Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sketching at Riverside Brisbane

Fabulous morning urban sketching on the Brisbane River with the Brisbane City Sketchers.

Story Bridge and Howard Smith Wharves
The Howard Smith Wharves were constructed 1934-early 1940s by the Queensland Government to provide relief work during the depression years of the 1930s. Initially known as the Brisbane Central Wharves, the project was undertaken in conjunction with the construction of the Story Bridge, one of the Forgan-Smith government's principal employment-generating projects. Like other such schemes, the Brisbane Central Wharves not only provided employment, but established important infrastructure for Queensland's future development. Brisbane Central Wharves were leased by the Australian coastal shipping company Howard Smith Co. Ltd from the mid-1930s until the early 1960s, and are more usually referred to as the Howard Smith Wharves.

Customs houses were built in all major Australian ports in the nineteenth century.  Customs and excise duties were an important source of revenue, levied on goods from overseas and in some cases from other colonies.  The port of Brisbane grew quickly so in 1884 the Queensland government agreed to replace its existing Customs House at Petrie Bight, a modest single storey brick structure, with a much grander edifice.  Designed by Charles McLay of the Colonial Architect's office, it is two storeys high on the Queen Street frontage, while three storeys are visible from the river side.  Its grand public space, The Long Room, is surmounted by a copper sheathed dome. With work commencing in 1886, this imposing and rare surviving masterpiece of the Colonial Architects Office took three years and £38,346 to build.
The Brisbane Customs House is a fine example of Victorian Free Classical style, with its grand colonnades and portico, and a dome which still manages to be a major feature on the landscape, despite being overlooked by adjacent high rise office and apartment blocks.

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