When Woolloongabba was Wattle Scented

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Photographic Records of Chinese Migrants - Brisbane c.1898

Ah Lee

If you are working on a genealogy project involving early Chinese migrants who arrived in Brisbane then you'll find this gold. The National Archives of Australia has four journals that are records of Chinese migrants who arrived in the port of Brisbane. The records document dates of arrival, ships of arrival, name and a photograph of each person and I have reproduced these photo images from the digitised archive files. Many of the photos in the journals are in very poor condition or have deteriorated completely and the four we selected were of better quality.

Charlie Ah Tung

Ah Sam

Lip Hie

As I  flipped through the journals it became apparent that  there seemed to be two distinct types of Chinese migrants, those who were affluent and those not so. How so? The first two entries in the journal image below have photos of different styles that could differentiate the migrants. The larger photos were always studio style photos often posed with adornments; the subjects in full European dress, while many are smaller passport style photos.


National Archives of Australila Series # J1694

Friday, August 26, 2011

Historic Brisbane Floods- Original Port Office Readings, 1898 & 1974

Found this document amongst files held with the National Archives of Australia. It's a page from the journal that held the records of Brisbane's Port Office (now known as the City) flood gauge. A handsome looking record it is with fine hand writing, the time of the recordings represented in Roman numerals and an archive stamp top right.

The Port Office gauge was refurbished in 1900 and to compare floods, the earlier records needed to be discounted by about a foot to align with records for 1900 to 1974. The document below shows the readings of the above flood converted into what is referred to as the new datum.

As floods go, the flood of 1898 was on par with 1974 in terms of the levels recorded at the Port Office gauge, but as we learnt in January 20011, what's happening in the city does bot reflect the varying impacts further up the Brisbane River.

The newspaper account of the impending 1898 flood has a tone of reserved expectation rather than panic and doom and provides descriptions of businesses and residents evacuating to higher ground. What struck me, was the comprehensive summaries of what was occurring and expected in individual Brisbane suburbs and seems a whole lot more informative than some of the information leading up to the flood peaks of January 2011. To read the article in full, follow the link in the citations.

Did we mention the Brisbane flood of 1974? Below are records of the flood from the files of Bureau of Meteorology, Brisbane.


1898 'THE FLOOD.', The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 12 January, p. 5

National Archives of Australia: Series# BP676/1

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grandpa Ipod! - Healing PartyGram, portable music device, 1954.

Not the portable music device you can put in your back pocket. As a child in the seventies, I recall playing with one of these, back in the days when kids didn't have their own electronic devices to play with, just the e-waste of adults. 

Take a few friends, an album of favourite records, one Healing Party-gram. That's the recipe for happy times.

A quaint piece of gender bias with the use of the word 'recipe', you can just imagine the Mad Men brainstorming sessions that came up with this one. The body text of the advertisement reads,

Put on your own records or tune in  station for pops, dance or classical music according 3 speed turntable plays microgroove or standard records and the Healing 5-valve circuit rebroadcast programmes with "tone that belongs to Golden Voice alone". Soon friends will be asking you to bring your"PartyGram" to "their place". That's why we have designed and leatherette-covered "Party-Gram" for real portability."PartyGram", the principal ingredient of all home parties, costs only 54 guineas.

1954 'Advertising.', The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), 18 August, p. 80

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

EKKA's Sideshows - The Dare-Devil Durkin Bros.Globe of Death

The Durkin Bros.Globe of Death travelled the Australian show circuit for over 20 years and featured regularly at the Brisbane Exhibition over the years and often made appearances at Brisbane's very own Luna Park, which which was an outdoor entertainment venue adjacent to the dance hall Cloudland, atop Bowen Hill.

 The act was originally devised in 1936 as per the account in the clipping from the Sydney Morning Herald. below.

There was a Cinesound Movie Review produced in 1936 that featured the brothers and the caption on a photo above mentions them performing for Australian in U.S. Troops in Melbourne in 1943.Only two reported accidents; one that left the brothers badly concussed when they collided during a performance at he Brisbane Exhibition in 1945 and another incident at the Royal Adelaide Show in 1951.

The Globe of Death was still making appearances on the Speedway circuit during the 1950's, the clipping below is of Herb and his wife, mentioning a new side car. Whilst Herb's wife is photographed with the brothers on many occasions, there is never any mention of her being part of the act.

Big Crowds at Brisbane Exhibition, 1935.

This image from the Diamond Jubilee Exhibition in 1935 was used on the front page of a Souvenir edition of The Queenslander newspaper.


State Librbay of Qld, Wikimedia Files

1935 'Second Souvenir Number DIAMOND JUBILEE EXHIBITION.', The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), 29 August, p. 19


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Brisbane EKKA - "The Annual Pilgrimage" - Ink Line Drawing, 1929.


 1929 'BRISBANE EXHIBITION.', The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), 8 August, p. 3.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Brisbane City Maritime Wharves - Coloured Map Excerpts, 1920.

A Facebook follower posed the question "Where were the docks in Brisbane?", so we have obliged and snipped these images from a Gordon and Gotch map published in 1920. The image above shows the South Brisbane reach of the river. The wharves stretched from the Victoria Bridge to where the the Goodwill Bridge stands today. there was a small break where the dry dock is and the then continued as the Railway Wharves (used for coal handling) through to where the Captain Cook Bridge commences. The rail line that serviced the wharves travelled from Park road, down Ipswich Rd with a dog leg through the back of Woolloongabba and emerged at Stanley Street and through the Fiveways and into the Wolloongabba Busway; originally a railway yard, and on down to the wharves.

The above image shows the Town Reach, the wharves ran from where the Stamford Plaza Hotel stands today and continued around to the Howard Smith Wharves; the Eagle Street Wharves are now home to Riverside Centre and Riparian Plaza. My great grandfather Herbert Jones had a workshop at Circular Quay in behind Wharf #3 around the corner of Adelaide and Macrossan Streets. If you would like to explore this map further, follow the link from the citation.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Where is the EKKA? Brisbane Exhibition Newspaper Mastheads 1913 1932.

This series of mastheads are from the Brisbane Courier 1913- 1932, beautifully hand drawn illustrations, the masthead of 1932 has a photograph image included. So where is the EKKA? The earliest newspaper references to the exhibition being referred to as EKKA seems to be just after WWII. My speculation is that it was invented by the tabloid newspapers. Brisbane's first true tabloid newspaper was "The Truth" which started publishing in the late 1930's. The word EKKA would have fitted easily on a tabloid size newspaper masthead or banner, and newspaper typsetters would have saved more than half the time setting the word EKKA as compred to exhibition.