- News of the day
The Brisbane Courier, Thursday 29 Oct 1885
Land Slip in Queen-street
At about half-past 12 oçlock yesterday a somewhat sensational accident happened at the site of the new offices for the Brisbane Newspaper Company, at the corner of Queen and Edward streets. [...] Since the recent rains the foreman of the work had been noticing that the strip of land on which the bridge work of the derrick rested was giving indications of insecurity. Passing through it was the bed of an old drain or sewer, and the rain soakage had commenced to make the earth at that weak spot "work". As is known the whole site is surrounded by hoardings and temporary wooden footpaths.
[...] At about noon yesterday the foreman saw the earth commence to crumble down. He therefore gave orders that no horses or drays should be allowed to stand on the staging. [...] Half-an-hour afterwards the bank of earth on which the staging or bridge work rested gave way and completely collapsed.
Before 1842 and free settlement, Queen Street was originally a track leading from the main section of the early Moreton Bay Penal Colony, crossing a stream known as Wheat Creek with a deviation going up to the Windmill. In early 1840, a surveyor named Dixon drew up a survey for the central Brisbane streets with all streets 66 feet (20 metres) wide. Changes were then made to this plan with square blocks flattened into a rectangular grid with streets becoming 1.4 chains (27 metres). On Governor Gipps' visit to Brisbane Town in March 1842, Gipps remarked that Brisbane Town was "simply an ordinary provincial settlement", which would need no grand avenues. As a result, Gipps moved the planned width of Queen Street, along with other streets, back to 66 feet (20 metres), arguing that this change would mean that buildings could be kept out of the sun.