Lost Icons of Old Brisbane
Recently I took my daughter into the big-smoke of Brisbane for a meeting expected to last a couple of hours. There's no way I'm paying $40 for a car park just for the privilege of sitting and waiting so I circled several city blocks in the hope of scoring a metered parking space. No luck with that and eventually, stuck in the traffic flow, I was heading northwards and out of the city.
Although it had been quite some time since my last visit I did grow up with the city as my playground.
While the big-city drivers called out and made what I think were congratulatory gestures at my careful style of driving I recalled the times I had a Belgian waffle accompanied by a coffee in a little café on the Newstead side of Breakfast Creek. 'That'll do me', I thought as the traffic took me off in that direction anyway.
When I arrived, with thoughts of wolfing into that big, creamy, syrupy, fruity Belgian waffle the drool was beginning to pool in my mouth. Finally I swung off Breakfast Creek Road and into Durong Street – here at last!
It was then the disappointment hit me like a ton of bricks. The buildings were still there but the joie de vivre was gone. So too were the Belgian waffles. There is now just a collection of professional offices and, as if to rub it in, they are all painted grey. Part of my youth had been consigned to memories.
In a fit of pique I sat in the 'Customer Only' car park even though I wasn't a customer and wondered how many other good times can no longer be relived but only remembered by those who lived them.
Well, there's one just up the road – Cloudland. Many the time my mates and I climbed the hill from the car park and trotted our stuff. Gypsy tap, two-step, three-step, waltz and, the big-daddy of them all, the progressive barn dance. The barn dance was where you got to sample all the delights of the night as the girls changed every few seconds. Did I really know all those dance steps? Must have, or at least I could do a good impression of them.
What about Festival Hall? Gone! What about my memories of concerts there by Led Zeppelin, Wings (we all make mistakes) and Credence Clearwater Revival? Gone! That's bad enough but the worst part of losing Festival Hall is that's where all my family and I used to go and watch Ralphie Valladares and the Los Angeles T-Birds Roller Game team take on all comers. They were nights of real family entertainment assisted by the fabulous atmosphere created in the venue.
My thoughts continued to drift outwards and ended in a Drive-In theatre somewhere. Most likely it was the Galaxy Drive-In at Cannon Hill. They are all gone now, except for the one near Yatala. No new memories can ever be made from the backseat of a car at the drive-in. Sometimes I pity the younger generations and all they are missing out on (no I don't, not really).
Another great memory I can't relive is my dad coming home of a Friday night with a treat. My absolute favourite was a Crunchy and I do continue that pleasure to this day. But what about, White Knights (chocolate coated peppermint chew), Choo Choo Bars (chocolate coated licorice chews) and Curls (chocolate coated caramel chews)? I believe, they are all gone. Still on this theme of sweet things there is also my all-time favourite soft drink; Tristram's ginger ale in a short stubby bottle. My granny used to put ice cream in a glass of it for me; oh, that is a good memory.
As I sat there my mind drifted so far I ended up down at Currumbin just across the water from the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary. This memory goes way, way back and I will be surprised if anybody but me remembers, 'Santaland'. Built right beside what was then the Pacific Highway it was a little park set up for kids. It had attractions formed from cement for kids to climb in and over. I recall a tableau of Little Miss Muffet but, my fondest memory is of a cement submarine with a working periscope. I would hate to imagine the number of ship I sank from that cement submarine.
By now I was almost in tears – my life is just a sad memory! There's no chance to ever relive those good times. All I can do is remember them and, maybe, reminisce with some old friends.
What's the point of going on?
Hang on. What's that? There's a yard full of Harley Davidsons over there. Forget the dreary memories. Let's get over there and have a look!
205979 - 2023-06-16 05:46:10