Sunday, 6 April 2014

Out and about Brisbane

To better enjoy the photos, please click on them to increase their size.

During the past couple of weeks, there has been hue and cry over a statement made by a prominent visitor to Brisbane who said 'Brisbane is ugly'. Hopefully today's blog will have you in agreement with Margot and I that it is emphatically the reverse.

Last week Margot and I walked 17 km's in the city and surrounding suburbs and this week 13. Margot is  now a Brisbane City Greeter and she constantly blows my mind with facts and details of where we walk. So often she points out things I've previously passed but not seen.

We met at South Brisbane station and after stumbling on 'National Playgroup Day' activities, we walked across the Victoria Bridge. The sweeping views from here are wonderful.

 Cardboard creations were about to be constructed.

Walking down leafy Adelaide St to catch the bus to Toowong cemetery, these were pointed out to me.

King George Square activites had us diverting to satisfy our curiosity. Cycle Brisbane was having a special launch and we came away with free maps, sunscreen and a coffee voucher for Groove train, which we promptly made use of, relaxing and people watching. I had hoped to win the give away bicycle, but it appears they are still trying to contact me!

Statues nearby, were of famous Queensland pioneers.

Arthur Hoey Davis -1868 - 1935, Pen name Steele Rudd. Creator of Dad and Dave Characters.
Emma Miller - 1839 - 1917, pioneer, trade unionist, suffragette.
Sir Charles Lilley - 1830 - 1897, separation movement, Chief Justice, premier, free education,

Our  bus to Toowong dropped us at the top of the Heritage listed Toowong Cemetery, which dates back to 1875. 100,000 people are buried here in the tranquil, undulating 100 acres, with views back to the city.

      Margot is a Mcgregor but not related to Edward

                      View from the entrance

When Lang Park football Stadium was redeveloped 239 unidentified individuals were exhumed from the Paddington cemetery and brought to Toowong.

Each headstone reflects the sadness and loss of a loved one, but some stories are too heart breaking.
There was one modern tomb and headstone telling of the loss of a father and young daughter, presumably in an accident. I just couldn't take a photo of it.  
Heartbreak twice for this mother

There was a special memorial for still born babies, but this modern headstone for their wee one, reflects a terrible grief.

                             We were intrigued by some of the words found for '?' is dead.
                                   fell asleep
                                     passed away
                                       fell on sleep
                                        entered into rest
                                         entered into glory

After spending a couple of hours wandering and reflecting on the lives of those resting, we were happy to direct our feet back to Coronation Drive. Here we had a sandwich on the banks of the Brisbane River, before taking the waterside footpath back to the city.

Ominous clouds to the west, became more so to the east, as we neared the city. Fortunately, when the  clouds suddenly unloaded their cargo of rain, we were near a layby and were able to stay dry, unlike the poor cyclist.

                     It was a short deluge, but it created gushing waterfalls alongside the walkway.

We chose to take the Kurilpa footbridge across to the art gallery, where we  viewed the watercolour exhibition of early Brisbane. 
Linda [ ] I took these pics for you. It has just recently been completed for $63 million and its 'unique tensegrity cable stays' have created a very controversial appearance on our river.

Prior to our crossing, Margot pointed out that this window feature,  represents what the riverbank would have looked like before white settlement.

On entering the art gallery precinct, our tired feet took us to the comfort of outdoor lounge chairs for them to recover, as we soaked up the lush green shades of 'autumn' and admired the carefully placed sculptures.

 Spring awakening

                                                                Hope Sleeping


On leaving the art gallery, we were surprised by an octopus on the roof top of the museum, in contrast to the suspended modern line art work near by.

Our energy still not expended, we retraced our steps across the river to sample the produce of the weekly Reddacliff Place farmer's markets. As we crossed from here to the Treasury Casino, for their delicious $6 coffee and cake, a colourful and noisy QUT protest march progressed down George St.

It was certainly a day of variety, as was our Paddington walk, one week later.

On this occasion I met Margot at Central Station and after viewing the Anzac Museum, we explored the impressive City hall museum, before taking the lift to the clock tower.
 View in Anzac Square

                             View from clock tower

View from clock tower to the seemingly small Kangaroo Point Cliffs

The no 385 bus took us to our destination in Paddington, of Trammies Corner, a tribute to the tram drivers who used to frequent the shops here. Brisbane had a network of trams from 1885 to 1969 and there had been a large depot nearby. When this burnt down in 1961, it was sadly the death knell for trams in Brisbane. Across the road was the Plaza Theatre, now the Paddington Antiques Centre. Trams used to wait  to take home the late night patrons of the Plaza. The arrival of television in the late 1950's, sounded the death knell of this amazing building, which still retains much of its original character.

Designed as an “Atmospheric” theatre, a style that became popular in the 1920’s and 30’s, themed and appropriated from Spanish and middle eastern architecture to create illusion and an imitation Mediterranean sky with twinkling stars, moving clouds and a gibbous moon. The ceiling is vaulted, painted dark blue and, unique to the Australian "Atmospherics", features suspended, wooden, cut-out clouds which were originally back-lighted to simulate the moon behind the clouds. Together with lights imitating the stars, this enabled patrons to imagine they were seated out of doors. A special soundproofed glass room was also built, called the 'cry room' which was provided for young mothers and their babies.

Paddington captivated us with its:- mosaic chair     [kangaroos from George St]
                                               old Queenslander style homes and buildings,

garden surprises

massive Moreton Bay fig tree, 
steep roads, 
settler's homes
                                                                  old v modern view

Our return to the city took us passed Suncorp, Caxton Street and through The Barracks precinct to Roma St. 

It was 3pm when we crossed the public plaza of the Magistrate Courts and it was with relief that we found a snack for lunch at Shop 2 George St, with a relaxing view back across the plaza to Roma  St Parklands.

Our last point of interest was to be the Goma modern art gallery, but it was getting late and we didn't want to rush the 'Falling Back to Earth' exhibition, so we took a diversion to Brisbane Arcade and stumbled on these sculptures enroute. My research unearthed the following.

Falling From Above - Husk, Kernel and Returning by the artist Stuart Green.
The Falling From Above series sprang from the concept of the city as a forest. The tall buildings are the trees while the laneways and spaces in between are the ‘understorey’. Husk, Kernel
and Returning occupy the ‘understorey’ and represent the organic matter that ‘falls’ from above.
The three pieces of the series are located in such a way as to lead the visitor into the plaza space and to frame the views of the City Hall clock tower beyond. Falling from Above poetically expresses the life-cycle
of a seed pod at a larger-than-life scale in three different sculptural forms.
Husk is a suspended element, evocative of a seed’s outer skin which has opened in release as it falls from the tree canopy.
Kernel represents the released seed- pod. It is a smooth five-metre wooden form that commands centre-piece
at a key intersection of the arcade.
Returning is an installation and landscape that symbolises the return of the seed to the earth. It consists
of a skeleton frame with bamboo and other plants growing up and through the structure to signify the cycles of new life.

100 years old, the arcade of luxurious shops was part of the rich estate of Patrick Mayne, but was it created through ill gotten gains, namely murder? The story is that Mayne confessed to murder [to steal a substantial sum of money] on his death bed.

So with the return walk across the river to South Brisane Station, another day of eye opening, rewarding 'walking down under' came to a close. 

Love having you along. Please comment if you have enjoyed the read.


  1. How could anybody think Brisbane was ugly when they look at these photos?

  2. History, culture, diversity = beauty! Thank you for sharing a touch of all these, from this area, with us! You show us why people are so attracked to this place, the appeal is obvious.

  3. What a great tour of your fair city! I think Brisbane is beautiful. I'd love to come for a visit and you would be the perfect guide. Thanks for the bridge pics - I really like that bridge. Very cool!