You have arrived in Brisbane. You enjoy walking at South Bank and stopping off at all the bars and restaurants. You love the vibrancy of the city but you hear conversations around you to suggest that Brisbane was not always like this.
Head to a book store or the library and pick up Matthew Condon's book, 'Brisbane". Matthew was born and raised here in Brisbane and then left for reasons which become apparent in the book and which have a lot to do with how Brisbane was perceived a number of years ago.He came back to raise his family here and started to piece together some of the old family stories he had grown up with, but he also started looking at the more official ones and questioning them quite deeply.
Characters like John Oxley who discovered the city, F.W.S Cumbrae Stewart and his wife Zina, who were considered Brisbane's "A" listers at the time, the works of Andrew Sibley, who lived round the corner in Petrie Terrace and the lovely Thea Astley, one of the intellectuals of the "Barjai" group, which included artists and writers like Judith Wright and Vida Smith, are brought to life with accounts of their lives from archives and friends.
The result is a fascinating account of Brisbane's early years, its gradual but unstoppable transformation after Expo '88 and the exploration of the role of some big personalities who came to determine some of Brisbane's history.
Place names and places are all put into context. Did you know that the Go Between Bridge was named after a local pop music band ? No, neither did I.
Brisbane's anthem was written and performed by the Go-Betweens - Streets of our Town. One day students will be studying their lyrics as poetry. If you haven't come across them before, don't hesitate. A great pity that Grant died at such an early age.