Past and present - William Jolly/Grey Street Bridge
Guest blogger - Julie Hornibrook, 2015 Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellow
A highlight of exploring the history of the William Jolly Bridge has been finding a family photo album of the construction and opening of the Grey Street Bridge, in my treasure box of family photos. I have donated the album to State Library and many of the images are in my photo essay on the William Jolly Bridge, the second one built to cross the Brisbane River, opening on 30 March 1932.
In the album is a photo of the original plaque that was erected on the North Quay side of the Bridge, unveiled by the Governor, Sir John Goodwin, at the opening. The plaque includes the Brisbane City Council Coat of Arms, used until 1946, with its motto "Conjunctis Viribus". The Coat of Arms is also depicted in a stained glass window by William Bustard in the Brisbane City Hall.
In walking over the Bridge recently I noticed the plaque was missing. The Heritage section of Brisbane City Council and Phil Cutler, Senior Engineer explained to me that the plaque was being refurbished and would soon be back. And so it was! The original plaque is restored, proudly describing the opening day and the work of the supervising engineer, Harding Frew, and my grandfather’s company M.R. Hornibrook Ltd, as the builders.
Official Souvenir of Opening of Grey St Bridge 30 March 1932. It also illustrates the Brisbane Coast of Arms, and poinsettia flowers, the floral emblem of Brisbane adopted in 1930. Photo by Julie Hornibrook, 2015
Perhaps a protector of the Bridge is the extraordinary image that is cast in moulds on the outside of the balustrade pillars of the Bridge! It was designed by Miss Karma Eklund, the 17 year old girl daughter of the Manager of the Hume Company which made the balustrades in their factory in West End. See more in my essay on the building of the Grey Street Bridge.
My research on the history of the William Jolly /Grey Street Bridge has connected me with the construction stories of the Bridge and the inventions by M.R. Hornibrook as the builder and teamwork with the engineers to achieve a lasting Bridge. The Bridge was instrumental in the growth of Brisbane and the success of merging twenty five LGAs into one Greater Brisbane. It is an art work in its own right now, with images projected onto its graceful lines when Brisbane celebrates as a proud and vibrant city. My grandfather would be so happy to see the way it is so loved and enjoyed at the heart of Brisbane life in 2016.
Discover more of Julie Hornibrook's research -
- Showcase - William Jolly Bridge - contains historical photographs and an in-depth essay about the building of the William Jolly/ Grey Street Bridge
- Showcase - Hornibrook Highway - contains historical photographs and an in-depth essay about the building of the Hornibrook Highway
- Showcase - Story Bridge - contains historical photographs and an in-depth essay about the building of this iconic Brisbane landmark
- Brisbane Mementos of Sir Manuel Hornibrook - article published in the John Oxley Library blog
- Hornibrook Highway - article published in the John Oxley Library blog