I live in Brisbane and I love it. I know a lot of people don’t (and, invariably they’re always from different states). And I know a lot of people view us as the poor country cousins but I don’t care. And just for the record, I don’t think they’re right. But I AM going to say that, aren’t I?
I’ve lived here since I was about seven years old. So all told, I’ve been here 32 years. For me, I can’t see me ever leaving this city again. I love it here, but I haven’t always been filled with this great love and appreciation.
In my youth I left Brisbane. Without a backward glance, I jumped on that JAL flight to Heathrow and happily embarked on the adventure of my young life. I fled for the same reason many other young Australian’s left. To explore, discover, experience and be awed. I did all of that. Had a fabulous time and grudgingly returned poor as the proverbial church mouse. To be fair, I actually went over as poor as this church mouse.
Upon my return I picked at Brisbane. I bullied it. Pushed it around like my baby brother (sorry bro). In my mind I had outgrown Brisbane. It wasn’t big enough for me, the fashion in Europe was far superior, the people weren’t worldly enough and there was NO variety in shoe shops (this was a deal-breaker for me). I scoffed at the mere suggestion that I was home to stay. No way, I’d say – I’m home to pay off my credit cards, save money and then head straight back. I couldn’t wait to leave.
Fifteen years later and here I sit, eating crow. So what happened? I started seeing the place differently. I started re-discovering and genuinely appreciating Brisbane and its surrounds. Sunday afternoon sessions at Friday’s with a steak, jazz and a drink. Weekends away in Byron Bay with my besties. Eumundi Markets on a Saturday morning and filling up on all the tasters. Day trips down the Goldie with my besties, falling asleep in the backseat on the drive home with a wet towel wound into the window to keep the sun out. Areas like Teneriffe, the Brisbane Powerhouse, Emporium and Portside springing up. Fruit and veg shopping at the Rocklea Markets.
I feel fortunate to still live in the town I grew up in. My memories are many and date back a long time. I’ve watched the mall evolve into what it is today. I still remember Cherry Lane on the mall. It was this giant, two-storey white glossy store full of clothing I’d never be able to wear because I would NEVER be that cool. Going to the movies was such a big deal because you actually had to travel into the city. A trip to the flicks was never complete without a visit to Darrell Lea for a glass bottle of tiny, brightly coloured boiled lollies. I think they still sell them, don’t they? And no childhood memory of Brisbane is complete without Kim Durant singing "Love you Brisbane". And just for old times sake - here's the clip.
Now that I’ve got children, I’ve found my past, my present and my future are all bound to this one city. Who knows where Polynesian Princess and Little Warrior will end up in the world? They may spread their wings and disappear to a different continent for a time or forever. But for now they’re here, collecting their own childhood memories. In Brisbane, our hometown.
Do you still live in the city you grew up in? What are your favourite memories?
Image: Troy Faulder / FreeDigitalPhotos.net