Friday, December 3, 2010

Commerce alley, Queen St

Nothing quite shows the changes in Brisbane like the following photographs of Queen St. I'm not sure of the vintage of the black and white photograph, but based on the vehicles I'd be guessing that it might be early post-WWII. The black and white format and the dignity of the buildings is really nostalgic, don't you think?
(Photo: NLA; #an23478405)

The next photo was probably shot about twenty years later, but still before we lost all of the beautiful architecture evident in the earlier picture.
(Photo: Courtesy Leonard John Matthews; flickr)

And it's not only the changes to the brick and mortar that are evident either! My forty years in the financial services sector has made it extremely interesting to me to note the changes in the institutions that once lined Brisbane's main CBD carriageway. Looking down the left hand side of Queen St towards Edward St, we can see:
  • ES&A Bank - (English, Scottish & Australian) eventually merged with ANZ
  • City Mutual - became Capita, then was absorbed by MLC
  • National Mutual - now Axa, and for sale. May be picked up by AMP, which in my day was unimaginable!
  • Colonial Mutual - demutualised to become Colonial; now part of Commonwealth Bank
  • GPO
  • Commonwealth Bank
  • Commercial Bank of Australia (later merged with Bank of NSW to become Westpac)
  • AMP where I worked for about 15 years
Out of sight on the near LHS corner was the CBC (Commercial Banking Co of Sydney) which later merged with NAB; and on the other side of Queen St were: ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank, Bank of NSW (now Westpac) and another Commonwealth Bank.

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Now we see:
  • unnamed corner building, 307 Queen St
  • Suncorp
  • Manor Apartments
  • GPO
  • Bank of Queensland
  • MacArthur Chambers
This really is history changing before my eyes! This precinct is now largely retail and residential, rather than commercial as before.

Click here for a Google Map.

We have arrived at the end of another Your Brisbane year. The blog will now be on a break until mid-January 2011. This gives your blogger a chance to regroup.

Thank you to my readers, whether regular or occasional, and special thanks to those who contacted me with feedback, story ideas and information.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year full of love and laughter.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


At the bottom of our last post, we saw the modernised Art Deco woolstore, W4. This building was erected in stages through the 1930s, and was then converted into apartments as part of Brisbane's riverfront renewal. This is what it looks like now.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The site was originally developed back around 1910, when Frederick Sturmfels, a grazier from Oxley (now a western suburb of Brisbane) built a woolstore to hold his wool for sale. Sturmfels gradually increased his business interests, and eventually merged with Queensland Primary Producers Co-Operative Association in 1941.
(Photo: Couretsy DERM)

The building continued as a woolstore until it was sold in 1976 to an investment company. It was renamed Commercial House, and was used for storing motor vehicles as well as office space. The image above shows the frontage of the building at that time, and the following one shows a wider view of the frontage and the Helen St side of the building.
(Photo: Courtesy DERM)

Isn't it great to see these old buildings retained and re-energised.

Click here for a Google Map.


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