Caxton Street is in Paddington, just minutes from the CBD
The area I am referring to in my story runs from the Barracks at the top off Petrie Terrace down to Suncorp Stadium
Every year in May the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival is held (in Caxton Street of course!). I was very fortunate this year to take part in a big way as I was the Artist-In-Residence. A painting I did of the street a few months before the festival was adopted as the festival’s official logo. On the day I encouraged festival goers to participate in creating miniature artworks which were then collaged together making up two brightly coloured mosaic panels. These panels now embrace the painting of the street and the ‘Caxton Street Artwork’ is a great memento for the people of Brisbane of this fun-filled festival held in a favourite street. Caxton Street is filled with famous restaurants, nightclubs and hotels, a great place to hang out and enjoy music, food and drink with friends or visitors to our beautiful city. A short film was made of the making of the artwork and can be seen on my website at www.donnahawkins.com
Samford Rd, from Samford to Mount Glorious
5 months ago my family and I relocated from Sydney to Brisbane. We were looking to change our life, to swap the hectic for the quiet, the cramped and crowded for the green and sparse. This move led us to Ferny Grove, a suburb on the outskirts of Brisbane. On one side of us is the city of Brisbane and the other is the beginning of the countryside. During my first weeks here I spent much of the time driving away from the city and into the direction of the country along Samford Rd. This this is the road to Mount Glorious, a mountain which slowly appears as the houses disappear and farmland and bush takes over. It has become the proverbial breath of fresh air and symbolises the space and connection with nature that we were seeking when leaving Sydney.
This painting, ‘Tell it to the mountain’ is based on a sequence of photos I took on one of the many car trips towards Mount Glorious during a period of great introspection during which I oscillated between wonder at my new “backyard” and trepidation for the future ahead.
Christian Street, Clayfield, Brisbane
Turn right at the bottom of Batman Street and it’s opposite the house with the big arse fence
My special place, even though it is a bit of a weird shit hole is the Riverton Centre. Fondly named the Rivie. It’s been abandoned since I was little but from what I can glean, it used to be a sleep clinic for mums and kids; and it didn’t get particularly rave reviews in its heyday. The only vivid memory of it being in operation is one night while brushing my teeth like a good girl, we heard this intense wailing on the street. Turned out it was a mother and her kid had run away.
Anyway, the number of times comrades and I have been attacked by spiders and cobwebs exploring there is countless but obviously we never learn. Like any abandoned hole, it’s not known for its well kept grassy lawn. The phrase “Do I go to the Riverton Centre?” has been casually paralleled with the question “Do I have AIDS?” It holds an air of mystery and intrigue among a generation of neighbourhood kids. Once two exploration teams ran into each other in the side alley of the building resulting in one of the parties (the one I was in) to run away squealing like ninnies.
One of my more fonder memories in recent times when I had to make a quick escape through the length of the Rivie into the adjourning street after being harangued by a bunch of males. This escape was executed in the dark. In rollerblades. Not as exciting as it sounds though
You can see inside, the security system is still running even after 7 years and everything in the rooms is eerily untouched. If you need somewhere to chill it also has a park bench for munging into hot chips.
Its better features include a catacomb under the carpark, a working doorbuzzer and lights that turn on every single night without fail. As well as being a creepy waste of electricity it also doubles as a great place for photoshoots and awkward unfinished forays into street art involving acrylic paint and an unnecessary amount of glitter.
I’ve always dreamt of smashing it open and turning it into a hangout. Apparently it’s getting turned into apartments. Regardless, it’s our spesh place for now, albeit a creepy as hell one.
Davies Park markets on the hill, near the boatsheds and the end of Riverside Drive
West End Markets
Sitting on soggy Saturday leaves with coffee in hand and song in ears, I feel soft contentment seep up from the soil. My back sees stalls selling German sausages and sunflowers. My face grins towards the murky river, where morning rowers move in time. Fig tree roots wrap around friends and families, weaving through the barefooted, the bike-riders, the ones with their vegetables in little wheeled trollies. Colours, rhythms and idea-fuelled voices fill the air, feeding the new weekend, urging it to dance. This place brings me home to my far-away family and my new city life.
Northside of Brisbane
I love the northside of Brisbane. The beach, the train line, the people.
My special place is a surf-less, flat, brown beach called Sandgate. Historical photographs show crowds of women and children enjoying an outing to Sandgate; with full body, white bathing clothes. Now days it’s not so much a beach for swimming but a place to take a walk at dusk or a picnic with friends.
This place is special to me because it is at the backdrop to my childhood and, as I foresee, the setting of a future life. I love the soldier crabs that march the mudflats in their hordes; I love the way that strangers always offer a friendly hello and I love the smell of the salty ocean.
Visiting Sandgate always makes me feel better- mum says it’s something to do with negative Ions. I think it’s the good memories, the fresh breeze and the expanse of the ocean reminding us how small we are and how much potential we have.
The trees to the left of the amphitheatre at the top of Roma Street Parklands
I walked with Danny from Herston coming out at the top side of Roma Street Parklands. It was dark and hot. He was tired from chemo. I was mesmerised. Alison Moyet’s song ‘Is this Love’ played in my mind repeating itself through my entire body, coming out in goose bumps and deep halting breaths. He lay still on his back looking through the trees canopy into the night sky, barely breathing. I needed him to love me and he was just tolerating me. 19 years later, it is dark and drizzling wet. Danny is gone. The tree has gone, damaged in a storm. Which tree was it again? I found someone else who loves me, someone who needs me.
A windy alley between an old church and school building
My best friends and I called this place ‘Windy Alley’ – a name which has been passed on through the generations of students from the Catholic School which it was a part of. Its a humble space with three water fountains. A quiet wind consistently blows from the sea breeze close by.
This place is a time portal and archive of my life. I have continued to return to this place during every stage of my life. As I walk through the alley, which spans only 10 meters – I walk down the 27 years of my time in Brisbane. I was once a young boy who sang in the church and played games at the school. I am now a young man who reflects on his past to find his future.
I hope that one day, when I’m gone; someone will walk through this windy alley and feels my entire life’s memories in one fleeting moment… and I hope they smile.
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