Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Memorial

At the intersection of Elizabeth and George Street, at the pathway entrance to Queens Gardens, stands the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) memorial. The memorial honours all men and women who served in the RAAF, especially those who in so doing gave their lives or suffered lasting hurt. The main feature of the memorial is the Wedge-tailed Eagle, perched upon a striking pedestal.

Made of bronze, granite and cast concrete, the sculpture is another of those by Rhyl Hinwood. Representing all branches of the Service, the memorial was commissioned to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the RAAF in 1996. On the granite base the RAAF Motto Per Ardua Ad Astra, is repeated on each facet, as well as emblazoned on the RAAF Crest and plaque which identifies the memorial.

I feel that this sculpture is a fitting memorial to RAAF personnel. These pictures do not do justice to the width of the Eagle, whose wingspan is well over two metres. In researching this piece, I found some interesting variants on the translation of the Latin. Since there can be a number of different meanings to "Ardua", scholars have declared it to be untranslatable. To the Royal Australian Air Force, however, it will remain translated as Through Adversity to the Stars.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The View Down Mary Street

If you stand at the intersection of George and Mary Street, you have a view down Mary Street all the way from one end of the city through to the Story Bridge. This shot was taken near the Executive Building at 100 Queen Street, home of the current Queensland Treasury.

The central streets of Brisbane are named after members of the House of Hanover, part of the British Royalty. Streets named after female members (Adelaide, Alice, Ann, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Margaret, Mary) run parallel to Queen Street and Queen Street Mall (named in honour of Queen Victoria) and perpendicular to streets named after male members (Albert, Edward, George, William).

In history past, I could imagine standing at that same point over 100 years ago, and being surrounded on the high side of George Street by the many government buildings which had sprung up with Separation from New South Wales. I imagine that looking down the slope to the river, there would have been no high rise, and no bridge, just the early settlement and river traffic for what was to become the thriving hub of the North.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The Regent

The Regent Theatre complex is a cinema treasure located at 167 Queen Street. Opened in 1929, the theatre is characteristic of a 1920s picture palace, and was one of only four Hoyts Picture Palaces constructed in Australia at the time. Originally it was erected for use as a theatre and cinema. The Regent was designed by Melbourne architect, Charles N. Hollinshed, with assistance from the Brisbane-based Richard Gailey Junior and Aaron Bolot. In the mid 1970s Hoyts planned the demolition of the Regent. A "Save the Regent" campaign was launched and a compromise was reached whereby the foyer and the marble staircase were retained. The new four cinema complex opened on 2 August 1980.

The photos I've added here do not do the cinema true justice, and I'd recommend you visit in person, or have a look at the Cinema Tours website for some much higher quality images. Another excellent site shows the history of the original theatre organ used at the theatre. The narrow black marble entrance hall has a decorated barrel-vaulted ceiling, friezes and stunning mural. The foyer is reminiscent of a medieval chapel. As you head up to the cinemas you get to traverse an immense white Queensland marble staircase which leads up to the mezzanine foyer.

I have to say that I love going to the movies. I'd much rather that than sit at home and watch a DVD. I prefer to sit in a cinema watching the big screen and feeling that sense of audience participation all around. Whilst the original cinema's here are no longer, the upgrades to the cinemas have given a whole modern aspect to what remains one of the best movie centres in Brisbane. Its no wonder that the Brisbane International Film Festival continues to do the majority of its screenings here!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Queen Elizabeth II

This post is somewhat about Queen Elizabeth II. Well, its actually about her statue. This statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was unveiled by the then governor of Queensland, Sir Walter Campbell, on the 5th September, 1986. It was done at the official naming of the associated area known as Queen's Place, at the intersection of Alice and George Street. It was cast by the Adelaide Art Foundry in 1984.

Australia is a constitutional monarchy and part of the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II has been the reigning monarch since 6 February 1952. The Queen's role in Australia is almost entirely symbolic and cultural, and the powers that are constitutionally hers are exercised wholly upon the advice of the elected government. That said, the symbolic and cultural influence yielded is quite strong, as evidenced by her representation in many Australian cities in this type of manner.

The Queen amazes me. Of all the worldly monarchs, she holds a certain place in most Australian's hearts, regardless of their republican or monarchy leanings. In 1984, when the statue was cast, the Queen would have been in her late 50's. I'm not sure if this depiction was meant to be of her in a younger representation, however, they have certainly captured the regal way in which the Queen holds herself. To me, the uplifted head, and almost model-like pose show a woman full of confidence and strident in her beliefs. Long live the Queen!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Brisbane Synagogue

The Brisbane Synagogue at 98 Margaret Street was built in 1885 for the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation. It was Brisbane's first purpose built Synagogue, and is significant as an important development in nineteenth century Jewish worship in the city. It is in an unusual Byzantine style, and is constructed of stuccoed brickwork on a concrete foundation.

The synagogue has a long history within the Brisbane community. The Jewish families who settled in Queensland from the time of separation from New South Wales in 1859, formed the nucleus of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation founded in Brisbane in 1865. They used temporary premises until the consecration of this synagogue in 1886. Renovations took place in 1965 to celebrate the centenary of the formation of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation. Many people who had lost family members during the Holocaust donated additional stained glass windows. At this time the congregation's spiritual name "Kehilla Kedosha Sha'ari Emuna", the Holy Congregation of the Gates of Faith was added over the arched entry.

I love how these places of worship for the various faiths are dotted around the city. In this instance, it is again nestled between two highrise buildings. Of course, I haven't been inside this synagogue, although from the descriptions of the ornamental stained glass windows inside, I should try to get in one day. There remains a strong Jewish presence in Brisbane, although I lay little claim to fully understanding nor following their faith. I do, however, appreciate the architecture of their synagogue!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Tattersall's Club

The Tattersall's Club at 215 Queen Street is one of the oldest clubs in Brisbane. The facade shown here is registered as 206 Edward Street. The club was founded in 1865 by a group of gentlemen who were prominent in both business and in the thoroughbred horseracing industry in Queensland. The Club derives its name from Tattersalls, the London horse auction mart and “subscription rooms” founded in 1776. It remains a private membership club, only open to men over 21 years old, at the Tattersall's committee discretion.

Today, the club offers a wide range of facilities, including: accommodation; library; gym; barber; pool; massage; billiards; card room; bars and dining; cellar; and associated specialty shops as part of the entrance arcade. The building itself is also an excellent and well intact example of Classical Revival and Art Deco Styles.

Being one of the last bastions of "men-only" clubs in Australia has not been without controversy. I personally don't have a problem with it, however, there are some who view it as sexist and elitist. If doddery old men want to pass their time drinking Scotch and smoking expensive cigars, who am I to argue! But then again, I wouldn't know any better whatsoever, and am unlikely to ever be asked to join!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Government Printing Office

I came across one of the coolest pieces of architecture in the city today which made me stop and think "What were they thinking when they did that!?" Located at 110 George Street, it is now part of the Registry of Birth's, Death's and Marriages, but back then it was part of the Government Printing Office. The Government Printing Office (GOPRINT) as it is today has moved to Woolloongabba. For a significant time it was also home of the Brisbane Sciencentre, which has now relocated to the Queensland Museum at Southbank.

A printing office was initially established in Queensland in 1862 to print the official record of the proceedings of the House of Parliament. Over the intervening years there was much expansion, culminating in 1910 with a new addition fronting George Street. With the expansion it replaced a hotel, a variety of houses and shops. Perhaps these gargoyles were placed here in order to scare away the former residents!

The thing I am unsure about is whether these magnificent sculptures and stained glass windows were part of the renovation work which was undertaken in 1987, or whether they were originals. Either way, the restoration work which has been done makes them look like they were installed yesterday! I love the fact that these creatures are looking down upon all who pass by underneath each day, and most people wouldn't even have a clue they were there.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Emerging Spirit

Emerging Spirit is a sculpture located within King Edward Park which was commissioned by the Brisbane City Council and installed in 1991. King Edward Park reaches between Turbot Street and Wickham Terrace, and the sculpture is just up from the Turbot Street entrance to the park. The artists for the sculpture are John Fitz-Walter and Jennifer Farley.

Made from ceramic, the sculpture reaches close to 2.5 metres high. As best as I can discover, both artists are Brisbane residents. Both have had exhibitions or other commissions in the greater Brisbane region. In this instance it would appear Jennifer focused on the sculpted aspects of the structure, and John on the painted aspects, although I am not totally sure this was the case!

To me, this is quite an abstract piece of art. On the three pillars, the coloured stain which has been used makes it seem like the pillars are somehow translucent or transparent. It is almost like you are seeing the outline of the trees and foliage in the background. Then, with what appears to be coming from the right most pillar and extending onto the middle, you have the outline of the so called Emerging Spirit, a human form's shadow about to be brought to life before your eyes. You have to look again to determine if the shadow is real, or merely abstract thought.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tympanum of the Pediment

The Brisbane City Hall faces King George Square. Bounded by the square, Ann Street and Adelaide Street, the building is one of the most significant buildings in Brisbane. One of the most famous sculptures in Brisbane, Progress of civilisation in the state of Queensland or Tympanum of the Pediment, is above the main entrance to City Hall.

Created by Sculptor Daphne Mayo, the sculpture was carved in Helidon Freestone (sandstone) over three years. Its unveiling on 17 December 1930, completed the construction of City Hall. The components are symbolic of the settlement of the State by the early pioneers. The central figure is the State protecting the citizens. The figures to the left hand side represent the native life (man and beast) dying out before the approach of the white man. The figures to the right hand side represent the early explorers discovering the possibilities of the new land and its industries. The overall length is 54 feet.

At night, they light up the main face of City Hall, with the tympanum being highlighted by a set of spotlights. This adds another dimension to an already impressive feature. The sculpture has had some controversy over the years, due to the apparent depiction of Aboriginal Australians. I don't believe that was the intent of Mayo back in the 1930's, as she undertook the artwork as a commission for the city council of the time, working to their themes. Aside from this, the sculpture is quite magnificent, and a fantastic representation of another master craftswoman at work.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Brisbane School of Arts

Located at 166 Ann Street, the Brisbane School of Arts is located in one of Brisbane's heritage buildings. It became the School in 1873 when it was bought for the then princely sum of 1,000 pounds. This was one of the precursors to the Queensland University of Technology, and it operated as the School of Arts through to 1965 when it was taken over by the Brisbane City Council.

The building was originally known as the Servant's Home. It was established around 1865 when Lady Diamantina Bowen, wife of the first Queensland Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, erected the building as a clearing house and hostel for new domestic servants who had been attracted to work in the Queensland colony. Today, the building is let to a number of community groups, and can be used as a venue for hire via the council.

I'm glad that within the city there remain these rare examples from the history of Brisbane. Although the European aspects of our nation don't have the 1,000+ years of history of many other cultures, when we do have these historic sites I'm glad they can be restored to former glories, particular in CBD locations. I'm also glad that Art and Community continue to have a home in the City!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


All throughout the city there is a lot of construction work going on. It seems to be mainly residential apartments being built, however, there is also the significant work on the Inner Northern Busway which has affected King George Square. Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson, a former Queensland Premier, coined the crane index as a measure of the economic wealth of the State. Via this simple mechanism one could believe that times are pretty good in Brisbane.

As I wandered the city streets I came across this example of some new apartments being built on the Riverside Expressway. This came on the back of news early last week that the Government is proposing a new North Bank development on the river. This particular development is known as Evolution in living. They always come up with interesting names to describe these new living spaces. The marketers must have a field day! This is a 37 level development with 178 apartments built by Citimark and expected to be completed sometime later this year.

What attracted me to the building in the first place was not purely that it was a construction site. It was the Preston Skip hanging from the side of the building, filled with what appears to be plastic piping. The way the pipes were strewn throughout the bin actually appears quite artistic. Perhaps it will become the forecourt sculpture for the new building!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Tin Billy Band

Atop the tinbilly Travellers, a backpackers accommodation hostel, resides the Tin Billy Band. Located at 462 George Street, it is on the corner with Herschel Street and is very close to the Brisbane Transit Centre at Roma Street. What impresses me about the band is that they appear to have real instruments, including a trombone, violin, drums, and guitar. The band, led by who appears to be Mr Fourex, are all pretty cool dudes, and you have to love the ties.

The hostel offers a range of backpacker accommodation. Rates for shared rooms are quite cheap, and you can opt for dorms or your own room, which gets far more expensive. In addition, they have facilities such as communal cooking and dining, laundry, Internet access, travel office, cafe and bar. They also can help you find temporary work if you're looking for it.

I haven't been able to find out much detail on the actual artist of the sculpture, or the sculpture itself. I wasn't able to go in their today, due to having the kids with me. I might have to venture back to the pub to find out. I mean, how can you not love a pub that has The Simpsons on as their feature early viewing on Saturday and Sunday nights!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Flat out like a lizard... Sunning!

I have written about lizards before, but I thought it appropriate to show a couple sunning themselves! Each work day, I walk under the Story Bridge, and in the heat of the day during summer you can literally see up to 20 lizards in the space of about 50 metres. The path runs behind the Medina Hotel. These two were about mid size, and you could almost consider them domesticated as I was able to get quite close without them running off!

These lizards are of the Australian Water Dragon variety, or Physignathus lesueurii. They often will be on rock walls, or in some instances they will block your path on many of the walkways around the city. Including their tails, which comprise about two-thirds of their total length, adult females grow to about 2 feet long while adult males can grow slightly longer than 3 feet. You're far less likely to see them during winter, when they go through their hibernating phase.

During Summer this is one of those constants that I have in life. I know that as I walk under the bridge, I'm going to have to try not to stand on one. The babies, in particular, have a habit of sunning on the warm path, and then darting off as you get near with a scurrying sound as they dart off into the undergrowth. There are definitely days I wish I could scurry off with them!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Traffic Signal Box Art

The two pictures here are taken alternatively from the intersections of Queen Street and Adelaide Street, and Queen Street and Macrossan Street. The thing both have in common is traffic signal boxes (TSBs) which control the traffic lights. They've been painted! The image of the two diners called Toast was painted by artist John Knap in 2001. He has painted at least eight others. The image of the Story Bridge was painted by artist Justin McLeod in 2001. He two has painted at least seven others.

Artforce is a public art project that gives Brisbane residents the opportunity to turn the city's traffic signal boxes (TSBs) into works of art. Anyone can apply to paint one, although the two rules are:

  • The artist must reside within the City of Brisbane
  • You must get your design approved by Queensland Urban Ecology
On average, artworks last from 6 months to 4 years.

One of the great things I believe a community can do, is to take something which is inherently ugly and turn it into something beautiful. This is one thing which the Brisbane City Council have done very well. All around the city are Traffic Signal Boxes which have been converted from dull, lifeless, grey pieces of visual pollution into fascinating and varied works of art. There are literally hundreds throughout the suburbs of Brisbane, with a significant number in the City itself. The pictures here represent a mere two of these.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Just outside the Marriott Hotel at 515 Queen Street is the sculpture known as Gifts. It shows what I believe to be a young aboriginal boy at play with birds overhead and at his feet. Sculpted by Rhyl Hinwood, it was commissioned in 1998 as a fountain work. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing drought and water restrictions, the fountain area has been re-potted with native plants. However, I feel the aesthetic of the sculpture has not been lost.

Rhyl Hinwood is quite a prolific sculptor, with international renown and a significant number of artworks around Brisbane. She also must have a keen sense of humour, as evidenced by the plaque associated with this sculpture. I thought it best that I transcribe this for reference here!

'I will bring you love', said the young lover,
'A glad light to dance in your dark eye.
Pendants I will bring of the white bone,
And gay parrot feathers to deck your hair.'

But she only shook her head.

'I will put a child in your arms,' he said,
'Will be a great headman, great rain-maker,
I will make remembered songs about you
That all the tribes in all the wandering camps
Will sing for ever.'

But she was not impressed.

'I will bring you the still moonlight on the lagoon,
And steal for you the singing of all the birds;
I will bring down the stars of heaven to you,
And put the bright rainbow in your hand.'

'No,' she said, 'Bring me tree grubs.'
Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonucal

How appropriate that on Valentine's Day I can share this with you.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Axeman

In a small arcade off Queen Street, just before you hit Edward Street and at the side of the National Australia Bank, you'll stumble across an Axeman undertaking his trade. The Axeman is a sculpture created by John Underwood's Artbusters organisation and was relocated here by the bank at some point after World Expo 1988 for the people of Brisbane. The sculpture was part of the Human Factor sculpture series of approximately 90 works originally at the Expo site at Southbank.

The "Human Factors" sculptures created quite a stir at the World Expo 88 in Brisbane. Although these creations, made of fibreglass and coated white, simply showed people doing ordinary things, they derived their powerful impact from the way they illustrated universal and timeless human qualities. The sculptures can still be found at several other locations around Brisbane.

I quite literally discovered this sculpture whilst wandering around the city. I had no idea it was there, but my new found attention to more of the hidden delights of the city drew me down this otherwise unexplored arcade. The Axeman has stood the test of time well, still poised and ready to chop after nearly 20 years! I can only hope that I'd be in as good a shape after 20 years at my job. Wait a minute?! I better check the mirror!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Customs House

The heritage-listed Brisbane Customs House is located at 399 Queen Street. Work commenced on the building in 1886, and taking three years to build it was opened in 1889. It served as the base for Brisbane River customs operations for almost 100 years. It is a fine example of the work of Scottish architect Charles McLay, who worked in the Colonial Architect's Office. The architecture represents a Victorian building in the Renaissance mode, with strong Corinthian columns abounding!

It is known as the former Customs House, as Customs activities no longer place there! The building is now leased by the University of Queensland. There is a restaurant within the building, and regular concerts and art exhibitions are also held at the building. Facilities are also available for corporate and private functions for up to 350 guests, including a boardroom for meetings, and a seminar room with audio-visual facilities. The University acquired it in 1992. On a day like today, with storms about and quite blowy, you can see the affect on the palm trees!

One of the interesting things I like on Customs House is the heraldry, as shown above, which were precursors to the Queensland coat of arms. You've gotta love kangaroos and emus. I've had the good fortune to attend a number of activities at the Customs House. The Long Room is quite spectacular, with cathedral ceilings and a fantastic chandelier. I haven't yet had an opportunity to eat at the restaurant though I've heard its good. The Art Gallery, on the river level, also has a great collection of Australian Art.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Post Office Arch

The General Post Office for Brisbane at 261 Queen Street was opened in September of 1872. It has operated as a post office since then, and is part of Australia Post. The complex was established in 1872 to meet the increasing communications needs of the colony of Queensland. It is important as a prominent historic public building and civic focus for Brisbane residents since that time.

Splitting the complex is an arcade which runs from Queen Street through to Elizabeth Street. Its from here that this shot was taken, looking back through the arch to Post Office Square, ANZAC Square and Central Station in the far distance. On the left you have shops for the RACQ, and on the right, the Post Office and related postal services.

To get this shot I've had to stitch together two photos. I love how the arches and columns run down both sides, along with the single arch which you invites you into the arcade. With the sun streaming in, its hard to get a shot which doesn't look too bright, and still captures the view, effectively across two city blocks to the station. The masonry, brick and stonework are some of the hidden delights of this city.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Overseer

If you ever eat at the Post Office Square food court, chances are you've seen this particular gentleman looking over you. Another of the artworks by Cezary Stulgis, The Overseer looks down upon the daily populace of Brisbane as they pass by below. Made of mild steel, and sitting nearly 2 metres high, The Overseer is perched at 300 Queen Street.

Installed in 2003, this was a commissioned work. The intricacies of the design show the expertise with which this sculpture was created. From his own site, I note that Cezary's technical skills include "monument, kinetic, figurative, ceramic, model making as well as fabrication steel, stainless steel sculptures. Cezary has been producing fine art plus mural design and paintings for at least 10 years".

I'm glad that through public work like this we get to experience the sculpture of someone who is a master. Brisbane is fortunate to have work from artists of this calibre on public display within the city. This representation of the human form is exquisite. From both side on and front on, the posture and the way it is captured. Were he real, I wonder what he would be pondering. From his pose I hope it is simply "Relax and Chill!"

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Friday, February 9, 2007

The Victory Hotel

The Victory Hotel is located at 127 Edward Street. A well known watering hole for beer, it has been a meeting place for after work activities for many years. It has allegedly the only open air beergarden within the CBD, and has six different bars at which you can partake of amber fluids, amongst other beverages. They also have poker machines, and a bistro.

Open until late most evenings, the big nights are generally Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They have live music in the beer garden most evenings, and on Sunday afternoon's you can chill out and relax, usually to reggae music. Then there is the Garden Grill, where you can order and eat out in the beergarden during the day at lunchtime, or for an early evening meal.

I don't actually get to The Vic that often, and although I like to watch other people screw up royally with Karaoke, I'm yet to do it myself. It is great to sit out in the beer garden and watch the world go by under the palm trees, or watch the kids singing all the songs I grew up with sung by 80's cover bands!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

CityCat and CityFerry

The CityCat and CityFerry are catamaran and ferry services which are operated on the Brisbane River. The services run along the Brisbane River between Brett's Wharf in the suburb of Hamilton in the east and the University of Queensland at St Lucia, via the Brisbane CBD. It is a great way to get around the city on the river. Services began on CityCat in 1996 with 6 vessels, each capable of carrying 150 passengers, with two further vessels being added to the CityCat fleet in 1998 due to increased demand. Two more were added in 2004-05. The area covered by the CityFerry service differs from that of the CityCat ferry service in that it is smaller, and is operated with 12 monohull ferries.

The service is a great way to get around the city via the river, with various crossings over the river, along with runs up and down the river stopping at various locations. Services run from around 6:00am through to 10:30pm each day. For around $5, you can travel all day. Full details can be found at the Translink web site.

I've used the cats and ferries as a great way to see the city from the river. There are a number of terminals near Eagle Street Pier which will allow you go either go up or down river, or across to Kangaroo Point. We have taken the kids on the ferry from New Farm Park up to South Bank Parklands, and they love it! Its definitely an enjoyable and cheap way of cruising the river.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Vietnam Memorial

Another of the War Memorial sculptures in ANZAC Square is to the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was a conflict between North and South Vietnam. South Vietnam's allies included the United States, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand troops were involved from 1962 to 1973. Some 50,000 Australians, including ground troops and Air Force and Navy personnel, served in Vietnam; 520 died as a result of the war, and almost 2,400 were wounded.

The memorial depicts an act of mercy performed many times during the campaign. It shows an Australian soldier directing a medical helicopter to descend and tend to his wounded mate. The memorial commemorates those Australians and their allies who died or served during the Vietnam War. It was unveiled as part of a bicentennial project by the then governor of Queensland in 1988.

Like the current War in Iraq, I'm saddened that we had to send our troops to Vietnam, largely due to the large loss of life and the ultimate futility of War. This memorial does depict one of the better aspects, mateship, and standing by your mate to help out at a time when your own safety would still have been in jeopardy.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

City Birds of Paradise

As much as Brisbane is paradise, and does have great Birds to use the colloquial for attractive women, I'm actually talking about something different. My favourite flowering plant is the Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia Reginae. This particular photo was taken around the garden beds on the footpath near the intersection of Market and Charlotte Streets. The reason why its called the Bird of Paradise should be obvious due to its appearance like a bird's head and beak.

Indigenous to South Africa, the plant was introduced to Australia. All over the world the flower is symbolic of the tropics, but most residents of Brisbane will be familiar with it growing in local gardens. I've got two at my place, but they haven't quite reached this level. The plant grows to around 2 metres tall with broad strong leaves and stalks about 1 metre long. The flowers stand above the foliage at the tips of the stalks.

I love how there are flower beds and greenery dotted all around the city. Rather than just being a concrete jungle, you can always find pockets of greenery and tracks of grass where you can sit and escape. On top of this, you have the fantastic City Botanic Gardens as a feature of the city. What's not to love!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Monday, February 5, 2007

Memories of Wind

Another of the sculpture's in Kind Edward Park, which reaches between Turbot Street and Wickham Terrace, is Fumio Nishimura's Memories of Wind. This piece was originally part of the artwork from World Expo 1988, and was relocated to the park some time after the event. Created from granite at a height of 2 metres, it was originally loaned by the artist to the Expo in association with Gallery Seiho, Tokyo.

What strikes me about this piece is that it invokes in me thoughts of Hiroshima at the end of World War II. I have no idea what the original intention of the sculptor was, but in my imagination this represents an individual who was able to withstand the blast and wind which would have occurred with the bombing. To do so, they would have had to have been as strong as this granite statue, facing into the destruction and always to remember the memories of wind.

On the surface, you could easily pass this sculpture by with out much notice. With the considerations above, in me it does strike a strong emotive response due to my feelings about the futility of war.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Treasury Casino at Night

The Old Treasury Building spans the block bounded by Queen, William, Elizabeth and George Streets in the city. Now home to the Conrad Treasury Casino, the building was built in three stages from 1886 to 1928. Even before then the site had been reserved for government activities, and was assigned to the treasury activities from around 1860. The design was proposed by Australian Architect John James Clark, and is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of Italian Renaissance style in late nineteenth century Australian public buildings, of which Clark was a significant proponent.

The Conrad Treasury Casino is not only a casino, but more of what is classed as an entertainment venue. It also houses a hotel in the nearby Lands Administration Building, several restaurants and bars, as well as a nightclub. Opened in April 1995, the casino houses a three-level gaming emporium of 80 gaming tables and over 1300 gaming machines. If gambling isn't your cup of tea, other entertainment is provided most evenings ranging from bands, dance and comedy.

As you can see, in the evening it lights up with neon lights as befitting a casino! From the outside, the colour of the lights around the building definitely makes the casino stand out. I know that it has enticed me into its den of pleasure a few times, but in the main I always come out a little lighter in the pocket. The gambler's lament "If only I could hit the jackpot..." rings true each time!

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

St Stephen Cathedral Bell

After visiting the Cathedral of St Stephen during last week, one of my colleagues commented that I should do a post on the Cathedral Bell located on the same site. We went back and visited today, so here it is!

The bell had a hundred year history within the Cathedral from 1888 to 1988. It was cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, famous also for casting of the American Liberty Bell. It was brought to Australia in 1887 on the R.M.S. Dacca. Its weight is 2856kg.

Today, the bell sits on concrete pillars in the courtyard of the Cathedral. It has an imposing and virtually immovable position, given its weight and size. It hasn't necessarily been untainted by sitting outside the bell tower, with a certain level of graffiti on the outer casing. It is still an impressive piece of metal, and it would have been great to hear its peal around the area over those 100 years.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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