Monday, 19 December 2016

Big Bang to the Coffee Explosion - a billion year history



I wrote this last month to be read at an event at our local bookshop celebrating the history of our local 'high' street. I've been doing a lot of research with my colleagues - the West End Making History Group.

From Big Bang to the Coffee Explosion - Boundary Street West End


I

In the beginning

Nothing                    A  lot  of  nothing              Nothing but nothing

Then

BOOM

BIG BANG

Shit everywhere

It’s still up there

Floating                    Floating                    Floating   

For billions of years                    

A Universe

Venus                        Saturn                       Mars                          Earth.  

Water

Microbes

Oxygen      

Ocean

Life.

A floating world

A supercontinent

Gondwanaland       A Great South Land

Drifting North                    Drifting                   Drifting

A boat on a sea of magma

Floating                    Drifting               Crawling North.



II

Wait on, what’s that?

Aboriginal people here

The first Australians

The first Australians

Here for 50 000 years.



III

Then yesterday

This whitefella and a mate

A boat afloat

A canvas sail

It’s Oxley.

‘I like this place’

‘Good place for a Penal Colony,’ he thinks

AND  THEN ………

Prefers the North bank.

A slight the South cannot let go

Regarded only as a place for crops to grow

And so begins the resistance

The insistence

‘We are not to be toyed with’

And the Spirit of West End begins to flow.



IV

What does this Oxley find?

Jungle, Lagoons, Hoop Pine (good for ships masts), blackfellas, tracks,

A Water Rat

Kuril  -  pa

A dry creek gully   - running North to South

To ridges falling from a high hill behind

This gully, dry - but when it floods

Backfills from Melbourne Street lagoons to Vulture Street

Around our feet.



V

What happens next?

The first survey

A man called Wade.

Four lines drawn on a paper map

The boundaries of this Brisbane Town

Contested ground.

So Boundary becomes an exclusion zone

No blacks inside these lines at night

On Sundays no bullroarer dance.



VI

The line needs work

It’s crooked still

It’s filled, made straight and levelled true.

The times are good

The boom’s upon us

Hotel, Chemist, Tram, Police,

Homes spring up to fill the gaps.

A general store and then Shay’s Shoes.



VII

AT  LAST!!

South Brisbane BECOMES a city

ALAS

Short lived.

But Boundary is at the centre


A Picture Palace, A School of Arts

First library ever purpose built.

All this by 1928

All this

All this

All this and more

Before the death of the corner store

And birth instead of another sound

Cash registers and

The coffee ground.

© Steve Capelin 2016