When Woolloongabba was Wattle Scented

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Brisbane's Old Town Hall - Tale of History Lost & Found! - Part 2.

The Stewart and Lloyds site is located at 99/119 Montague Road at South Brisbane, it was here that labourer's found the lost builders rule, as it was about to be tipped as a load of fill. Stewart and Lloyds were iron merchants and later became part of the company we know today as B.H.P. Billiton. The foundry was relocated from Anne Street in the Valley after it was resumed for construction of the Story Bridge. Their original buildings fronted Anne Street where today cars drive up the ramp to the bridge and a pedestrian subway runs under the same ramp.

Partially demolished Stewart and Lloyds buildings Anne St. Construction of the bridge has commenced and can be seen emerging in the centre of the photo.

Stewart and Lloyds inspected many sites for relocation and even entered negotiations at one stage with the Catholic Church to purchase land where All- Hallows Girl's School is today (more property wheeling and dealing by Archbishop Duhig). Eventually they purchased the 5 acre site on Montague Road, it was mentioned as part of the claim for compensation that the land was below flood level and that part of it would need to be filled. We set off on a field trip to photograph the site and see if we could find any evidence of it being filled.

Foundry site at 119 Montague Road, the double storey walls have a red brick base and are decorated in a restrained relief pattern that looks as though it is pressed from steel. 

On the Riverside Drive side of the site, just before the bike way approach to the Go Between Bridge, is a retaining wall that runs East to West (the area is circled on the map above). Get your shovels ready for a little digging around, our proposition is that buried behind this wall are the remnants of Brisbane's old Town Hall.


1938 'Building Wrecked For Bridge Approach.', The Courier-Mail(Brisbane, Qld. : 1933-1954), 3 March, p. 3, viewed 22 May, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39731407

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brisbane's Old Town Hall - Tale of History Lost & Found! - Part 1.

Brisbane's original Town Hall situated on Queen St.was demolished in 1937. During it's demolition, the workers were on the look out for two items, the building's foundation stone and a two foot wooden ruler. Seems that no one recalled where the foundation stone had been laid and it was considered lost. The clipping below is from The Courier-Mail February 1938.

Finally, after a nine month search a workman made a chance discovery at the Burnett Lane end of the building, the opposite end of the building where they thought the stone was laid.

So what of the wooden rule? The rule had belonged to Mr G.W. Campbell-Wilson who had been the supervising architect when the Town Hall was built in 1865. Mr Campbell-Wilson's son wrote to the city architect asking that a search could be made for it during the building's demolition, apparently his father had left it in the roof section of the old hall during an inspection...seventy five years ago. The chances of finding the rule anywhere in the building seemed impossible but resurface it did, in an amazing, by chance, last second find.

Rule found! Location of Old Town Hall debris found. The debris of the old Town Hall sits in the foundations of a building at South Brisbane. The building still stands today so we commissioned a field trip and have photographed the site and will publish the full details in Part Two of "History Lost and Found" . In the mean time, if you can't help yourself and would like some more clues on what and where the building is, follow the citation for the above clipping at the end of the post.



1938 'OLD TOWN HALL MYSTERY.', The Courier-Mail(Brisbane, Qld. : 1933-1954), 15 February, p. 18, viewed 18 May, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article39754016

"Old City Foundation Stone Unearthed at Last." The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933-1954) 26 May 1938: 1. Web. 18 May 2011.

1937 'RULE, FOUND AFTER 70 YEARS.', The Courier-Mail(Brisbane, Qld. : 1933-1954), 17 August, p. 16, viewed 18 May, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37040142

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lost Flood Photos of Brisbane - "Where Did Our Bridge Go?"

"Where Did Our Bridge Go?" is an apt title for this photo of a Victoria Bridge half-missing during the Brisbane flood of 1893, and a group of formally attired onlookers.  All the images in this post are rather unique and while not "never seen before" they're more "haven't been seen for a long time" and are from the State Library of Queensland Wikimedia files, the library uploaded 14,000 images from their collection late last year and are fascinating, many of the images have been digitally recreated from the original glass-slide negatives.

The three battleships of the Queensland Navy washed into the botanic gardens, 1893. The Paluma (far right) was so stuck it took another flood to finally dislodge and float her.

The original caretaker's cottage in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens washed from it's foundations looking rather bent and twisted, the cottage nearly ended up washed down the river.

An incredibly flooded Breakfast Creek at Bowen Hills in 1931, the photograph would have been taken from the Royal Brisbane Hospital

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day 1960. Turn Her Daydreams into "Sunbeams"

Happy Mother's Day to every Mum, everywhere! This double page Mothers Day advertisement is from The Australian Women's Weekly, May 4th 1960. The body text of the reads:

"So thoughtfully given-so lovingly remembered - year after year. What better way, what more thoughtful way to show your love and appreciation, than to make her dream come true with one of these wonderful Sunbeam appliances! For here is no mere fleeting gesture of remembrance, but a gift that expresses your sincerity, interest and gratitude in a way that will be hers to remember day after day - year after year. When you think of Sunbeams, you are really thinking of her! Nice to know too, that whether you plan to make it a personal gift or a family affair, you can buy her Sunbeam for just a few shillings a week."


1960 'Advertising.', The Australian Women's Weekly (1932-1982), 4 May, p. 62, viewed 6 May, 2011,