Brisbane city Hall
Welcome to Brisbane
Welcome to our hub of Brisbane city views, and welcome to BrisbaneDear readers, what we are going to write next is about the first impression of Brisbane city views, as seen through the eyes of an emigrant arriving in Brisbane by boat in the early sixties and other things about Brisbane city; we are also describing how I was welcomed to Brisbane by my relatives and friends.
Dear readers as we have said in our last hub, in this hub we are going to tell you about my first impression of Brisbane city, which are those impressions that we keep with us our entire life; so let us start from the docks where I have just arrived and disembarked; as soon as I disembarked in Brisbane I met with my brother and other friends, so, I let them guide me what to do next, after all they were here before me and they knew what we had to do and where we had to go, as we know all newcomers arriving from a foreign country have to go through custom to check all their belongings out, so, we did that and then we were free to go to our own destination, in Brisbane or any other place in Queensland, since this was the last stop that the ship made in Australia, so all the new comers coming to Australia disembarked
Anyhow after the customs cleared us, we left the port in a car and they took me to one of our friends house not far from the port, here the lady of the house had prepared something to eat for everybody and while we were eating and everybody was trying to make me feel welcome, we were also talking about Genzano di Lucania and the people that I had left behind in that town; you see all those relative or friends were from the same town and I had brought presents and news from their families. I have to say here that in those times when transport and news travelled much slower that today, anybody that arrived from overseas and from where one had come from was very welcome, especially if one brought presents and news from their relative and friends, I thought it was a good thing and it also helped, because one did not feel that complete detachment from your country of origin that we had left behind, in my case a month earlier.
Here we guess that everybody that has migrated or moved away from home for a long period of time knows what being home sick is; therefore this finding that there is a group of people from your own town and they are staying in touch with each other is helpful wherever one goes and they make the new comer feel welcome. So I was welcomed from this group of relative and friends, who soon made me understand among other things that I was welcomed to Brisbane the land of the kangaroos and this is how my relative and friends made me understand we would be labelled from now on. Anyhow it was a welcome in the best possible way.
Now I have to say that at first sights Brisbane did not look as good as Sydney, the port of Brisbane where I disembarked was an old timber dock, and we went through customs in a old and large timber building, but I thought anyhow Brisbane is still a city and our friends live here; so, we went to one of our fried home, it was a unit in a brick building, so that was not bad, after all one has to accept whatever there is available when one goes to a different place. But little did I know that I was going to have a surprise pretty soon, because I was going to see that in Brisbane most houses were made of timber.
Later on, after having eaten and talked for a couple of hours with our friends, and given them those presents that I had brought, I was driven to my final destination a few kilometres away, where we had to go was on the other side of the river, we went across the Brisbane River on a bridge called the Story Bridge, which is a very important bridge in Brisbane, but perhaps not as important as Sydney Harbor Bridge. So, Brisbane has also its own unique land marks the Story Bridge and City Hall are the most important, there is also Parliament House and the city centre with tall modern buildings, these were the things that gave us migrants some hope, because to us migrants it meant that Brisbane city was a growing prosperous city.
My final destination
Reaching my final destination
My final destination was at my uncle home, where my brother and a few other friends and relatives were also staying. My uncle had been in Australia by now 9 years already and somehow very recently had been able to save enough money to put down a deposit to buy a house; the house was a large wooden house typical of the houses in Brisbane of those times. I will come back to talk about these wooden houses later on.
Now, for us that were coming from a country where almost everything was masonry or built with bricks and mortar and cement, these houses in Brisbane city make us feel a bit strange at first; but, they were still houses and they still provided a roof on our heads; therefore even knowing that they were made of timber, I was pleased to have been offered that accommodation. My brother knowing that I was coming had already bought a bed for me, so I was already set up very well. You know it is a great help when you go to a new country and find that somebody has already prepared everything for you. I believe that for this reason I have been lucky and I have escaped some very real hardship. Otherwise it could have been a lot harder.
Let us just imagine you reach your final destination, as I did when I reached Brisbane city. Now let us say that you don’t have much money to pay for accommodation, you don’t know where to go or what to do next; you don’t know even how to speak the local language, you might end up in deep trouble you know. Therefore, I think that I have been lucky somehow when I found that I was welcomed. I believe that when we see some new arrivals we should try to understand that they have left their own country in the hope of finding a better way of living, or perhaps they were forced to leave their country for safety reasons.
At my new address
Welcomed at my new address
Now just to keep the story going in a way that it makes sense, let me talk about in a more personal way how I was welcome at my uncle house; we reaching my uncle house and greeted the people that was in at that time of the day, as there were some that had gone to work, you see there were quite a few people living at my uncle house already and they were all from the same town that I came from, so we all knew each other somehow. Here I am not going to be very personal and tell you their name, I am not going to do that for a couple of reasons; you see, if it happens that any of these people read these hubs, I don’t know whether they like the idea of being mentioned here; therefore I am going to tell you in a general way just things that happened and keep everything impersonal.
So, I was saying that I had reached my final destination in Brisbane city at my uncle house and greeted those that were there at that time, then we unloaded my luggage and we started to talk about the town I came from Genzano di Lucania with the people that were present, because they were all from the same town as I have said and wanted to know as much as they could about their relatives. While we were unloading at the same time I was telling them about the presents that I brought from my own family to my uncle, they were mostly some local town produce the largest of them was now a seven litre demijohn of wine, since the ten litre broke on the way, I had also some 6 litre of pure olive oil and a large tray of home made large biscuits that we make when somebody gets married, there were also other presents that I was going to give them as soon as I would unpack my own luggage.
Soon everybody came back from work, and I greeted every one of them and told them as much as I could about things that they wanted to know. Evening came and we had dinner and after that I retired to my bedroom, where my new bed that my brother had bought me was ready for a good night sleep on firm ground after being a whole month on the ship. Now before we go on about telling our readers the timber houses of Brisbane city, let us first tell about some positive sights that one can see in this city of Brisbane.
Brisbane city views
Wherever you go there are always some interesting things to see, also Brisbane city has got several thing to show the world, so we have taken the liberty of showing you a few photos of this city that makes us proud; I know that most people that come to Australia would say that Brisbane does not look is as good as Sydney, but so what, it is still a nice city to live in and has got a few things that we are proud of; like the Story Bridge, City Hall with its clock tower that strikes the time every quarter of an hour, the city centre with all its shopping centre, Parliament House and the botanic gardens next to it, where we could go walking around looking at the garden or the pond, with its ducks and swans or sitting on the lawn on a hot summer day and listening to a band during the weekends.
Now there are many more parks in Brisbane and most of them have a playground for children, so most people used to go to these gardens or parks in those times, perhaps today they are not used as much as they used to be used then; of these parks the most important after the City Botanic Garden would be New Farm Park, this park is well known for the roses that are grown there, so some of us call it the park of the roses, it is also a sight to see early in spring when the jacaranda trees are in flower, this park has also a large playground for children, it has got a kiosk, where you can have a cup tea or buy an ice cream for the kids and a few other things, on hot summer days one could sit under the trees near the Brisbane River and fill almost as if you are at the beach; you see Brisbane River is a very wide river and it is navigable for many miles, so, while we would be sitting in the shade of the trees we could see the traffic of bouts on the river, some of these boats would be carrying just people that were sightseeing on the river, or going to another pleasure destination.
Another important garden that that needs mentioning here is the new Botanic Garden at Toowong Brisbane, near Mt-Coot-Tha forest this is a western suburb on the fringes of Brisbane city, this new botanic garden has been opened because the old botanic garden in the city lost some of its land, as they have built another university there; now apart from seeing what we can see and find in a botanic garden; from this new botanic garden you could visit also this observatory;
The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is a planetarium located on the grounds of Brisbane Botanic Gardens in the suburb of Toowong, Brisbane, Queensland,Australia. The Planetarium was officially opened on 24 May 1978.
Now, let us forget again for a moment that this article is mainly to talk about the early sixties here, as we have done above, so let us add what else could be attractive today in Brisbane, here we are talking about the year 2014 and we can add also that in Brisbane there are many shopping centre that are the size of a small town, and they are all well organized and air conditioned all under one roof that it is a pleasure to go shopping specially in those hot summer days, when one can go in there and stroll from shop to shop doing the shopping and keeping cool at the same time, what else would you want?
Anyhow let us go back to talk about the sixties and those wooden houses.
The wooden houses
Living in Brisbane wooden houses
At my new address in Brisbane Australia, even though it was a wooden house I was welcomed and soon I felt no difference at all to live in it, after all that is the way that most of the local people live in these parts of Australia. But now, just for the sake of knowing what I am talking about here let me describe this house for you. It was a four bedroom house, in addition to the four bedrooms there was a lounge room, a large kitchen where there was enough room for a large dining table, there was a bathroom with bathtub and shower that had a gas heated hot water devise that you could light up and have a hot shower, the toilet was downstairs under the house; now all this large house and floor space was set on wooden stumps, I know that those people that have never lived or seen a house on wooden stumps before are saying; what is he talking about a house on wooden stumps, I have never heard of this before what a strange country Australia is.
I know it might sound strange and feel a bit strange too to live in these houses at the beginning, but anyhow they are there and they have a pretty good reason why people built them like that in these parts of the world. After all is not even a new idea when we think about it; you see when I was at school I remember that my teacher was saying that a long time ago for safety reasons, some people that lived by the sea would build their house on stilts over shallow water, so that they could defend them easily if they were attacked; Now we could say, okay that was a good idea then but what are the reasons for these houses to be built like that here?
This is how we migrant saw Brisbane city when we arrived to Australia for the first time.
I believe that we may have to tell you in our next hub about these wooden houses, because it would be more appropriate, as we will write it to explain some of the reason that we know why these houses in Brisbane were built with timber and they have been built on stumps.
See you soon.