2020 vision of the river, adjacent to an 1889 Brisbane landmark and watering hole.
Having worked in David Jones Advertising Department in the late 1960’s, in 1970 I walked across Brunswick Street in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley to Myer and into their Advertising Department. No, I wasn’t unhappy working at David Jones. Quite the contrary. DJ’s had been my first job and I loved working there with its quaint black and white dress code. But I had met my wife-to-be there and I felt that as we were about to be married, it would be better for us to have some work-place separation. As it turned out within 12 months Dinah had also moved to Myer Advertising Department. Two years later in 1972, we were on our way to live in London.
When Dinah and I walked into the Substation Bar at the Breakfast Hotel on Sunday 2 February 2020, it was the first time we had seen many of our Myer mates in 50 years. They had certainly changed, but then so had we! What an amazing day.
It’s a MAD, MAD world!
While in the main, my blog posts focus on our travels and the amazing places we’ve visited around the world, in this instance I thought it appropriate to combine our experiences in a truly iconic part of Brisbane with a milestone personal event for us.
In recent years, past members of the Myer Advertising Department (MAD) have come together at the Breakfast Hotel in Brisbane to meet, reminisce and share their life experiences. Organised by the wonderful Helen Kielly, herself a former MAD Advertising Manager, these gatherings of ‘MAD Mates’ have become somewhat of an institutional event. Unfortunately, in the past they had coincided with us being overseas. But not in 2020. This year we were able to attend the annual February gathering and catch up with many friends and colleagues we had not seen for five decades. And it was a truly wonderful day, hearing what everyone had been up to. People we last saw in their early twenties were now grandparents proudly sharing family pics and life stories.
One off the wood
For us growing up and working in Brisbane, the Breakfast Creek Hotel was regarded as our favourite ‘watering hole’ in the river city, a convenient location for lunch during the 1970’s, being an easy drive from our places of work in Fortitude Valley. The steaks in the ‘Brekky Creek’ beer garden were, and remain today, legendary as is the beer from the barrel on the counter of the front bar – commonly referred to as ‘one off the wood’.
The Breakfast Creek Hotel has proudly stood on the banks of Breakfast Creek for well over a century. This large two story Brisbane landmark in the French Renaissance architectural style was constructed in 1889 for William MacNaughton Galloway, as seaman’s outfitter and Mayor of Brisbane from 1889 to 1890. The hotel was erected during a period of growth in the Breakfast Creek area associated with quarrying, timber-milling, the construction of the Albion Racecourse and the opening of the new Breakfast Creek Bridge in May 1889.
Today the Breakfast Creek Hotel is a Brisbane landmark and remains the only hotel in the city which still offers beer ‘off the wood’. Its more recent clientele has included an eclectic mix of waterside workers from the nearby Hamilton Wharves as well as professionals, petty criminals and politicians. And somewhere amongst all these, MAD Mates.
For locals and visitors alike, the Breakfast Creek hotel is a must-visit destination for the best steaks in Australia and the coldest beer. Check the Brekky Creek Hotel out at: www.breakfastcreekhotel.com
After lunch, walk over the bridge to Newstead Park, stroll the expansive gardens and visit Newstead House, a grand Georgian residence and Brisbane’s oldest surviving home. Established in 1846 on the banks of the Brisbane River, Newstead House offers visitors sweeping views of the Hamilton and Bulimba reaches of the river.
Room with a VIEW
Having driven down from the Sunshine Coast for the MAD Mates gathering, Dinah and I decided it convenient, indeed prudent to stay overnight in Brisbane. We booked into the VIEW Hotel on Kingsford Smith Drive, literally a 5 minute walk from the Breakfast Creek Hotel. Formally called the Brisbane Riverview Hotel, the VIEW is a 4.5 star hotel and is very well located within a short drive of Fortitude Valley and the city’s CBD, Brisbane’s racecourses, the RNA Showgrounds and the Brisbane Cruise Terminal. The VIEW boast an excellent bar and restaurant, Plates Restaurant if you prefer to dine in.
The hotel is great value for money, offering rooms with amazing waterfront views of the Brisbane River, from Breakfast Creek to the incredible twin Gateway Bridges. Sunrises and sunsets on the river are truly spectacular. If you are looking for quality accommodation with great views and proximity to all the action (including the Brekky Creek Hotel) check out the VIEW Hotel at: www.viewhotels.com
Dinah and I love Brisbane. It was here we met and later, where we returned for a number of years to raise our family. Today Brisbane, or ‘BrisVegas’ as it is known, is truly a world city. Modern glass edifices stand shoulder-to-shoulder with 19th century architecture on the banks of the Brisbane River, showcasing one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Check out all the amazing places to visit and things to see and do in the river city by going to: www.visitbrisbane.com.au/the-city
Main picture: View from our room – the Gateway Bridges on the Brisbane River at sunrise
- Breakfast Creek at sunrise
- The legendary Breakfast Creek Hotel
- The choice of were to eat and what to eat is huge at the Brekky Creek
- MAD Mates together after 50 years
- Dinah and I propping up the bar – again
- Great friends – great conversations
- The Substation Bar menu
- The VIEW Hotel on Kingsford Smith Drive
- Dinah and dinner at the VIEW’s Plates Restaurant
- Historic Newstead House
- The view – right over the Brisbane River