In the centre of the old city of South Brisbane, at the intersection of its two main streets, Stanley and Vulture, one finds a small, triangular park. Its most obvious feature is the grand set of stairs leading up from Stanley Street, near the Ship Inn Hotel. These stairs have a commanding presence, inviting the walker to ascend to an imposing edifice, but at the top they simply end. Part-way up, a couple of metres above street level, a pedestal, 2 metres high and 2.5 metres across, draws the eye upwards; it should be supporting an iconic statue, perhaps 3 or 4 metres high, but there is nothing. I've lived in the South Brisbane area for most of the past 40 years, and the mystery of the grand stairs and empty pedestal of South Brisbane Memorial Park has long puzzled me. What is this park memorialising? If a war, then which war, and why is it not known as South Brisbane War Memorial Park? These are some of the questions my research sought to uncover.
Bill Metcalf is a Brisbane-based freelance researcher and writer, a member of the Professional Historians Society and Research Methodologist within the Griffith Graduate Research School. He is on the editorial boards of several refereed academic journals, and is the author of nine books, nineteen chapters in edited books, six articles in encyclopedias, 25 refereed articles in academic journals, nineteen reviews in refereed journals, over 50 articles in magazines and news-papers, plus numerous conference papers and research reports.