Sunday, November 27, 2011

McWhirters



I was in the Valley on the weekend searching out the junk stores for decoration for my Dad's Chinese themed 70th birthday party. I was looking for paper lanterns, Chinese trinkets, glow sticks and all manner of cheap imported things I associate with the Valley.

While I was waiting to cross the road at Brunswick Street I look at the McWhirters facade, gleaming in the afternoon sun and standing proudly as it would have when it was built in the 1930s. I never realised what a magnificent building it was. A fine example of Art Deco architecture, an era I just adore.

The valley really has degraded over the years, even moreso since I first came to Brisbane in 1993. Even then it was a bit of a dive and I never really knew it was anything else other than Chinatown and a red light district. But after a bit of research I found that Fortitude Valley was once a thriving upmarket shopping precinct from the late 1800s until the 1970s, with McWhiters a large department store.

It's really sad to see the state of the Valley when you see how it once was, but I'm glad there's some remnants of their glory days and I live in hope that someday they'll be restored.