Brush up on your general knowledge so you can impress others with your trivia skills.

Who was Francis Stanley?

Francis Drummond Greville Stanley. That’s a name to conjure. “Who was he?”, many of you may ask and yet you will all know his work.

Colonial architect Francis Stanley

Francis Drummond Greville Stanley

Francis Stanley was born in Edinburgh in 1839 and came to Queensland in 1860 or thereabouts.

He was an Edinburgh-trained architect and began work with the Lands Department. He rose to be the chief colonial architect in 1871.

The recently refurbished and opened Maryborough Story Bank, the birthplace of Mary Poppins’ author, Pamela Travers, began life as the Australian Joint Stock Bank (AJS Bank) and was designed by Stanley.

St Mary's Catholic Church, Maryborough

He also designed the Maryborough Court House, St Paul’s Anglican Church, in Adelaide St and had a hand in completing the design and extension of St Mary’s Catholic Church (pictured).

He was a significant contributor to the heritage Maryborough now boasts. His role in the city’s local heritage is echoed throughout Queensland.

The AJS Bank commissioned him to design branch buildings in Gympie, Mackay, Ravenswood and Townsville. He also designed St Mary’s Convent, now the museum, in Cooktown, in Far North Queensland, and the Brisbane GPO and Fort Lytton, in Moreton Bay, as well.

Architect of lighthouses

Stanley’s skill and taste are not just to be found in his public buildings, though.

He designed the Capricorn Light on Curtis Island, north of Gladstone and others along the coast.

The original light was a prefab structure of wood and iron, built in Brisbane, and was only the fifth lighthouse built in Queensland.

As we celebrate the beauty of our heritage, it is worthwhile to remember the humble public servant who designed them for us.

 

First published in the Maryborough Herald, 7 May 2020. 

Maryborough Story Bank

Maryborough Story Bank, the birthplace of Mary Poppins author, P. L. Travers, was designed by Francis Stanley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maryborough Courthouse

Maryborough Courthouse, Queensland, designed by Francis Stanley.

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What’s the deal with so many pineapple motifs?

Have you ever wondered why pineapple motifs are a recurring theme? I have.

It seems like pineapple motifs are everywhere. They’re on shirts, pineapple art, jewellery and ornaments to name just a few.

Pineapples are even featured in one of the mosaics adorning Kent Street at Maryborough, Queensland.

The blurb suggests the city’s municipal benefactor, George Ambrose White, who donated money for the construction of the Maryborough Town Hall in the early 1900s, made his money out of pineapples, amongst other things including gold.

Pineapples in mosiacs

Maryborough storyteller Ian Brown tells Eriko Badri and daughter Sana from Bundaberg about the pineapple motifs in the city’s mosiac.

Why pineapples?

The pineapple is a member of the Bromeliad family. It is native to South America, most likely from southern Brazil and Paraguay.

It was introduced to Europe in the 15th Century first by Christopher Columbus, who encountered it in Guadeloupe.

It had, by then, spread throughout South and Central America.

In Europe, the pineapple proved hard to cultivate and therein is the answer to why the pineapple remains an emblem, a motif of fashion and prestige.

It became rare and hard to procure and so became a symbol of wealth and power.

A pineapple could sell for as much as $8000 in today’s money.

Those able to acquire a pineapple would use it as a centrepiece for swank affairs. In fact, it was possible to rent pineapples for an event.

The rich and famous adorned their homes and other building with carved pineapples.

Christopher Wren chose gold pineapples to top both the North Towers of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Purportedly, it was Barbara Palmer, mistress of King Charles II, who first cultivated the tropical fruit in Europe in a ‘hothouse’ in the late 1600s.

Indeed, King Charles also had official portraits painted in which pineapples appear prominently.

In Queensland, pineapples are grown in the Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay, Yeppoon, Coastal North Queensland and the Atherton Tableland regions. In the 2012-13 season, the Australian pineapple processing sector produced 39,000 t of fruit for canning and juicing, which was worth $12.5 million. — Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Pinapples in architecture

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Backyard birds: Noisy Miners

One of the joys of living on the Fraser Coast is being able to work in and around the garden pretty well 12 months of the year and be able to study and enjoy the multitude of wildlife and birds on offer, such as the Noisy Miners.

The simple selection and placement of trees and shrubs will open your garden to the splendours of nature with the most prolific being birds.

One bird species that are frequent in this area are the Miner birds (not to be confused with the Myna bird).

Of the four varieties of Miner Birds, the most common to us is the Noisy Miner also known as the Micky or Soldierbird.

Noisy Miners are one of the most animated and aggressive species to visit the garden.

They are especially noisy when a predator such as a goanna, crow or the household cat wanders into the garden and will fly around the intruder calling loudly and snapping its beak at it, which is possibly why it is also known as the Soldierbird’

Noisy Miners have adapted well to suburbia and our leafy gardens and green lawns.  They’re easily identifiable with their incessant chatter call of “pwee pwee pwee’”  or the chuckling “weedidit weedidit weedidit”.

Noisy Miners feed mainly on insects

Feeding mainly on insects in the upper tree covering they do enjoy fruit and nectar and will feed on a bird feeder placed near a tree.

While they’ll have a go at most fruits they are very partial to PawPaw.  Trees such as Banksia’s and Grevilleas are  a great way of providing shelter and nectar for our Miner friends,

These little blokes are real entertainers when it comes to bath time, taking in turns to dive-bomb into the birdbath or even the family pool and then retreating to a nearby fence or tree branch whilst they preen and clean their feathers.

A close relative of the Noisy Miner is the Yellow-throated Miner. Almost identical to the Noisy except for a yellowish patch on the fore-neck and a more pronounced white rump. It is not unheard of on the Fraser Coast but lives predominantly in drier areas to the west of the Great Dividing Range.  A keen eye is needed if you are to spot the difference.

Miner birds have been wrongly linked with the introduced Myna bird which is of the Starling family and considered a pest in many areas.

The Myna bird was introduced into Australia from south-east Asia in the 1860s and can be found in many parts of the country.  They are a similar size to our native Miners but black to dark brown in colour with larger yellow feet and have a bandy walk.

Backyard Birds

This is the Noisy Miners’ cousin, a Yellow-throated Miner, which is more commonly seen in Western Queensland where this fellow was photographed by Jocelyn in Charleville.

Noisy Miners

Don Watts of Maryborough attracts Noisy Miners to his garden with pieces of fruit in a bowl. Photos by Jocelyn.