LATROBE Terrace at Paddington is a funky little precinct with a cosmopolitan vibe, generally buzzing with cheeky cafes and quirky shops all blended nicely into and among the old cottages that once housed Brisbane’s workers.
Paddington was named after the London suburb with the railway station famous for the lost bear and Agatha Christie’s 4:50 train.
Here in Brisbane, it was known for being at the back of the jail, a cemetery and the goats that wandered across its hills. But that is all so 18th century.
Latrobe Tce was presumably named after Charles, the colonial lieutenant-general who shaped Victoria but had little to do with Queensland. But this is only guesswork.
Go to Paddington on a weekend and it will be buzzing with diners, shoppers and anyone who enjoys watching a passing parade.
For what began as a working class suburb, it has definitely moved upmarket, however as a tribute to its past, stands Trammies Corner, a pocket handkerchief park on a busy corner opposite what was the Plaza picture theatre but now sells antiques, collectibles and bric-a-brac.
It’s a quiet and pleasant spot “a tribute to those who helped make Paddington what it is today” named for the men who looked after the trams that ferried workers from Paddington back into the city and the factories of the West End.
As the sign explains: “The trammies would stop and talk to the local people they knew as they walked along Latrobe Terrace… frequenting the shops, chatting to neighbours and … shaping the suburb.”
Alas, the Brisbane tram network, in an appalling act of short-sightedness was dismantled in 1969, a fate no doubt hastened by a fire in September 1962 that destroyed the 50-year-old Paddington depot and its contents.
Embedded in the garden at Trammies Corner are a series of colourful mosaics by Scott Harrower, illustrating the past signficance of the spot. A little further down the street is a brilliant mosaic couch complete with throw rug by the same artist, that just begs to be sat upon.
This part of town also has brilliant city and western views as well as the surrounding slopes filled with old houses on stilts.
It’s well worth a visit for coffee and cake, browsing or a rest at Trammies Corner.
The sign tells the rest of the story: “In 1915, with the extension of the tramway route from the inner city, the Brisbane Tramway Company constructed the Paddington depot on Latrobe Terrace and a tramway terminus in Berhard St.
“Across the road from where you are standing there were many stores. They were supported by the locals, the trammies and their families and included two large grocery stores, a butcher shop, a shoe repairer and bootmaker, haberdashery, chemist and a picture theatre.
“It was a place where the trammies would go during their breaks, wives would do their grocery shopping and courting couples would go to the picture theatre. The Bartlett’s owned one of the grocery stores and their house was situated on this site.”