Here’s a few sites to discover on your very own doorstep.

Visit Rome or Greece and you will be ‘blown away’ by how the historic parts of their city are overrun by everyday living. But right here in Brisbane, we have glimpses of our past that you might walk past every day and not know their story.

Here’s a few to check out.

The air raid shelter in Stones Corner

Did you know that the seating at the bus stop out the front of the Brisbane City Council library in Stones Corner is a former air raid shelter? It was built in 1942 to protect civilians. Although many air raid shelters were built during this time, very few survived, and here is one right in our midst. Take a seat!

Ego at work

You may have passed the Mooney Memorial Fountain at the intersection of Eagle and Queen Street that pays tribute to firefighter James Mooney — a volunteer who lost his life fighting a fire in Queen Street in 1877—and all firefighters who lost their lives protecting the city. But did you know it wasn’t always a ‘noble’ fountain? In 1877, the then-council built the fountain to give the area a lift, raising funds through a public subscription.

This happened to coincide with a fund-raising effort for a memorial to James Mooney. On completion, the self-serving aldermen put up a plaque listing all of their names, but residents associated the fountain with Mooney. When it needed restoration work in 1988, the council formalised the association with James Mooney and put up the plaque commemorating him and all firefighters.

A woman bucking the system

Look up next time you are in King George Square and see the artwork of Lilian Daphne Mayo — her carved sandstone tympanum (the triangular decorative wall surface) is above the entrance of City Hall. Born in 1895, Daphne studied art craftsmanship under the art master R. Godfrey Rivers, who painted the glorious jacaranda painting in our Queensland Art Gallery. She worked with the Ipswich monumental mason Frank
Williams to gain experience in stone carving. Resolved to have an independent career, Daphne broke off her engagement and got to work. She was appointed as the Queensland Art Gallery’s first woman trustee (1960) and died in Brisbane in 1982.

Thomas, the boy who accepted all

There’s a statue in King George Square depicting Brisbane’s pioneering Petrie family in 1842. Andrew Petrie, the head of the family is mounted on a horse and his son Thomas sits beside an Aboriginal boy and a freed convict maid. Thomas was educated by a convict clerk and mixed freely with Aboriginal children where he learnt to speak the local language, Turrbal. He was accepted by the Aborigines and was often used as a messenger and invited on exploration expeditions. He grew up to be an explorer and grazier, had nine children and died at Murrumba.

Did we miss any Brisbane landmarks that are steeped in history but not well known by the community? Let us know in the comments below.