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Welcome to this blog, the story of a great big Australian adventure. It documents my travels, life in Australia, and a subject close to my heart – environmental conservation. 

Art in the streets

A delicious habit is developing among some of my newest friends here: we have become ladies who lunch on Wednesdays. But this week, an American in Brisbane had another idea: she suggested we walk round the CBD, admiring the street art. With the Bridge to Brisbane race still at the back of my mind, I confess to feeling a bit wimpish about a walk instead of a lengthy sitdown in a restaurant, but I gradually warmed to the idea.

We fortified ourselves first in a cafe off the Queen Street Mall, and then made our way to Brisbane Square to follow a route (of about three kilometres) described in Brisbane's Best Bush, Bay & City Walks by Dianne McLay.

First up was Steam by Donna Marcus, 15 steel spheres of different sizes made from vegetable steamers, 7,000 of them. (They looked more like cutlery drainers to me.)




Some were almost buried by the farmers' market in the Square, but one, unmolested, stood warm and serene outside one of the entrances to the Central City Library.




Just along George Street from Brisbane Square, in Queens Gardens, is Rhyl Hinwood's magnificent bronze wedge-tailed eagle, alighting on top of the granite RAAF memorial. It has a wingspan of 2.5 metres.

Further along George and then a short way down Charlotte Street is a large, rolled-up copy of the Moreton Courier by Johnathon Coleman. This stainless steel installation replicates front-page stories from the Moreton Bay Courier, which was first published in 1846 and moved its offices to Charlotte Street in 1851. History on a stick.



Close by the newspaper is this.

It is a traffic signal box (TSB) that's been painted, with the encouragement of Brisbane City Council under the Artforce program. Anyone can submit a design for a TSB, as long as they live in the city and have their design approved by Urban Smart Projects. About 900 boxes have been painted so far. What an excellent opportunity for all Brisbane's budding artists: consider how many traffic lights there are across the city.

Further down Charlotte on the other side are these giant aluminium seed pods. I'm not sure why.


From pods to pride: walk on down to Albert Street. This stainless steel objet (for I don't know how to describe it) stands 3.4 metres tall on Albert, almost at the junction with Charlotte. It is made up of 598 panels held together by 2,562 rivets, which is impressive. I like rivets, and large numbers of them in constructions always impress me. On the whole, I didn't quite know what to make of Pride by Grant Lehmann. It reminds me of a woman with wide hips and crossed legs. But maybe those hips are her shoulders. Maybe I should see an analyst, or ask Grant?








And right by Pride is another one of these...

Walk along Albert, and in the entrance of what used to be Borders, on the corner of Elizabeth, there are several words from Indigenous languages embedded into the flagstones.

The name of a people and a language

Meaning 'motorcar'

Meaning 'the dreaming'

Directly above the words were these fibreglass rays, suspended from the ceiling. Unfortunately I don't have any information about them. If anyone does have, please post a comment.


Continuing up Albert towards the Queen Street Mall, you can follow the Albert Street Literary Trail. This consists of 32 bronze plaques, each featuring a quote from a Queensland writer's work, together with biographical details. The plaques were designed by Dot Dash and illustrated by Brona Keenan.


Dappled sunlight on the bronze made the plaques look warm and inviting. I liked the design of this one, but felt a tad giddy having read the curly-wurly bit.




Turning into the Queen Street Mall, a beautiful feather floated above eager shoppers. I have noticed this before but had never asked why. It is a Big Feather by Bronwyn Oliver, and there are others, but I know not where.




At the bottom of the Mall, if you look left, you will see the massive Echoes from the North 2004-05 by Augustine Dall' Ava.


But turn right into Edward and then left into Mary. Sooner or later you'll spot Felix, a man on the phone. Normally you couldn't miss him on the corner of Felix Street, except that his lower half is currently obscured by construction hoardings. He's made of stainless steel, by Terry Summers.


It was a warm day. We were in need of refreshment, so we diverted to Riverside. These juices were almost too pretty to drink and I made them pose for the camera before they were consumed.


Ever onward – to Eagle Street. I love the way this hand relaxes on the busy pavement. I wonder if the piece would have been as pleasing if the fingers had been impatiently drumming? The two aluminium hands make up Chat by Sebastian Di Mauro. Given time, there was a lot of photo potential here, but I had to catch up – into Queen, right into Creek, left into Adelaide as far as Anzac Square.






When does a piece of sculpture become a monument? And does that mean it's not 'art'? Since the figures below are in Anzac Square, I would venture to suggest that this is a monument. It is another piece by Rhyl Hinwood, called Korea-Malaya-Borneo 1948-1966. The figure on the right is particularly well executed: he should be mentioned in despatches.




The next image needs a familiar object in it to illustrate just how small is Elizabeth Shaw's bronze of a child holding an adult's hand, inlaid in the pavement much further along Adelaide, just before George. It would be so easy for pedestrians on their missions in the city to miss it. Just as well our Canadian friend had got her eye in by this time and was very good at art-spotting. Quaintly appealing is how I would describe it.


On the next corner, Themis, Greek goddess of justice and unsurprisingly beside the law courts, is definitely in the monument category, but nearby was another fine TSB.




Finally, City Roos by Christopher Trotter – he of the very fine Pelicans on an old bridge pier stump by the Captain Cook Bridge – are a lot of fun by Burnett Lane, a short way up George Street. Unfortunately the sun was low and at the wrong angle for flattering photographs of this mob of Australian icons. But you get the idea? Scrap metal entertainingly put to good use.




I have lived in Brisbane for over 18 months and have walked through the CDB many times. I have a vague recollection of one or two pieces such as Echoes of the North, but no lasting impression... until this day. Am I the world's least observant person? If I have shopping on my mind, does my consciousness close to any other experience? What was the name of that analyst?

This post was last updated on 12 December 2011

The uniqueness delusion

Travels with my family