Have phone, will Wunderwalk


Green Gables ca 1970s, one of the 1930s apartment blocks in the quaint Julius Street enclave.

THE free app for smartphones called WunderWalk has recently enjoyed an exciting makeover, enabling users to access special walks around Brisbane.

These itineraries include several which have been created by some of the city’s leading artists and designers.

The developer of Wunderwalk, Kat McArthur, asked Gerard to prepare a six-stop amble around New Farm taking in historical sites.

The walk starts at the Brunswick Hotel, takes in the panorama of Wilson’s Outlook, and offers a look at Julius Street’s unique collection of 1930s apartment blocks. Next, the trail visits Holy Spirit Church, Merthyr Road Village, and ends in New Farm Park.

The app supplies plenty of information as you do the walking.



Hostesses book launched…

TAA 194-Filtered-G.jpg
PATRICIA MERLEHAN’S book entitled TAA to Wings Away was launched on 1 December on the Sunshine Coast.

“I love the book. It’s a terrific memory for the ladies who have been part of Wings Away for decades,” said one attendee.

WingsAway-Launch-Dec2016-4-GThe book marks 50 years of the association of former TAA Hostesses named Wings Away. Not only has Wings Away been a remarkable social forum, but it has also provided significant funds for handicapped children in Australia.

Having been both President and Secretary of the Queensland Branch, Tric gradually became Wings Away’s unofficial historian/archivist.

Gerard assisted with editing and book design. This well-illustrated book may be ordered from the author, by emailing: patriciamerlehan-at-bigpond.com.

New Farm hidden lane

New Farm’s hidden laneways have a charm of their own…

THE recent Walking Tour of Historical New Farm was “fully booked”, and included participants from interstate, and Brisbane residents from New Farm and beyond, plus a junior student of history, eight-month-old Victoria.

For a short time somewhere near Elron Court in Moray Street, the group gained another three participants—which the tour guide accepted as an implied plaudit. Many of the walkers enjoyed being able to get up close to several of the homes featured in Gerard’s much-commended recent book, Homes with History on the New Farm Peninsula.

The popularity of these historical walks means that they are set to continue. Teneriffe will be the locale of the next one on Saturday 14 November 2015, 9-11.30am. Book now on 3666 0924. Why not organise your friends and make it a group outing! (Photos courtesy of Denise) —— SOLD OUT!

New Farm Cafe 63

Cafe 63 in Brunswick Street proved to be the ideal starting off point.

Book sells itself…

HOMES with History apparently makes the bookseller’s task very easy. It “just sells itself,” says Andrea Clifford at Mary Ryan’s bookshop in New Farm. No wonder the book—both in soft back and hard back—has been the shop’s top-seller for the eighth week in a row.

Homes with HIstory seems to appeal to a broad demographic,” says Andrea, “including those visiting from overseas.”

HwH is also clearly popular at the State Library of Queensland Shop, where it appears among the ten “Best sellers this week”.

ABC Radio Field Interview Terri Begley with Gerard at Wynberg.

ABC Radio Field Interviewer Terri Begley chats with Gerard at Wynberg (Photo: Chris Derrick).

THE elegant “blue” sitting room at Wynberg provided the perfect setting when Gerard was interviewed about Homes with History for Radio ABC 612’s Steven Austin show on Friday, 1 May 2015.

Terri Begley deftly elicited all sorts of interesting facts about Wynberg’s four owners, along with a brief biographical sketch of early local property mogul James Gibbon.

Of the portions which Gerard read from one of Gibbon’s letters (to his sister Emma in January 1852), the interviewer thought that this personal aside would inspire a smile from listeners:

I am sorry to hear that you consider William [their brother] “too fat and as a natural consequence too lazy to get married”. I am afraid you would think me much in the same position as I weigh very nearly 14 stone [89kg]…

The 33-year-old writer was clearly wondering if he needed to present a more winning profile before returning to England to secure a bride—which he did four years later!

Click here for more about the interview, including the sound file. Many thanks to Terri Begley, ABC Radio 612, and Leanne at Wynberg.

Wynberg in New Farm

Wynberg, seen from Holy Spirit Church, was one of the stops on the Historical Walk around New Farm

FOR the fourth week running, Homes with History on the New Farm Peninsula is the No. 1 best-seller at Mary Ryan’s Bookshop in Merthyr Village, New Farm.

The book was the inspiration behind “A Walking Tour of Historical New Farm” which Gerard Benjamin led on Saturday 18 April. The tour, which commenced at the End of the Park Cafe in Brunswick Street, included a visit to Coronet Court, where walkers enjoyed the unexpected good fortune of seeing inside a ground-floor apartment.

P1080332-GWynberg on Brunswick Street proves to be a mystery to many locals and passers-by, but tour participants enjoyed a closer look at the beautiful residence of the Catholic Archbishop when they were welcomed by the house manager for a quick “porch-stop”.

P1080339-GNext it was “off to the pictures”, when New Farm Cinemas‘ co-owner Peter Sourris offered a rest break and an informative tour of his recently-opened establishment. This included seeing one of the 1930s joists of the earlier Astor Theatre, as well as marvelling at the hi-tech projection room. The chocolate shop on the Cinemas’ Barker Street frontage, which sells “Brisbane’s Best”, was a sweet favourite.

P1080365-GWending their way back to New Farm Park via Langshaw and Moray Streets, Turner Avenue and Oxlade Drive, walkers stopped to hear snippets about several more houses featured in the Homes with History book.

Because the Walking Tour was booked out weeks before, organisers Bright Learning are planning a repeat event on Saturday, 20 June 2015.

Photos courtesy of Chris Derrick www.newfarmpark.com.au.


Homes Hits No. 1…!

MaryRyanNF-HwH-No.1-2Apr15THIS WEEK, Homes with History on the New Farm Peninsula has been No. 1 on Mary Ryan New Farm’s Top Ten. This followed a very successful book-signing on Saturday 28 March 2015 when several owners of homes featured in the book requested that their copies be inscribed by the author.

Book talks by Gerard to residents at Marycrest Kangaroo Point and members of New Farm Probus confirmed that stories from the book fascinate listeners. There is clearly a popular demand for historical insights about how people lived their lives in New Farm’s days of old.