If a thoroughfare be variously termed an avenue, a corso, crescent, drive, parade, place, road, street, terrace or a lane, the actual definition denotes little except a drift from monotony. Thoroughfares, whether bearing any of the abovementioned different names in any language, provides an orderly plan by civilization for people to either journey, live, work or do business behind the frontages of the world's myriad building alignments. A lane is usually the narrowest stretch of land forming the above.
The town of Brisbane had no regularly planned system for the provision of lanes as did the towns of Rockhampton and Melbourne. Those lanes that are in use nowadays in Brisbane are, in the majority of instances, either on private property, form pieces of abandoned land originally owned by people long deceased or granted under the old New South Wales system prior to the year 1861.
In their present form they can continue to exist, but if any change were desired, such change would entail legal interpretation and an order from the Supreme Court. Some lanes are private property from one end, but public land for the remaining part of the length.
Many of the city's blocks have the necessary means of ingress and egress to groups of buildings for goods. Those which are of some length have been termed lanes but in reality are merely dray ways (the term used in the days when goods were conveyed by spring drays or horse drawn vans).
Burnett Lane runs from George Street to Albert Street and was named after J. C. Burnett who made several of the earliest surveys of Brisbane. This block of land with its frontage to Queen Street (western side) was the original site for the official buildings in connection with the convicts, the residence of the Superintendent of Convicts at the corner of Queen and George Streets, Prisoners' Cells and the Prisoners' Barracks which extended to the corner of Queen and Albert Streets.
Four cottages were built on the site (of what is now the rear portion of the Albert Street Branch of the Commonwealth Saving's Bank, now Commonwealth Banking Corporation) and served as residences for the Chief Warder, Senior Constable and Warders. It was for the purpose of giving access to the cottages that Burnett Lane was formed.
J. C. Burnett owned 10 acres of land on the eastern side of Mowbray Park. This area was bounded by Lytton Road, the Brisbane River and Eskgrove Street. Burnett's house was situated on what is now Laidlaw Parade. It was from this spot that Burnett left by a small ship to survey in 1847 the district surrounding Bundaberg and the Burnett. He died in 1854 and was buried in the old Paddington Cemetery.
Isles Lane (originally Foundry Lane) between Queen and Adelaide Streets. This lane was called Foundry Lane until 1916. The name was originally given to this lane because it led to the foundry of A. Cameron where the first iron casting in Brisbane was made on 3rd July 1862 and whose name was seen on some of the early cast iron pillar letter boxes of the town.
Later the firm of Smith, Forrester, Faulkner and Black continued the foundry and it was here that much of the iron palisading used to ornament and enclose the verandahs of early day Brisbane homes was made.
After the end of the 1914-1918 war a syndicate proposed to widen the lane and create an imposing thoroughfare similar to Martin Place Sydney. The scheme in conjunction with the then projected Anzac Square would have been a fine improvement to the city but, due to the very cost of resumptions the scheme did not materialize.
Arcade Lane runs from Edward Street to the rear of the General Post Office. The name was given as the entrance to the lane was opposite Morwitch's Minories and Grand Arcade. Morwitch's Minories had a frontage to Queen Street of 130 feet and 146 to Edward Street.
The building which extended from next to the Oxford (later Grand Central) Hotel to the Edward Street portion of Tattersall's Club consisted of 26 shops, 35 offices as well as a Grand Cellar. The property was put up for auction in December 1890. Much of the original building was demolished and larger premises erected. An arcade on a much smaller scale then ran from Queen Street to Edward Street.
In 1960, the last remaining portion of Henry Morwitch's Minories building occupied by Pherous Brothers was sold to the Victorian Government Tourist Bureau. There then appeared on the upper part of the premises the original iron palisading. The name Minories comes from a street in Aldgate, London.
Edison Lane (originally Post Office Lane) ran from Creek Street to the rear of the General Post Office. Barton and White, the firm of electrical engineers which first generated electrical power in Brisbane had their premises in the lane. It became Edison Lane in the late 1890's.
General Post Office Lane ran from Queen Street to Elizabeth Street entirely on Post Office property and was included in the original block of 1 acre 1 rood and 10 perches reserved for the Post Office in 1865. It was originally the southern side of the General Post Office built in 1872 and gave access to the posting boxes and when the Electric Telegraph Office was completed in 1879, the archway connecting the two buildings formed the present lane. The lane on the southern side of the Electric Telegraph Office next to the old entrance to the Commonwealth Bank was formed after that building was completed.
Parbury Lane ran from Eagle Street towards the river and continues in a right hand turn to join Creek Street. It provided entrance to the wharves at which were berthed the ships under the agency of Parbury Lamb and Company. The wharf of Parbury Lamb was on the south side of the river. Edward Parbury one of the partners of this early established shipping firm died, at Launceston, Tasmania in July 1881. The sign on the side of the building at the Eagle Street entrance read Parbury Street but the sign on the stand on the footpath a few feet opposite showed the words Parbury Lane.
Eagle Lane (originally Queen’s Lane) ran from Creek Street to a “T" end which entered Queen Street and Eagle Street near the intersection of these streets. It gave access to the rear of the buildings situated in the triangular block bounded by Queen, Creek and Eagle Streets. The creek which ran from the Reservoir a pool of water extending in a diagonal direction across the middle of the block of land from Herschel Street towards where the then Brisbane Fruit Exchange situated in Turbot Street.
It continued through adjacent blocks “reserved for the preservation of water" as far as the present site of the City Hall and then on through the centre of the city blocks between Albert and Creek Streets, where it turned sharply towards Queen Street and passed through the site on which where Piccadilly Arcade stood. The creek then veered towards the site of the Commercial Bank of Sydney building and made a double turn across Eagle Lane and finally turned further to the right before entering the Brisbane River.
Clark Lane (originally part of Eagle Street). This lane was originally called Eagle Street which began at Creek Street on the southern side of the creek and ran along the Petrie's Bight part of Queen Street up to Anne Street (as originally spelled) through the lane now known as Clark Lane. This lane was named after John Allworth Clark, a merchant tailor and wool importer who had one of his business premises on the corner where Clark Lane, Adelaide and Queen Streets converged.
He was Mayor of Brisbane in 1891. Clark Lane was a means of entrance to St. John's Anglican Cathedral Deanery. The Deanery was originally the residence of Dr. Hobbs, the surgeon of the Chasely who arrived in Brisbane on 1st May 1849. This residence was considered the finest in Brisbane and on the foundation of the Colony of Queensland in 1859, Dr. Hobbs' house became the first Government Residence. It later became the Deanery. The stone steps leading from Clark Lane were in the 1950s closed by the erection of a tall wooden gate at the entrance.
Fish Lane (originally Soda Water Lane). This lane originally ran from Stanley Street to Grey Street. It was part of the rear portion of the reserve of 2½ acres granted to the Church of England in January 1851, but it was not dedicated as a public lane however until the time when Melbourne Street (which is on the frontage of the land) was widened in 1924.
Fish Lane was then extended in a westerly direction through three adjoining blocks to Manning Street. Soda Water Lane received that name as the Eudone Aerated Water Company had its factory at that address from the early 1870's.
George Fish was Secretary of the Brisbane Steam Laundry at the corner of Stanley Street and Soda Water Lane from the early 1880's. He was an Alderman in the South Brisbane City Council from 1901 to 1903. The business originally managed by him was removed to large premises in Ann Street, Fortitude Valley in 1903 and continued as the Fish Steam Laundry Pty. Ltd. Soda Water Lane became Fish Lane in 1904.
Keid Lane which runs off Boundary Street, Spring Hill was named after Chas. Keid who arrived with his wife Jane in the sailing ship Fortitude in January 1849 under the immigration scheme sponsored by Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang; Chas. Keid was a gardener by occupation and in June 1857 he purchased the land described as portion 201 consisting of 1½ acres for £78.10.0. The Alliance Hotel at the corner of Boundary Street and Leichhardt Street (now St. Paul's Terrace) is on the corner of the land once owned by Chas. Keid.
Boundary Lane formed the northern top of Boomerang Street near the Tramways Department's building which had a frontage to Coronation Drive. This lane was an historical link with part of the description given by the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales, Sir Charles Cowper on 6th September 1859 when Brisbane was made a city in the year the Colony of Queensland was proclaimed.
An abridged description of the western boundary would be that it continued from Cemetery Street (now Hale Street) to the north corner of D. R. Somerset's 2 acre 23 perches by the south west side of the road forming the north east boundary of that land to a small creek to the Brisbane River and by a line across the river and along Boundary Street. The creek area had long been filled in and was the site of the Tramways Department offices and workshops. The tiny Boundary Lane was in the early days Brisbane western boundary.
Makerston Street, which runs from Roma Street to North Quay is incorrectly shown in its present spelling. The street name should appear as Makerstoun (or as it sometimes appears as Mackerstoun) which was Sir Thomas Brisbane's home and observatory near Kelso in the north east of Scotland.
Herschel Street runs from North Quay to Roma Street. It originally ran through to Upper Albert Street but the portion from Roma Street to Albert Street was resumed when the railway line was constructed.
Herschel Street was named after Sir John F. W. Herschel a noted astronomer 1792 - 1871 born at Slough England. He was considered a prodigy in science, made important discoveries in photography, received the Astronomical Society's Gold Medal.
He was a close friend of Sir Thomas Brisbane who likewise was a keen astronomer and Herschel Street was named as a token of their friendship. Sir John Herschel was buried in Westminster Abbey near the grave of Sir Isaac Newton.