Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doggett's Cottage, Fortitude Valley

Henry Doggett, known by most as Harry, was the mayor of Brisbane in 1913. He was originally a builder and bricklayer, and he built his family home in Arthur St, Fortitude Valley in the 1880s. This is it.(Drawing: Anne Green, "Not to be Trusted"; Boolarong Publications, 1979)

I found a drawing of the house in an old book lent to me by a friend (thanks Janet!).

Not a lot is known about Harry really. The next street to the west of this was named Doggett St in his honour. Harry died in 1927, but the house was held within his family until the 1970s; then it was used for commercial purposes for a time. It is now a private residence once more.

The house was built of brick on a porphyry base, and its wonderful condition now is testament to Harry's skill in constructing it 130-odd years ago.

(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Warrawee, Toowong

It's remarkable how strong childhood memories can be, and how long they live on in the human memory banks. My father was one of Brisbane's great rat-runners. (A rat-runner is a driver who uses back streets, rather than main roads, to navigate the city.) In the sixties when he was frequently driving me to some destination or other, he had all sorts of devious tricks to avoid the heavier traffic and the traffic lights on arterial roads. He thought they were a nightmare then - I'd hate to think what he would be saying about the congestion and confusion on those roads today.

Anyhow, one of his favourite routes was around the back of the suburb of Toowong, steering clear of Milton Road and Coronation Drive. He used to dart up Miskin St and around Dean St, past the cemetery and along Frederick St, thereby missing most of the Toowong and Milton traffic. He wasn't Robinson Crusoe - those streets themselves are now quite busy and have flyovers, roundabouts and traffic lights to bedevil motorists. Dad would be horrified.

On Dean St there was a house that I would gaze
at admiringly. To me, it was the epitome of a posh residence, and I mean that in a positive way. To a kid living in a cement box in an outlying Housing Commission area, this house represented absolute luxury. The dual staircase at the front and the chimney on the roof spoke to me of opulence and extravagance. The cast iron balustrading and the columns on the verandah indicated taste and class to my teenage brain. Here's a photo - look for yourself.(Photo: © 1979 National Trust of Queensland)

(Photo: DERM)

Much as I admired it then, I had no knowledge of its history; and I don't know much more about it now. The house is Warrawee, built in the 1880s on a large hilltop estate at Toowong. From what I see at the Queensland Heritage Register, it was built on land that was owned by an Albert White, and then rented to an executive of an insurance company. Apparently it was rented during much of its life. If I recall correctly, the house was used in at least one television advertising campaign for a home lender, and it has appeared in numerous real estate magazines and newspaper real estate sections. Here is a photograph of the southern side of the property.
(Photo: DERM)

The land that surrounds the house was eventually sub-divided, and the area is now very suburban. A street to the rear of the residence was named Warrawee St after the property. These days the house is shielded from the busy road by a clump of trees, thus precluding wistful looks from kids being driven past by their dads. This is a recent photograph taken from the front gate.(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

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EDIT July 2011: I can now advise that this house is for sale. You can see the details and some wonderful photographs of the house here.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

St Andrew's Anglican, South Brisbane

He was Italian and Catholic, and he had designed several buildings for the Catholic Church. Then he was commissioned to design a church for the Anglican community at South Brisbane. He was Andrea Stombuco, and this is the church that he designed - St Andrew's, pictured in 1947.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #201119)

It seems to happen frequently with grand churches. The diocese runs out of money before the architect's dream can be fully realised. That happened here - construction work started in 1878, but ceased before long because funds were depleted. They started on it again in 1882, finishing it in the following year; but Stombuco's plans included a tower and a spire that have not been built to this day. An extension designed by HWK Martin was added in 1887. Further work was done to enlarge the nave in 1931 under the supervision of Lange Powell. Here is the church today, this time from the eastern side.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

St Andrew's inhabits one of the busiest areas of South Brisbane. Roads on either side are main through-roads, and parking is scarce. I suppose things might be more relaxed on Sundays when the main congregation attends church, but on the day I was there I felt that I was risking life and limb to take today's photograph.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Glen Lyon, Ashgrove

Leafy Ashgrove is one of Brisbane's more desirable suburbs. Only 5 km or so north-west of the CBD, it contains lots of beautiful Queenslanders (houses, not people; although I hasten to add that the people are probably beautiful too!) along its tree-lined avenues. Alexander Stewart, an early settler near Enoggera Creek which flows through the suburb, had quite a remarkable house built on his property. It seems that the residence was probably designed by architect James Cowlishaw around 1876, although Cowlishaw's involvement is not absolutely certain. Here is the house, pictured on Stewart's 100 hectare estate in 1890. The property was named Glen Lyon, after Stewart's Scottish birthplace.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APA-016-01-0010)

Stewart, a prominent businessman, passed away in 1918 and Glen Lyon was sold. The property was sectioned off into housing blocks to be sold to the public. The grand house and the gardens were snapped up by the Catholic church. They rented it to the Marist Fathers who used it as their monastery. After renting for a couple of years, they bought the house in 1930. The following picture dates from 1931.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #199270)

The next photo shows the original billiard room that was converted to a chapel.
(Photo: © 1979 National Trust Queensland)

The house was sold by the Marists in 2003, and I believe that it is now in private hands. My photograph below shows the residence now, photographed from the same aspect as the top photo. The smaller building to the left of the house was probably the original servants' quarters.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Enoggera Reservoir, The Gap

Water is the subject of much discussion these days. We have finally been made to realise just what a precious commodity it is, and we are paying a price for our previous profligacy. Too high a price, I think. Whilst I understand that it must be treated as a limited resource, I object to the multiple layers of government and therefore public servants that have been created to do the managing. We now have argy-bargy between local and state governments about the cost of water, and a new scapegoat "Urban Utilites" whose job it is to be blamed by everyone else. As it happens, I just opened my "Urban Utilities" water bill today, and I may not shower for the next week or two. After all, it is nearly winter.

Brisbane gets its water from all over the place. There are multiple dams linked into the water grid, and engineers can control the flow from each one. If we go back to drought conditions, we can summon up desalinated water or recycled water to add into the mix.

Brisbane's (in fact Queensland's) first major dam is the Enoggera Dam, about ten kilometres from the CBD in the suburb of The Gap. This dam was commenced in 1864 and finished in 1866, and was built to replace the previous water supply that emanated from Wheat Creek in the city. Here is a photograph of the Enoggera Dam from around 1888.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #103357)

After the dam was finished, a couple of service reservoirs were built on Wickham Terrace to hold water for Brisbane residences. The dam's engineer, Joseph Brady, designed a very efficient dam that had three outlet pipes to draw water, rather than the usual single or dual pipe systems. This photograph is from 1912.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #103359 )

The dam gathers water from Enoggera Creek, a tributary of the Brisbane River, and is set amongst bushland in what is now Brisbane Forest Park. Being relatively close to the city, it has long been a favourite spot for a walk or a picnic. These folks were heading for a picnic at the reservoir back in 1900.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #103338)

After the construction of the Wivenhoe Dam, which was not only meant to supply enough water to last South-East Queensland until eternity, but also prevent flooding in the area (neither aim has been achieved!), the Enoggera Dam was decommissioned in 2003. But the ensuing drought saw the infrastructure being brought back into service, and I dare say that it might be operating for a few years yet. Here is a recent picture.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Cremorne, Hamilton

(Photo: © 1979 National Trust Queensland)

This is one of the most spectacular timber houses in Brisbane. It is perched on the side of Hamilton hill with views across the Brisbane River and beyond. The house was built circa 1905 for JD O'Connor of the eminent publican family. The design was from Sydney-trained but Queensland-owned firm Eaton & Bates, who favoured pavilions and deep verandahs, both extremely suitable for our sub-tropical climate, and both are used extensively in Cremorne.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #80450)

The following photograph was taken in around 1906 and gives an idea of the extensive views - the Brisbane River is in the background. Three generation of the O'Connor family lived here until the property was sold in the 1990s.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #80451)

JD O'Connor and his brother Denis owned or had interests in hotels throughout Brisbane, among them the Wickham, the Treasury and the Prince Consort.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

Cremorne is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register, where it is described this way:
"The house is almost L-shaped in plan, and has a corrugated iron roof which is a complex of hips, gables, ridges and pavilions, with decorative gablets and finials, and three brick chimneys. There are verandahs, with separate roofs, on all four sides. Several of these have been enclosed. The open verandahs all have simple timber balustrading and timber frieze, and ceilings of narrow tongue and groove timber. Most of the walls are single-skin tongue and groove timber, but where exposed to the weather, are clad externally with chamferboards."

Naturally I haven't been inside the house, but apparently the interior is just as grand as the outside. Pressed metal ceilings and stained glass windows are present, fireplaces with marble surrounds in some rooms, as well as timber arches in many entrances.
(Photo: © 1979 National Trust Queensland)

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Australian American War memorial, Newstead Park

(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

It seems to me that there are only a couple of reasons why Japanese is not my native language. The first is the heroic action of the diggers on the Kokoda Track and the second is the Battle of the Coral Sea. Both of these significant events repulsed the southward movement of the Japanese armed forces who were desperate to reach Port Moresby. Once there, the next step would have been the invasion of Australia.

Last week was the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. It occurred between 4 May and 8 May 1942, and from a naval history perspective it was significant because it was the first naval battle where the opposing ships didn't fire on each other directly. In fact, they didn't even see each other - the battle was fought by planes launched from aircraft carriers.

Opposing the Japanese Navy in the Coral Sea was an Allied force of American and Australian ships. The assistance of the Americans in this battle has never been forgotten.
In 1951, the Australian-American Association erected the first American war memorial in Australia at Newstead Park (the grounds that surround Newstead House, which was occupied by American forces during WWII). Here is a picture of the man who sculpted the eagle on the top of the memorial, Tom Farrell of Ipswich, at work on the project; below that is the finished eagle.
(Photo: www.ipswich.qld.gov.au)

(Photo: http://www.qldwarmemorials.com.au)

The following photograph shows a service held at the memorial in 1954 to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea. The American officers are Admiral Halsey and Commander Kitchell.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #195462)

And here is a photo that shows the 12-metre memorial in its setting at the northern end of Newstead Park, next to Breakfast Creek. It was taken in 1961.
(Photo: nla catalogue; #4590773)

I took another photo of the memorial recently, and the change in Brisbane's skyline can be seen in the emergence of apartment blocks along the riverfront.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

The long rectangle on the right side of the Australian American memorial indicates the name of this area of the park, Lyndon B Johnson Place. To the right of that (out of picture) is the memorial to the Australian Corvette naval ships.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Lahey's timber tramway, Canungra

As free settlers commenced to arrive in Brisbane, there was a requirement for building materials. The Gold Coast hinterland proved to be a rich source of much needed timber. One of the early timber families in the area was the Lahey family, who constructed a sawmill at Canungra in 1884. The Laheys built up considerable land holdings nearby, and carted the trees felled on their properties to the sawmill by bullock team. Sawn timber was also hauled to the rail head in the same fashion. The following photo shows dressed timber being carted across Bennoble crossing to the railway. It dates from 1916.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #423513)

As the timber near the sawmill was harvested, trees had to be cut further afield. This meant that fetching the logs to the mill involved longer distances and greater travelling time. The Lahey family's solution to this problem was mechanisation, and they set about constructing a private tramway to the mill. In 1900 they commissioned a detailed engineering survey that was performed by George Phillips. The tramway needed a powerful locomotive to handle the steep grades and heavy loads, and this is the one they used. It is a Climax geared locomotive that was ordered from the United States in 1900, and arrived in 1903. It is photographed below in 1905, being used on this occasion for a picnic excursion.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #69499)

One of the engineering problems encountered for the construction of the tramway was traversing the Darlington Range to reach the mill in Canungra. The solution was to drill a tunnel through the sandstone mountain. The construction of the tramway was performed by a Mr Clark, who was able to cut through the sandstone, although it took a couple of years. The tunnel was in use by 1903 and here is a photograph of the locomotive approaching it with a full load of fresh lumber. This image is from 1912.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APE-026-01-0010)

Because the tunnel was cut through tough sandstone, there was no requirement for lining or support. The tunnel was some 91 metres in length, and is straight - hence each end of the tunnel is readily seen from the other. The total track laid for the tramway over its active life was more than 26 km.

By the 1920s, the timber in the area was mostly exhausted, and the tramway was only used occasionally. The line was dismantled around 1933 and the bogeys and other equipment were sold by 1935.
During WWII the tunnel was used to store explosives from the nearby Kokoda Barracks at Canungra.

In 2001 the tunnel was reopened for pedestrian and tourist activity following a government grant. Recent heavy rain has temporarily caused closure of the tunnel because of land slippage in the area, but this is the way it looks now.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Hinde family, macadamia pioneers

(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

Do you like macadamia nuts? I do! Somewhere amongst the trees in the photograph above is the grand-daddy of all macadamia trees. It is located on a property once owned by the Hinde family, situated at Gilston in the Gold Coast hinterland. The gate was locked and I didn't want to walk in uninvited to find the tree, which has been marked with a metal tag.(Photo: DERM; 2008)

Michael James Hinde selected this land that runs along the Nerang River in 1879. While walking from there to visit the woman who was to become his wife, he found some native macadamia nut seedlings which he replanted on the property that he had named Colliston. He was principally an orange grower, but when his orange trees started to decline in the 1920s he planted macadamia trees in-between the orange trees. The macadamias came from those original seedlings.

Commercial macadamia plantations began to emerge in the early part of the twentieth century in Queensland. A small orchard of about thirty trees was established on Colliston. Some co-operation developed between the Hinde family and the state department of agriculture on the cultivation of the trees as well as their potential for commercial production. MJ Hinde's brother George also provided an article for the Queensland Agricultural Journal that showed where the trees grew natively around the Gilston area. There were three species of macadamia tree growing on Colliston, and one outshone the others for commercial use. It became known as the H2 Hinde tree. The H2 Hinde tree on Colliston is the parent tree from which all other clones of this variety were propogated. The H2 Hinde variety is the dominant stock kept by nurseries, and it is estimated that 90% of all grafted commercial trees stem from this species of macadamia. By pure chance,
over Easter I was visiting some friends who have relatives in the macadamia nut business around the Glasshouse Mountains. I had an opportunity to ask about their trees - every one of them is an H2 grafted plant.
(Photo: http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/35977894)

The photo above shows a large family group at a picnic at Gilston around 1927. Fourteen of the group are Hindes, and the figure at the left rear of the photograph is George Hinde.

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