Monday, October 13, 2014


Any guesses as to what these photographs are depicting?

For anyone who does not recognise the French word in the title of this post, the sign on the outside of the cylinder in the top photograph is the giveaway.

The cylinder is actually a cast iron urinal that originally stood in Commercial Rd at the the Teneriffe ferry terminal. You can just make out the familiar shape of Mactaggarts Woolstore in the background of the bottom image. There was another like it on Merthyr Rd at the New Farm-Hawthorne crossing, and they were situated there to service the then tram terminus at each point. The tram drivers and conductors needed to have toilet facilities available during their busy days on the tramways of Brisbane.

These photographs were taken in 1974.

The urinal (sometimes called a pissoir) from the Merthyr Rd site was relocated by Brisbane City Council to Newstead Park in 1987. 



  1. Was it open to the public? The design looks too elegant for just a few tram drivers etc

    But many families were worried about public loos because of 1) dirtiness and disease and 2) strangers lurking around.

  2. Loved using the one at Commercial Road while waiting for the ferry; a life saver and bit of class I thought. Sad to find it has been moved. Glad the hear it has been saved.

  3. No dissimilar to the pissoirs that still dot Amsterdam (though their numbers seem to be diminishing in recent years)

  4. Ha Ha I took a photograph of the one at Newstead recently, not realising that it had been relocated from its original spot! Thanks for the info. Les pissiors are a very important piece of essential architecture in any city!

  5. I have a photo of one which appears to be in George Street, near Parliament House.


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