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Tuesday, September 18, 2012



Long photo laden post. Opt out now if you don't have the time or the inclination!

Recently Tony and I went for a walk around the grounds of the University of Queensland and I decided it would make a interesting post (I hope !) to show you around.
So yesterday afternoon we put on our sneakers, grabbed the camera and set out.

First a little background history for you.

"The University of Queensland was established by an Act of State Parliament on December 10, 1909 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Queensland’s separation from the colony of New South Wales. 

In 1911, 83 students (including 23 women) attended the first classes in Government House, George Street, Brisbane. 
 The fledgling University outgrew the buildings in George Street, and the search for a larger campus began. 
 Between 1927 and 1929, Dr James O’Neil Mayne, in association with his sister Miss Mary Emelia Mayne, provided £60,000 to the Brisbane City Council to resume 274 acres of land at St Lucia and provide it to the University as its permanent home. 

Named after the sugar-producing island of St Lucia in the West Indies, the area originally was used to farm sugar, arrowroot, cotton, maize and pineapples. A sugar mill, washed away by the 1893 flood, operated where the University boat shed now stands."(INFO FROM THE NET !)

This is what it looked like then.

The first building, later named the Forgan Smith Building after the Premier of the day, was completed in 1939.

This is what it looks like now.

As you can see from the map below the University is almost surrounded by the river and the lower parts towards the top are occupied by sports grounds of all types.

The buildings at the bottom of the map are largely accommodation colleges where some out of town students reside.

We parked on the ring road by the river, risked a fine by not Paying and Displaying ( no coins ) and set off.

The path along the river is heavily used by walkers and joggers of all ages, most of them young.... probably students.

These lovely Bauhinia Trees line the road and are in full bloom (it's Spring here ).

Up close the flowers are quite large and come in two shades of pink and white.

The final City Cat ferry stop is here. From here it turns around and goes speedily back towards the city.

We crossed the road and made our way across the large number of sporting fields

towards the buildings in the distance.
 These fields were all affected by the floods two years ago but are all back and looking good once again.
There were lots of young people using the facilities as it was about 4:45pm and for many, lectures were finished for the day.
Many of these facilities are also open to use by the public. 

A new tartan track is in place to replace the old damaged one and the beach volley ball courts were very popular.

When I turn around here this is what I see.

( brown lawn = winter and no rain for 2 months )

When I was 18 this was the only University in Queensland.
 Now, of course, there are lots of them but none have the imposing grandeur of this one.

In those days a vast space of green lawn gave you an uninterrupted view of the whole facade of this large, long building but now there are other buildings and even a car park to spoil the approach.

 This is the main entrance. 

( who's that sneaking into the photo??)

The building stretches out on either side.

"Great is Truth  and Mighty Above All Things"

It is built of beautiful sandstone

that has lots of purples swirling through the creamy, yellows.

In through the front door...

to more of the lovely stone

The building is not very wide -about 3 rooms with corridors on each side - then you step out into the Great Court.

This large area of lawns and trees is enclosed by the original old buildings that made up the university.

It covers 6 acres

and is beautifully kept though it is heavily used by students as a meeting place and thoroughfare during the day.

It was quiet, with only a few students lingering or using it as a pathway to buses or cars on their way home.

As you might have noticed there is a colonnaded porch running the whole way around the Courtyard and I hear that a race in the style of Chariots of Fire takes place here every year.

This aerial photo I found on the Internet shows the whole building quite well.

Behind this structure there are lots of other buildings built in many styles as the university has grown rapidly over the years.

There are also shops : hair dressers, cafes, pharmacies etc- almost a whole self-contained little town

as well as theatres and gyms.

We walked past all this towards the car with the light fading and street lights beginning to come on.

Past the refurbished, Olympic sized swimming pool ( flood again!)

  It has a lovely cafe where you can have a snack or coffee after your training swim.

Still plenty of swimmers going up and down the pool.

Back to the car.

Well, if you've made it this far you deserve a medal! 

Now you know a little more about my home town, Brisbane.

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  1. I love the older universities. Especially the building. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I deserve a medal then! Interesting post Helen and how different your university looks to so many of ours. I love the photo of the beautiful sandstone blocks like a patchwork each one with its swirling colours. Lovely that you have so much space to enable the building of such magnificent places whereas ours are all crammed into such a small area and often need to have some of their faculties in other places rather than all together like yours. Your photos of Brisbane make me want to visit Australia as no others ever do!

  3. Hi Helsie - thought I would pop over and see you. What always strikes me about photos of Australia, is that although we know there are vast areas of almost wilderness, there seem also to be such wonderful trees and flowers. Your photographs are proof of this.

  4. What wonderful old buildings. I loved the sandstone patterns and the colonnade porch. I'm going to look up the race now!

    Thanks for another great tour!

    Next week I'll be in Aussie. K and I are flying to Melbourne then on to Adelaide. A week in Australia! We'll be visiting art galleries and friends in Melb, and staying near the Adelaide University, attending the Wader Conference there. I'm so looking forward to it!