Monday, July 6, 2015

Pinkenba

Recently I was researching my grandfather's role in WWI, and I came to wonder how he actually arrived at the Western Front in 1916. I discovered that he sailed out of Brisbane on the ship Commonwealth, departing from Pinkenba on 28 March 1916. I couldn't find any images of his particular departure, but the following two photographs show WWI troop carriers crammed with servicemen departing the wharves at Pinkenba.

(Photo: SQL 73331)

Pinkenba - from the Indigenous Turrbal dialect, meaning "place of the tortoise".

The name is unusual, and so is the suburb now. The wharves are idle - most passenger liners pull in at Hamilton and cargo vessels at Port of Brisbane on Fishermans Island.

The railway station is idle too, shut down by Queensland Rail in 1993 after 111 years. During the Boer War, WWI and also WWII departing troops were transported on trains to this station then marched to the wharves. My grandfather was probably brought down to Commonwealth this way, and my father may well have travelled this way to serve in Borneo and PNG in WWII. The railway station structure remains, but is now surrounded by shrubs, grass, weeds and rubbish.
(Photo: Seo75 via wikipedia.org)

Pinkenba State School has closed and was offered for sale in 2013. I can't tell you whether or not it was sold at that time, but the buildings were still there the last time I looked. There is a set of memorial gates at the school's entrance that commemorate those from the suburb who served in WWII.
(Photo: qldwarmemorials.com.au)

There is another memorial in a nearby park that remembers those who volunteered for service in WWI. This memorial was unveiled in 1925 and is held on the state heritage list.  Here is a current photograph.
 
(Photo: © 2015 the foto fanatic)

Here is the memorial at the unveiling in 1925.
  
(Photo: SQL 16691) 

And they are not the only monuments down this way. On 6th March 1963 the Queen opened a plaque commemorating the completion of the Moonie pipeline that brings oil to Brisbane's refineries.
(Photo: brismania.com)

This monument is stuck in the middle of nowhere, its only surroundings a desolate reserve of sorts and a heavily industrialised background. I wonder what the Queen thought when her vehicle pulled up here? There's the monument - set on a brick plinth between the trees at the end of the pathway that cuts in from the right of the picture.
(Photo: google.com.au) 

Recent estimates indicate that the population of Pinkenba is around 350. Although only a few kilometers from the centre of Brisbane, it is a suburb constrained by industry and the Brisbane River on one side and Brisbane Airport on the other side.

Click here for a Google Map.

tff  

15 comments:

  1. You know I am fascinated by Pinkenba. I know it if filled with industry now, but there's something about what it once was and what it has become know that saddens me. It seems to have so much potential never realised around the port area and its proximity to CBD. Intriguing post, YBPP, thank you. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, in many ways it is a shame. A riverside suburb just beyond up-market Hamilton, yet almost bereft of facilities.
      During the war years it must have been a bustling area, but since ships stopped berthing there it seems that it has submitted to heavy industry.

      Delete
  2. What a tragedy when a town dies and all its facilities are either left to fall apart slowly or are razed to the ground quickly. How much sadder if all our important history is lost as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pinkenba seems to be in some sort of time warp where life is being slowly withdrawn from the area.

      It is quite sad to see a primary school with no students that has a forlorn "For Lease" sign on the fence. Similarly railway tracks that lead to a mouldy broken-down former station.

      The suburb's nearness to the river has been a blessing and a curse. As this is the most downriver you can go I suppose that it was logical for industry to emerge here. The nearby sewerage works and the airport are also limiting factors for residential development.

      Delete
  3. That area has long been part of my exotic Brisbane, but have not been there for at least 20 years! My latest trip around Teneriffe hill was inspired by this blog! Thank you. http://streetfashionsydney.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/an-exotic-brisbane-winters-odyssey.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kent
      Thanks for the kind words. I love your images of Brisbane!
      tff

      Delete
  4. We went to the Anzac day service this year and I thought their was a really good roll up. Maybe 50 to 60 people. Some blowins like us (Our kids Great Grandfather name is on the WW1 memorial), but by far. mostly locals who walked home after the service.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must be moving for your family to visit the memorial on Anzac Day.

      Good on the locals for commemorating the day.

      Delete
  5. Pinkenba is my country♡ My beautiful nanna Thelma Grace Allnutt, grew up there,with her parents and siblings...
    I believe on a fruit orchard. She married my grandfather Dennis Peter Hedges,and my mother & her older sister actually went to that little school in the earlier years of schooling♡♡♡
    I myself have a few very distinct memories of the what seemed quite a grand main house, and swinging in a tire swing hung from a walnut tree...
    The mystery and wonder of Pinkenba,or Myrtletown will always warm my smile =)
    If anyone can add to the story, I would love it♡♡♡

    ReplyDelete
  6. I grew up in Meeandah until I was 10 as my Dad was in the railway and we lived in a stucco duplex near the level crossing. Dad had 3 jobs to save enough money to build a house in Esker St, Pinkenba. I went to Pinkenba State School from 1964 to 1970. Great area to grow up in. There was even a school further down the road, Myrtletown State School. Not too sure when it closed but think early 70's. I knew a Greg Allnut and I think it was his Mum that did the flowers for my wedding in 1981. My brother still lives in the family home with his family, and my husband also works at Pinkenba.
    We would collect each other for the walk to Pinkenba Station each morning to go to high school. Some to Hendra, Kedron or St Columbus. Then all walk home every afternoon. Fond memories of the times and lost friendships that were forged over 10 years of schooling.
    Everone looked out for each other back then

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey this is kim winkler i went to pinkenba in 1966 so did my older brother albert and Leanne winkler i was wondering if we know each other i hope to here r reply back cheers kim

      Delete
  7. My Grandparents lived at 39 Mcbride Road. I have so many great and vivid memories that were made in Pinkenba. I often go for a dive there , its like stepping back in time, its as though they have never left. I hope it remains for many years to come. PS The local shop across the road had the best Cobbers ever !!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My family has lived in pinkenba for 25 years in Esker St. Although we haven't been there that long my sister and I did attend school there and then I went back and did my student teaching there the last year it was open. We even had the opportunity to help back everything from the school up when it was closed. It was sad but also very interesting as we found a lot of archives.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Our families go back to Myrtletown and Pinkenba with the Birrers on Mums side and Giuffrida and Dunne on Dads side. Our Aunt still lives on Mcbride Rd in Granny Dunne old house and Grandpa Giuffrida is on Esker st.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I work in Pinkenba and being recently new to the world of Metal Detecting would love the opportunity to spend time looking for artifacts in the old school ground

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...