Hornibrook: building bridges connects Brisbane

A decade of building major bridge infrastructure projects in Brisbane cemented Sir Manuel Richard Hornibrook (often known as ‘MR’) as a pioneering Queenslander into the history of the state. A self-starter who built the family business with his brothers, MR gained contracts all along the Brisbane River from wharves to terminals to wool stores and more. The company became known for bridge building and enterprise and gained the biggest contracts offered in the history of the state.

Julie Hornibrook, recipient of the 2015 Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship, developed a fitting tribute to her grandfather, MR, in the form of essays about three iconic landmarks of the greater Brisbane area. The essays are accompanied by historic photographs in these interesting showcases.

The Story Bridge

The Story Bridge is iconic to Brisbane and its identity. The Bridge, its 12,000 tonnes of steel and capacity is also about stories of the people who built it, believed in it and believed in building Brisbane.

Read the essay that Julie Hornibrook has prepared to pay tribute to MR Hornibrook and his legacy to Brisbane.

Hornibrook Bridge, taken on 80th anniversary of the opening

The Hornibrook Highway

The Hornibrook Highway was developed by MR Hornibrook as a link from Brighton to Redcliffe with a bridge spanning Hays Inlet and Bramble Bay. It reduced isolation of the Peninsula, opened up the beaches and created direct links to Brisbane. It also provided steady work during the Depression.

Read the essay that Julie Hornibrook has prepared to pay tribute to MR Hornibrook and his legacy to Brisbane.

Aerial photo of the bridge taken soon after the opening, showing detail of the cityscape and roads on north and south sides of the river.

The William Jolly Bridge

The Grey Street Bridge opening over the Brisbane River was a grand event on 30 March 1932, eleven days after the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and nearly eight years before the Story Bridge. The rivalry between the two cities was well underway and Brisbane was immensely proud of its new Bridge. The Brisbane Courier described the Harbour Bridge opening as having "acclamation of the whole of Australia, but if that were in Brisbane it would be a monstrosity. The Grey Street Bridge was a bridge of classical design over the most beautiful river in the Commonwealth."

Read the essay that Julie Hornibrook prepared to pay tribute to MR Hornibrook and his legacy to Brisbane.