“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” - G.K. Chesterton
I am in Brisbane for work today, and catching the early morning flight leaving at 6:00 a.m. is always a bit of a challenge, even for an early bird like me. It generally means having to get up at about 3:45 a.m. so as to get ready by 4:45 am, to then catch a taxi to the airport and finally to reach Brisbane at about 8:30 a.m. ready for a full day’s work. As I always try and have day trips away rather than spending the night away from home, it means a late night as well when I come back home. However, I get to sleep in my own bed!
The day was perfect in the morning, with fine, warm and sunny conditions in Brisbane. I got great enjoyment during the walk from the train station to the Campus, after I alighted from the Airport train (an excellent service, although a tad expensive). Then it was work, work, work at the Campus until it was time to go my appointment at the Department of Education. I enjoyed the glorious weather some more, and as the Department of Education is in the centre of the City, the hustle and bustle of the CBD reminded how Brisbane is becoming a large, populous, cosmopolitan urban area in Australia’s north.
Brisbane is a major port and the capital of Queensland. It is Australia’s third largest city. It lies astride the Brisbane River on the southern slopes of the Taylor Range, 19 km above the river’s mouth at Moreton Bay. The site was first explored in 1823 by John Oxley and the next year was occupied by a penal colony, which had moved from Redcliffe 35 km northeast. The early name of the settlement, Edenglassie, was changed to honour Sir Thomas Brisbane, former governor of New South Wales, when the convict settlement was declared a town in 1834.
Officially, freemen could not settle within 80 km of the colony until its penal function was abandoned in 1839, but this ban proved ineffective. A short-lived rivalry for eminence with the town of Cleveland was ended when the latter’s wharves burned in 1854, allowing Brisbane to become the leading port. Proclaimed a municipality in 1859, it became the capital of newly independent Queensland that same year. Gazetted a city in 1902, it was joined during the 1920s with South Brisbane to form the City of Greater Brisbane. Its municipal government, headed by a lord mayor, holds very broad powers. The Brisbane statistical division, including the cities of Ipswich and Redcliffe, has close economic and social ties to the city.
Brisbane is the hub of many rail lines and highways, which bring produce from a vast agricultural hinterland stretching west to the Eastern Highlands, the Darling Downs, and beyond. The city’s port, which can accommodate ships of 34,000 tons, exports wool, grains, dairy products, meat, sugar, preserved foods, and mineral sands. The metropolitan area, also industrialised with more than half of the state’s manufacturing capacity, has heavy and light engineering works, food-processing plants, shipyards, oil refineries, sawmills, and factories producing rubber goods, automobiles, cement, and fertiliser.
The city is bisected by the meandering Brisbane River and its halves are connected by several bridges and ferries. The city is home to the University of Queensland at St. Lucia (1909), Griffith University (1971), Parliament House (1869), the state museum (1855) and art gallery (1895), Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals, and many parks and gardens. Water is supplied from Lake Manchester, the Mount Crosby Weir, and the Somerset Dam. Oil is piped from wells at Moonie (west) and at Roma (northwest), which also supplies natural gas. The population of the greater Brisbane is now in excess of two million people.
Now, as it is Movie Monday, I cannot neglect mentioning something to do with movies, even though I shall forego the customary review. Inflight movies and other programs are shown on board the planes of the long hauls, however, for the life of me I cannot watch these on the small and poor quality screens with the all-pervasive noise on board the plane. I have tried ineffectually on a number of occasions, but even if I have suffered the whole length of the program, it has been a bit of a torture and I then have to watch the movie again “properly” at home (if it looked as though it was an interesting one). So there! This is the Movie Monday without a movie as I did not watch it on board!