It's morning here in Brisbane, and a sunny one at that. The temperature is supposed to reach 24C so it ought to be good walking around.
After finishing my update last night, I read a brochure about St. Stephen's Cathedral (I believe I called it a church...a mistake on my part). The cathedral opened in 1874, and given its obvious age, the effect of its interior was surprising in so far I expected it to be more dark, closed, or the like. I found the openness and light refreshing. The stained glass in the center and to the right and left, too bad I didn't get a better shot, is from the 1880s and one part from the 1920s. The glass came from Ireland, England, France, and Germany. I'm amazed that such delicate stuff survived as long a journey and has survived all these years once in place.
Thus ends my morning update. There will be more later. Thanks for reading.
Continuation of Day 2:
As you will see from the amount of pictures I loaded, I did a lot of walking around today, probably about 5 hours worth, and my feet are protesting a bit (wimps!).
I would divide today into five segments: church, botanical gardens, south bank park, maritime museum, and assorted stuff.
As I began my day, I quickly came across cathedral square, a small bucolic park, and across the street stood St. John's Anglican Cathedral. You'll see pictures of the park and the outside and inside of the cathedral. I was particularly impressed with the intricate wood work on the ends of some pews and in the sanctuary of the church, the pulpit I think. I wonder what some alien civilization would think if they came here and saw all the different churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. that people erect, but they had no one to explain their function. Some are almost works of art, others are functional, and still others have amazingly different types of architecture. Just curious.
Brisbane has a nice, but small in comparison to Adelaide or Melbourne, botanical gardens. The Gardens sit alongside the Brisbane River, at a point where the river curves around the tip of the downtown part city. You will see some pictures of the park, including one with many types of bamboo, 23 of them for your information, and I have to confess that I had no idea there were that many kinds of bamboo. Interesting for me is that when the wind blew, the concentration of bamboo made both a swishing or whispering noize typical of trees or plants, but they also made a kind of clunking noise that would come from wood being banged together. After waiting a long time to get an Ibis to properly pose for me in South Bank Park, I discovered a bunch of the suckers near the Walter Hill Fountain (named after the guy who initiated the gardens idea, not the famous Hollywood producer and director of the 1950s to 1970s or so).
After taking the free inner-city ferry (water taxi), called the Red City Hopper, along the Brisbane River, I decided to hop off at the South Bank Park, called that because it is on the south bank of the river... not rocket science, huh? I have to say that I was surprised by the length and variety of the park. It ran the length of the river for at least a mile or so, and as you'll see from some of the pictures I included had some picturesque areas, including its own small beach and water. Mind you the beach was not associated with the river, but entirely separate, and it was next to a separate swimming pool. There were lots of cafés and a number of restaurants, and the other side of the park abutted a residential and kind of city business area. Most of the residences seemed to be apartments/condos. While not as long as the Esplanade in Cairns, this park was pretty impressive to me.
The Maritime Museum was located adjacent to the South Bank Park. In it, I received another surprise, but before I spring that surprise on you, I'll tell you a few fascinating facts. The primary attraction of the museum is the HMAS (His or Her Majesty's Australian Ship) the Diamantina. Before this, I never heard of this ship, but now I know it is the last surviving WW II river class frigate in the world. Why it is called a river class frigate when it sailed in open ocean waters is beyond me. The ship actually had two lives: one during WW II and later as an oceanographic research vessel. One of the deepest parts of the Indian Ocean is named after the ship, the Diamantina Deep.
Okay enough with the teasing. If you asked most people reasonably knowledgeable in history (this leaves out the so-called average citizen who alas would not likely know the significance of 1492, 1776, 1865, 1941, 1969, or possibly even 2001) when and where WW II hostilities ended with the Japanese, most would undoubtedly say in Tokyo Bay aboard the USS Missouri battleship on 2 September 1945. That's what I would have said. Technically, that answer is wrong. The HMAS Diamantina accepted the last surrender of Japanese forces on 1 October 1945. So, if you word your question as "when did the last Japanese forces surrender to end WW II?", you have your answer, and you should be able to win lots of drinks in the process. I'll include the signage of that with this update.
Now that we're into the assorted stuff, you'll see pictures of William Street, again I have to say I'm impressed with cities with a street so named, and Mary Street. The latter I took in honor of my sister and cousin. There is also a photo of a kayaker (the only one) on the Brisbane River. By chance, I happened upon the former Government Printing Office building. You'll see pictures of two gargoyles at the top of the building and one guarding the main entrance. Guess what purpose the building now serves... it's the registry for births, deaths, and marriages. I wonder what people think entering under a gargoyle for any of those purposes... probably nothing even if they see and recognize the gargoyles.
I think that's it for this update. If I left something out, I'll include it in tomorrow's version. Thanks for reading.
I almost forgot to tell you about my informal, random sample survey results. I wanted to find out how many people who live in Brisbane know who King Edward VII was since they have a park named after him. So, throughout today I asked 40 people two questions: 1. Do you live in Brisbane? and 2. Do you know who King Edward VII was since there is a park named after him in the city?
Of the 40 people I approached, 39 fled in abject terror, and the other said he was from Antarctica. Okay kidding aside, only 5 said they were not from Brisbane, which meant my sample size was 35 people. That makes the math a bit more difficult than a nice round number like 40 or 30, but when doing scientific research, you have to go with the flow. So, of my 35 sample population, a whopping 30 said they never even heard of King Edward or confused him with some other English king. Of the remaining 5 who knew of him, only 1 knew he was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. None knew he reigned for only 9 years because Victoria reigned for so long (sort of like the present Queen Elizabeth and her son Prince Charles). I did not bother to ask if any knew King Edward was the uncle of Kaiser Wilhelm II of the Germany. Anyway, that means 97.2% of Brisbane citizens did not know who or why their city has a park named King Edward VII Park.
Now, I am not going to castigate the fair citizens of this city because I would hazard a guess that somewhat similar numbers might be garnered from other cities for parks in their jurisdictions. For instance, I don't think too many people in Washington, DC know who Farragut Square is named for or what he did. Think of your own city or town and ask yourself if you know about the origin of some landmark you know well about, but do you?
Thanks for reading again.