One of Brisbane city’s most charming quarters is the lower George – Alice Street precinct…. Parliament House, the Queensland Club, QUT with old Government House in the grounds, the cooling, lush expanse of the Botanic Gardens a welcome backdrop. The Gardens offer visitors pleasures apart from rare and native botanical specimens including riverside walks, cycle paths, coffee venues, fountains, playgrounds, outdoor event venues, open-air art works, precious shade in summer.
The Gardens played a pivotal role in the early days of Brisbane and Queensland’s settlement, as a source of fresh vegetables for the convicts and as a laboratory for identifying plants that would be suitable for the new colony. The first jacarandas were grown there.
My earliest memory of the Gardens is of its zoo, the giant monkey and bird cages, long since gone, a vague shadow in my consciousness. In more recent times I worked at QUT and became a regular lunchtime visitor, either to enjoy a meal with friends at the charming City Gardens Café, or to stroll through the mangroves on the riverside boardwalk.
A great place to sit and relax.
Happy birthday in the Gardens.
Art imitating botanical life.
The heritage- listed café, originally the curator’s residence, has been taken over by the charitable Wise Foundation and is being refurbished as a function centre and café with 100 percent of profits going to charity. Sadly, last year the riverside boardwalk went the way of the zoo, quietly demolished by the Brisbane City Council which claimed the $1.8 million price tag for repairs to flood and storm damage was too great. Such a pity from educational, environmental and recreational points of view.