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Brisbane’s electric past exposed in casino digging

Brisbane’s direct link to the inventor of the electrical light bulb, Thomas Edison, will be exposed ..

Brisbane’s direct link to the inventor of the electrical light bulb, Thomas Edison, will be exposed on Tuesday morning.

Some of the first electrical cables installed in the city will be removed from the Queen's Wharf construction site on Tuesday as work to build Brisbane’s new casino and resort complex pushes ahead.

The first building in Queensland to use electricity was the old Government Printing Office in George Street. Photo: Tony Moore

The 134-year-old cables, known as the Edison "street tubes", were designed by Edison and built by his US-based Thomas Edison Company.

These early electricity cables are an iron and copper pipe with wire, paraffin and beeswax inside.

An Edison street tube found at Queens Wharf.
An Edison street tube found at Queens Wharf. Photo: Tony Moore

Edison held more than 1000 patents and is today recognised as the inventor of the electric light bulb, the phonograph and the motion picture camera.

Brisbane, New York and London were the early pioneers of using electricity in public spaces.

In 1883, the first practical use for electricity was to power the Queensland government’s Printing Office, where the daily Hansard was printed. That is regarded as one of Australia’s earliest industrial uses of electricity.

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The Government Printing Office in George Street was the first building in Queensland to have electricity.

Queens Wharf project manager Simon Crooks inside the old Government Printing Office, which houses Star's project offices.
Queens Wharf project manager Simon Crooks inside the old Government Printing Office, which houses Star's project offices. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

That came just after eight “arc” lights were powered in early Queen Street in 1882 as a demonstration.

However, after electricity powered lighting at the early Roma Street rail yards, electricity cables in 1884 were laid to connect the Government Printing Office, adjacent to the now demolished Executive Building, down to Parliament House near the Botanic Gardens at the end of George Street.

Queensland Museum records show the original electricity cables from 1884 were discovered by SEQEB (the precursor to Energex) workers more than 100 years later in 1992.

Today, the remaining century-old electricity cables in William Street will be carefully excavated by the Queen's Wharf construction crews.

They will probably be given to the Queensland Museum, or Energex, but could eventually go on display on-site.

As the Queensland Museum records show: “This is part of the return line to the power station and has a single conductor, comprised of approximately 37 copper strands.”

“The conduit has a severely rusted cast iron casing, with the pitch, made of asphaltum, oxidised linseed oil, paraffin and beeswax, slowly seeping from either end of conduit.”

By 1892, a more complex “three-core” electrical conduit was used to expand Brisbane’s electrical network along Alice Street, where some of the city’s finest houses and the still-remaining Queensland Club were built from 1882.

Archaeologists, the Royal Historical Society Queensland and Destination Brisbane project director Simon Crooks will be on-site Tuesday morning as the careful excavation begins.

A Destination Brisbane spokesman said the fact the Government Printing Office was the first building in Queensland to use electricity would not be lost as the development took shape.

“There was an old steam public generator built out the back of the Government Printing Office near where the Public Services Club is and they ran cables from that to Parliament House,” the spokesman said.

He said because excavation was about to start along William Street, the century-plus-old cables need to be carefully removed.

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Enviroment

So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn

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Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

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Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.

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"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

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Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.

The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.

"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.

"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.

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Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.

"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)

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