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Petrie Bight Retaining Wall

  • 600159
  • 443-501 Queen Street, Brisbane City

General

Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Transport—road: Embankment/cutting
Themes
5.2 Moving goods, people and information: Using draught animals
5.5 Moving goods, people and information: Using motor vehicles
Builder
Patten, Henry
Construction period
1881–1882, Petrie Bight Retaining Wall (1881 - 1882)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century

Location

Address
443-501 Queen Street, Brisbane City
LGA
Brisbane City Council
Coordinates
-27.46448781, 153.03145984

Map

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The Petrie Bight Retaining Wall is important in illustrating the development of Brisbane's road and wharf facilities by the Brisbane Municipal Council in the late 19th century. Construction of the wall was associated closely with municipal acquisition of Kennedy Wharf, and reflects the Council's developing role in providing improved transportation facilities in Brisbane. It survives as an example of a major engineering project undertaken by the Brisbane Municipal Council in the 1880s.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

The Petrie Bight Retaining Wall is also a fine example of a late 19th century stone retaining wall, and is important in illustrating its type. It has aesthetic significance in the contribution of its scale and texture to the Brisbane riverscape, and the cast-iron work remains an example of the decorative work of important Brisbane ironfounders Smith Forrester & Co.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

It has aesthetic significance in the contribution of its scale and texture to the Brisbane riverscape, and the cast-iron work remains an example of the decorative work of important Brisbane ironfounders Smith Forrester & Co.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

The Petrie Bight Retaining Wall is important in illustrating the development of Brisbane's road and wharf facilities by the Brisbane Municipal Council in the late 19th century. Construction of the wall was associated closely with municipal acquisition of Kennedy Wharf, and reflects the Council's developing role in providing improved transportation facilities in Brisbane.

History

This retaining wall was built in 1881-82 for the Brisbane Municipal Council. The contractor for the project was Henry Patten and the cast iron balustrading was manufactured locally by Smith Forrester & Co.

In 1880, after the Council purchased Kennedy Wharf [just downstream from the present Customs House], they obtained a loan of £7000 to build the retaining wall and extend Kennedy Wharf to Macrossan Street. Besides providing more working space behind the wharves, the wall marked the recently widened alignment of Queen Street.

In 1887 the City Engineer reported that the wall was out of plumb by 9 inches (23 cm) in 100 yards (91.4 metres). In consequence, the wall was stabilised by the addition of eight engaged buttresses.

Use of the Petrie Bight area changed after the 1940s when downstream shipping facilities were established, and the area below the retaining wall became available for development. One such development saw the establishment of a landscaped recreation area beside a car park.

Recent alterations since 1988 have seen about 20 metres of the wall dismantled and reconstructed on a new alignment. The parapet has been breached in three places with openings ranging from 5 to 8 metres wide. One of the openings now houses a reinforced concrete stairway which leads to a five storey building erected on the river side of the wall.

Description

This 150 metre long, parapeted retaining wall, ranging in height from 5 to 9 metres is built of porphyry (Brisbane tuff). The blocks are laid in courses and surmounted by a detailed cast-iron railing which incorporates one of the two original lamp standards and terminates in a sandstone endpost at the Customs House end of the wall. At the northern end of the wall, eight engaged buttresses, added only a few years after construction of the wall, afford further support.

The arches provide rhythm to the mass of the wall while the finely detailed balustrade adds an effect of light and space. The distinctive pinks, greens and browns of the porphyry contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the wall.

As the wall was backfilled with rock to the present level of Queen Street, only the parapet and railing are visible from the street. From the river side, however, the wall with its varying depths and distinctive arches and supporting pilasters is clearly visible.

The wall is largely intact despite several modifications.

Image gallery

Location

Location of Petrie Bight Retaining Wall within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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