The construction of the new Gresham Street Bridge was completed in mid-2022 and was jointly funded by Council and the Australian Government through the ‘Bridges Renewal Program’. The new elevated 42.5 tonne load limit concrete bridge replaced the two-lane timber bridge that was restricted to 22.5 tonnes and only provided limited access to St John’s Wood.
Brisbane City Council recognises the value of naming bridges, your feedback is a vital part of this process. I am pleased to provide three proposals for this community consultation. Below are the three naming options, I welcome your input and look forward to making community representation to Council on this proposal.
Proposal 1 – Serico-Speechley Bridge
Mr Nurdon Serico b.1933 and Mr Richard Speechley b.1932 were residents of Bardon & The Gap and became friends after meeting at Bardon Athletic Club in their early teens where Mr Serico Snr oversaw the athletic examinations. Their friendship spanned decades and Mr Serico and Mr Speechley are recognised posthumously for their contribution to the communities of Ashgrove, Bardon, and The Gap.
Mr Nurdon Serico, was descended on his mother’s side from the Gubbi Gubbi people and his mother was raised in Cherbourg. Mr Serico Snr was an exceptional boxer, man of the land and was sought after for his work with livestock especially horses. They relocated the family to Bardon to give their children an opportunity for an education, Nurdon was enrolled at Ashgrove State School and from the age of 10 he represented the school in cricket, he excelled in track and field and was the first student at Ashgrove SS to win school state titles and a further three Qld state running titles. Nurdon completed a cadetship in radiography and excelled in this field, ultimately receiving a Churchill Fellowship in 1976, which allowed him to assess the clinical benefit of the newly invented MRI machine through a world study tour. Nurdon became the first person in Australia to receive the title of Senior Radiographer. He was Chief Radiographer for Queensland and served on the Radiological Advisory Council of Australia and as regional advisor to the World Health Organisation on Radiography.
His childhood playground was centred around the local creeks, fishing for eels, mullet and catfish. After his marriage to Pat, they moved to a property on Enoggera Creek at The Gap, becoming near neighbours to his friend, Richard.
Nurdon was an ardent cricketer and member of the former Gap Pastime Club and was actively involved in the local historical societies. He was the Patron at the Balaangala Community Garden, Yoorala Street Parklands. Primary school children attend the Garden and benefit from his knowledge.
For more information on Mr Serico click here:
Mr Richard Speechley was born in The Gap in 1932 Richard’s playground was the natural surroundings of Enoggera Creek that he explored and where he first developed his passion for nature, First Nation history, and local settlement history. He joined St Johns Wood Scouts in Ashgrove as a teenager and in 1951 formed The Gap Cubs and then became Scout Master of The Gap Scout Group. During 1960’s he became Group Scout Master at Dorrington & Inala, he went onto form the Sea Scouts at Jindalee and in 1968 formed The Gap Primary School Swimming Club, serving as a committee member until 1976 when he was awarded Life Membership.
Through the 80’s and 90’s Richard served as Manager at The Taylor Range Country Club, Ashgrove where he was passionate about transforming the grounds and operations to ensure the Club’s longevity. This is evident today and Taylor Range Council Club boasts a vital community hub for the surrounding suburbs.
During 1970, Richard was administrator for the Queensland Junior Strings, the Queensland Youth Orchestra the Third Youth Orchestra. Richard was diagnosed with genetic kidney disease in 1986. In 1997 and whilst on dialysis he wrote and published two books on the local history of The Gap, this work led to the establishment of The Gap Historical Society.
Richard was also a committee member of The Gap Garden Club and held the position of Vice President with the Queensland Council of Garden Clubs. In 2018 he was honoured by receiving the Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Achievement Award. He was as held in high esteem within the communities of Ashgrove and The Gap his involvement in local and state-wide organisations proved an inspiration to all who knew him. Richard was schooled at The Gap Primary School, lived his whole life in The Gap and raised 3 children with his wife Patricia.
For more information on Mr Speechley click here:
Proposal 2 – William ‘Pop’ Johnstone Bridge
This proposal to name the Gresham Street Bridge ‘William ‘Pop’ Johnstone Bridge’ was nominated by Mr Rod Thiesfield a direct descendent of the Johnstone family in recognition of Mr Johnstone’s contribution to the local community.
Mr William Johnstone ‘Pop Johnstone’ resided in St Johns Wood from 1938 when family members purchased land at 36,38,71 and 75 Piddington Street and 78 Buckingham Street in St Johns Wood.
At the outbreak of World War II Mr Johnstone established a first aid post for the area located in the hall behind their St. Johns Wood house. With the support of the local community this first aid post remained a community resource until the end of WW11 in 1945.
The first aid post was then moved to the front of 71 Piddington Street and was operated with the help of the Red Cross until Mr Johnstone’s wife Mrs Ethel Johnstone passed away in 1954. The post was written up in the media of the day as “Australia’s smallest hospital”. The nickname ‘Pop’ was coined by Mr Johnstone’s patients.
Mr Johnstone was a passionate community member and when the “Woods” requested a Girl Guide Company, “Pop” obtained land for them on the corner of Buckingham Street and Grand Parade and a Guide Hut was established.
With the establishment of the Girl Guide Hut he turned his thoughts to the Scouts, purchased a ‘Pop’ an ex-army Igloo hangar, secured land in Royal Parade and established the St. Johns Wood Cub Scouts Troup.
Mr Johnstone’s involvement in the establishment of community groups in St. Johns Wood is evident now with the Scout Group celebrating over 75 years of service in the community.
Information supplied and validated by the Thiesfield Family, descendants of Mr William R Johnstone.
Proposal 3 – Gresham Street Bridge
The third proposal for the naming of the new Gresham Street Bridge is to keep the name ‘Gresham Street Bridge’
Community Consultation – Naming of Gresham Street Bridge
Please provide your feedback in the form below.