motor cars start to become affordable for average families, local governments were very busy constructing roads and providing car parks. One of the earliest car parks within Brisbane's CBD was to be built on Wickham Terrace at Spring Hill, directly behind Central Railway Station. The two photographs below show where the building was to be erected - right where the huge clump of Moreton Bay fig trees stand.

(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; #BCC-B54-12285)

The picture above was taken in 1959, just before work started on the car park. Richard Gailey's Baptist Tabernacle can be seen in the background. Below, one of Capt Frank Hurley's photographs of Brisbane was taken from a high position on the other side of Edward St, showing a much different Brisbane skyline through to the Story Bridge.
(Photo: Capt Frank Hurley)

The Wickham Terrace car park was designed by architect James Birrell of the Brisbane City Council, and was constructed in off-form concrete by contractors Theiss Bros during 1959 and 1960. The photograph below shows a Theiss sign on the car park whilst it was under construction.
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; #B54-16281)

The building was originally seven floors at the high Edward St end and eight at the lower Creek St end, and two more floors were added later. A feature at the Creek St end of the structure is the semi-circular ramp that allows cars to exit the building without having to drive past the cars parked on each floor. The architect's description of the car park can be read here.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

And, as my recent photograph above shows, the Moreton Bay figs that were probably heavily pruned during the construction period show no ill effects, and are as dense as ever.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Tattersall's

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