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Our Town - Part Five

Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The Riverside Expressway, leading to Coronation Drive. At night.
Brisbane like the rest of the world, braced for another war.

Australia had been largely isolated, with its troops fighting in North Africa, while a megalomaniacal Japanese war machine terrorised the West Pacific.

World War II military hospital, Holland Park (not far from where Mrs Speech and I, live.
However after Pearl Harbour, the United States' top military commander in the Pacific theatre, General Douglas MacArthur, chose the AMP Building in Brisbane for his headquarters.

(It is now a shopping centre in the city, called MacArthur Central.) Other buildings were given over to military use.

Brisbane would be used as the Allied rear hub until 1945.

Queen Street tram, 1969.
Post-War Brisbane struggled to raise cash to develop and transform the city, with infrastructure falling behind need in many areas. Sanitation, transport and the electricity grid were issues urgently in need of addressing through the fifties and sixties.

In 1961 iconic Mayor Clem Jones was elected and began instituting solutions as well as a town plan. The tax base (ratings base) of the city had grown, which aided urban and suburban renewal.

But in 1974 Brisbane's arch-nemesis would strike its 911,000 inhabitants.
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