Monday, December 30, 2013

Changing face of Brisbane - cnr Maxwell St & Merthyr Rd New Farm

What does the passing of years do to a Brisbane streetscape? Here are before and after photographs to show fifty years of change in the near-city suburb of New Farm.

Here is the corner of Maxwell St and Merthyr Rd at New Farm photographed in 1962. The houses are low set and the Story Bridge is clearly visible in the background. 

(Photo: Brisbane City Council; BCC-B54-17857)

When we revisited the site recently, most of the houses have been replaced by apartment buildings or larger residences. That, and the mature trees, have all but hidden the bridge from view - you can just see an upper span above the red car if you look very closely. The other change is the emergence of large office and residential towers in the CBD behind the bridge.

(Photo: © 2013 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Changing face of Brisbane - Corner Ann St and Wickham St, Fortitude Valley

A quick pictorial for Christmas. Three views of the intersection of two of Brisbane's busiest streets - Ann St and Wickham St at the lower end of Fortitude Valley.

The building in the foreground is Metropolitan Motors.
(Photo: Brisbane City Council; BCC-S35-97186)

Same building, now housing Windscreens O'Brien. Whose idea was it to erect that awful monument to Brisbane?
(Photo: Brisbane City Council; BCC-B120-15126)

Monument gone, thank goodness! The whole area has been redeveloped and is now one of Brisbane's finer shopping and eating precincts.


(Click here for a Google Map)


Monday, December 16, 2013

Gasworks Plaza, Newstead

Let there be light.

Before electric light there was gas lighting in Brisbane. The Brisbane Gas Company started producing in 1865 at its site at Petrie Bight, and Brisbane's expanding population over the ensuing two decades demanded that a second facility be constructed at Newstead. That gasometer was erected in 1887 and operated through to 1996 when natural gas took over.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #10189-0002-0027)

We previously looked at this site when it was first being redeveloped. All of that reclamation work has finished, but there are still cranes and workmen there constructing apartment buildings, office towers and shopping complexes.
(Photo: © 2013 the foto fanatic)

I dined there just recently with some old friends (well, they're not old and neither am I - it's just that we have known each other for a long time) and I noticed that the new coffee shops, bars, restaurants and provision shops next to the gasometer are doing a roaring trade.
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The remaining frame of the gasometer has been made a feature and is lit up at night, making it somewhat of an attraction in its own right.

Click here for a Google Map.


Monday, December 9, 2013

El Nido, Hamilton

Spanish Mission styled houses are fairly rare in Brisbane. We have previously looked at the attractive Santa Barbara at New Farm, designed by architect EP (Percy) Trewern and built in 1930.

Percy Trewern was again the designer for today's heritage listed house, El Nido, also of Spanish Mission design, situated on a marvellous site overlooking the river at Hamiton. It pre-dates Santa Barbara by a couple of years. Here it is, photographed in 1954 and all dressed up for the visit of QEII - the actual monarch, not the ship.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #150390)

Percy Trewern was born in Bendigo, and worked as a draughtsman for the Queensland Public Works Department before establishing his own architectural practice in Brisbane in 1920. He became extremely successful, especially noted for adapting the Spanish Mission and California bungalow styles to Queensland. He also designed commercial buildings such as Inchcolm on Wickham Terrace.

Here is a recent photograph of El Nido taken from Kingsford Smith Drive.
(Photo: © 2013 the foto fanatic)

El Nido was offered up for sale earlier in the year, having last been sold in 2010 for around $2.8 million. Here is a link to the details of the proposed sale - you will see some lovely photographs of the interior too.

Click here to see a Google Map.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Berry and MacFarlane Monument, Sherwood

Sending young men off overseas to wage war over wealth lying beneath the ground is, unfortunately, not a new occurrence. At the very start of its existence Australia was in the throes of war. The second Boer War in South Africa started in October 1899 when the South Africans decided that they had had enough of the British annexing their land and eyeing off the gold and diamonds beneath it. This resulted in Orange Free State and Transvaal declaring war on Britain.The imperialist British politicians were up for the fight, and very quickly requested backup from their colonies around the world.

Prior to Federation the individual colonies raised volunteers to aid the "Mother Country" in the fight against the Afrikaners, and then following their assimilation into the new country of Australia, the nation itself continued to supply soldiers to this war. About 16,000 Aussies, including many Queenslanders, served in this brutal war in which 282 men died in action, a further 286 died from disease and another 38 died from accidents. Six Victoria Crosses were awarded as a result of heroism during the Boer War.

Amongst the Queenslanders who went over to South Africa were two lads from the then rural area of Sherwood, situated about 8 km from Brisbane. They were Robert Edwin Berry and John MacFarlane, both of the Fifth Contingent of the Queensland Imperial Bushmen (5QIB). They are pictured below.



The Fifth Queensland Imperial Bushmen left Australia in two tranches - 6th March 1901 and 10 March 1901 - and the contingent returned on 30 April 1902.  Here is a photograph of the surviving members of 5QIB on their return to Australia.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #54982)

On 4th January 1902, 110 men of 5QIB were involved in one of the last serious actions of the Boer War. They were caught in an ambush at Onverwacht where they were heavily outnumbered by Boers. In a furious firefight thirteen Queenslanders were killed, including the two volunteers from Sherwood - Sergeant Robert Berry and Acting Corporal John MacFarlane. 

The shire of Sherwood was galvanized immediately upon hearing of the loss of their two young men. Recognising that the two would forever lie buried in South Africa, friends erected a monument to their memory in the cemetery in front of the Sherwood Anglican Church in Sherwood Road. They must have acted quickly, as the monument was unveiled on Saturday 21 June 1902 in the presence of the premier and other dignitaries, as well as surviving members of 5QIB and a large crowd. The church building was destroyed by fire in 1921 and replaced by a new church that is still standing on the corner of Oxley Rd and Sherwood Rd. Here is a photograph of the previous church taken in 1906.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #10044)

The memorial erected by the friends of the two soldiers remains in the Sherwood Anglican Cemetery which is situated down Sherwood Rd from the existing church, on the corner of  Egmont St. The 4.6 metre-high monument to Robert Berry and John MacFarlane was constructed by Brisbane monumental masons W Batstone & Sons.

(Photo: © 2013 the foto fanatic)

The plaques on the monument read:
Top: "This monument is erected by friends in memory of Sergeant Robert Edwin Berry, aged 23 years and Acting Corporal John MacFarlane, aged 21 years, 5th Q.I.B., killed in action, Onverwacht, Transvaal, South Africa, 4th January, 1002."

Bottom: "This monument honours soldiers who fought for the Empire". 

To the right of this monument lie at least five further Berry graves. The Berry family were pioneers of the Sherwood area and heavily involved in the Anglican community.

In 1962 the bodies of the Australian servicemen who died on this battlefield and were buried there were exhumed and reinterred in a Garden of Remembrance in the town of Ermelo, a South African town close to the place of the battle. A bronze plaque carrying the names of the thirteen men of 5QIB who died was dedicated at a service at the Sherwood Memorial on 4 January 2002, the centenary of the battle. The plaque was taken to South Africa and placed on a memorial that had been erected at the actual battle site at Onverwacht at its dedication on 4 February 2002, during a moving ceremony dedicated to the soldiers of both sides.

Each year ceremonies are held at the Sherwood Monument and the Ermelo Monument. Students from Corinda High School here in Brisbane and Ermelo High School in South Africa participate in the memorial services held at the respective sites.

Click here for a Google Map.


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