Sunday, January 30, 2011

Corner Vulture and Stanley Sts, South Brisbane

My last post here contained a factual error that has been pointed out by an alert reader. The post was about the building below, positioned on the corner of busy Stanley St and Vulture St at South Brisbane, just above Southbank.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

I thought that the original building on this site was a corner store - these were very common during the years prior to the development of shopping centres and supermarkets. A photo on the BCC web site was incorrectly labelled as being this site, and the unusual sharp-angled corner seemed to match. However, the shop photo comes from further west along Vulture St, and I have actually posted a piece on that shop before. Rather than leave the incorrect information posted, I have removed it.

But what of this site? It was formerly a bank, a couple of readers indicated, perhaps built in the 1930s, which would certainly fit with the architecture. So far, I have not been able to identify the banking group concerned, but I have located a photograph at the John Oxley library headed "Mater HIll" taken around 1930, and I'm fairly sure that the building in the centre of the image is the one we are discussing. Memorial Park is in the foreground and the Mater Hospital at the rear.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #19887)

I am still searching for further details, and when I find more I will post it (FOUND - and posted here). I hate being wrong because it seems so careless on my part, but I am pleased that the error was discovered and brought to my attention so that it could be rectified.

Click here for a Google Map.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kangaroo Point Cliffs

I have previously described Brisbane as a young city, having been first inhabited by Europeans as a convict settlement in 1825 after the abandonment of the original settlement at Redcliffe that had commenced a year earlier. But that's only our history - it is of course part of an ancient continent whose indigenous inhabitants had thousands of years of history before John Oxley came here to survey the place. It is certain that the local aborigines, the Turrbal people, were well aware of the cliffs, as they fished all along the river. Oxley sailed up the Brisbane River about as far as where Goodna is now, and he noted the "high, rocky bank" of Kangaroo Point on the way. Going back, way back - to the development of the mountains in Eastern Australia - the Kangaroo Point cliffs were formed some 220+ million years ago, producing the porphyry or Brisbane Tuff stone that was quarried by the new settlers for roads and buildings. Pictured below around 1886 are the cliffs, with Naval Stores at the bottom and the Anglican Church of St Mary at the top.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #166641)

A reader of this blog, Cam Dunning, asked to see pictures or paintings of the cliffs prior to quarrying, but that's somewhat difficult because quarrying started in 1826 at the instigation of Captain Patrick Logan when he arrived to take charge of the settlement. The initial quarry sites were quite small; one directly underneath St Mary's and the other below where the TAFE once stood. The photo above shows the bank still covered by vegetation except for an area of exposed rock below the church. The photograph below was taken in 1913, and the quarry was more extensive by then. By the time quarrying finished, there was some 800 metres of the cliff that had been worked.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #94520)

The cliffs are now an iconic part of the city. Their ochre colour that changes with the light is visible down various corridors in the CBD. The next image was taken in 1969, looking down Edward St from Turbot St, and the cliffs can be seen in the background.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #lbp00105)

The cliffs have been integrated with the leisure aspects of Brisbane. Reader Cam climbs the cliffs, and people doing just that can be seen in my image below.
(Photo: © 2007 the foto fanatic)

Other facilities such as walking and bicycle paths, kayak hire, together with barbecue areas and coffee shops attract tourists and locals in large numbers. They are even lit at night to make them accessible 24/7.

Click here for a Google Map.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Flood update

I am showing no pictures in this post. I find it too distressing to photograph some of the things I am seeing, even in my own neighbourhood, at the moment.

Firstly, I was extremely lucky. Events like this are so random that it makes your head spin. We had minor inconveniences - losing the cable internet connection was about the most serious thing that we had to put up with. I had to move my 81 year-old mother to my sisters because she has had no power for three days and it could be several more days before it is reconnected. I helped some people in the lower levels of my apartment complex move furniture to higher ground in case we succumbed to the water, but it turned out to be unnecessary. We moved it all back today.

Last night we had some locals who were without power here for dinner, because we have been able to keep our food refrigerated and cook it. One local couple had house-guests from Sweden, so they came too. They were rather wide-eyed at what was happening, and they had their own flood story because they had been visiting friends in Goondiwindi and to get back to Brisbane to catch their flight out today, they had to drive from Goondiwindi to Newcastle and fly up from there!

My hosts from my recent trip to NZ emailed me to tell me that a relative of theirs was without power in a building across the road from my place, so we transferred her refrigerator contents to our place even though we had never met her before.

I went for a walk in my own neighbourhood today, and it was very sobering. Within a couple of hundred metres, houses are throwing their entire contents out onto the street. House after house had furniture, white goods, carpeting and foodstuffs piled on the footpath, and were cleaning their houses out with high-pressure hoses.

The local shopping centre is still closed, and the basement car park is full of water - right to the very top. All the shops - Coles, newsagent, banks, doctor's surgery, post office, fruit shop etc etc - will have to be cleaned and renovated. There is no stock in the supermarket, fruit shop or bakery. Streets are still barricaded off. Even where the water has receded, there is inches of filthy, foul-smelling sludge that will have to be shovelled off and disposed of.

The nearby place where my mother lives is a unit block housing about 30 war widows. It is owned by the War Widows Guild and provides cheap and secure accommodation for them. They are all around my mother's age, and they have no power, which means no lights at night and no hot water. They cannot watch their TVs or heat their food. They have all had to throw their perishables out, and the local shops cannot resupply. They will not have power back anytime soon.

All the ferry terminals around here have been trashed by the water, and the City Council says that the whole network will have to be rebuilt before the service can run again. Bus services have been cancelled too.

The sole purpose of recounting all of this is to ask each of you to think carefully about whether or not you could make a donation to one of the appeals for the flood victims that I have described here. Not for me personally - I have been extremely fortunate - but for the elderly, the infirm, the young families and the small business owners who have lost everything. Literally everything.

This is a really dire situation for many fellow Australians from all walks of life, in all age groups.

They all need your help. Please support them where you can.

Thanks for taking the time to read this plea.


Floods: 1974 and 2011

Here is a pictorial comparison of the Brisbane floods in 1974 with what has happened over the last few days, posted on the ABC News web site.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Next Post Unknown! Grounded by 2011 Floods

Not sure when normal transmission can be resumed.

Power and internet are problematic.

Public transport is virtually at a standstill. Even if you do have a motor vehicle, access to many parts of Brisbane, including the CBD, is severely curtailed. Police advice is for everyone to keep well away from flooded areas and off the roads for the present.

Having said all of that, we are OK even though we live right on the Brisbane River.

I'll post what I can when I can.

Cheers to all

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tennyson Power Station

In a wonderfully generous gesture, one of my readers sent me a collection of photographs taken by her father during the 1960s. Mary wrote that her father, who passed away in the 1990s, was a keen photographer who often took pictures on his way home from work at the Tennyson Power Station. Here is one of his photos of the power station.(Photo: © H Finn, M Phillips; date unknown)

Tennyson Power Station was built after the Brisbane City Council acquired the site on the Brisbane River, which was around 1947. The site was perfect for the purpose, because coal could be brought in by barge down the river from Ipswich, yet the powerhouse would only be a few kilometres from the CBD. The first stage of the utility was opened in 1953. The plant was assembled by BCC employees at a cost of around £1 million. It supplied electricity until its closure in 1986. Here is an aerial view of it in operation.(Photo: williampitt via
And the electrical control room; again from Mary's Dad:

(Photo: © H Finn, M Phillips; date unknown)

After the station was decommissioned, it stood idle for a couple of decades while its future was being debated. The large quantities of asbestos contained within the structure were also an impediment to renovation. Finally, in 2005, it was announced that developer Mirvac would commence a project that would provide Queensland with a brand new tennis centre, together with up-market apartment blocks and community amenities in this desirable area of the city. The power station, by then in an advanced state of disrepair, was then demolished in 2006; a loss felt keenly by those who had made it a clandestine venue of sorts during the time it was vacant. Here is the completed tennis centre hosting its annual tournament, this sunset photo from 2009 - it has mainly been grey skies and rain this year :-(
(Photo: tripletrouble via wikipedia)

Edit: This is the house that used to stand in this location - the beautiful Hayslope. It was demolished when the Brisbane City Council acquired the land. (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #47508)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Rock climbers
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