By Phil Russell
AS a boy, Phil Russell grew up in New Farm in the 1950s; here are some of his memories of that era.
My father Roy Russell was a Master Carrier having commenced his business in Macquarie Street, New Farm, in 1925.
By 1928 the business had grown to three trucks as depicted by a photograph taken of them outside of the new “Australian Estates” woolstore at the corner of Macquarie and Hastings Streets. For the next 40 years the business operated from three different sites all located in Macquarie Street between Hastings Street and Kingsholme Street.
During this time, the principal freight was drummed petroleum for the Commonwealth Oil Refineries (C.O.R) and less than a full wagonload of wool from Newstead Goods Railyard to all of the brokers’ stores as well as a share of the Brisbane Wool Pool cartage.
Phil took over from his father in 1970 and relocated the business to Eagle Farm where it is still located today. Now, the third generation of Russells is running the business.
As a boy Phil spent many school holidays riding in the passenger side of the (ex-WW2 lend/lease) Ford trucks which carried bales of wool from rail wagons at the NSTD railyard to the woolstores located along Skyring Terrace, Vernon Terrace and Macquarie Street. These stores were owned by Australian Estates, Elder Smith, Goldsborough Mort, AML&F, Dalgetys, Winchcombe Carson, New Zealand Loan, and QPP (Qld Primary Producers).
Prior to 1960 government regulation required all wool to be carried over 50 miles by Queensland Government Rail hence wool was railed from country towns to Brisbane. Wool sales were conducted in Brisbane and most of the clip was exported. It was normal for three bales to be pressed together and strapped by BWWD (Brisbane Wharves & Wool Dumping) to allow more bales to be loaded into the holds of ships moored at wharves opposite the woolstores, e.g. New Farm, Dalgetys, Mercantile and Newstead Wharves.
The cartage of wool in Brisbane was regulated through the Brisbane Wool Pool with carriers having a set percentage of the total number of bales. Those carriers were R. Jackson, Luya Julius, M. Ryan & Son, Flynn Bros, T. A. Soady, Robinson & Bott, and Metropolitan Carriers (which R. B. Russell acquired in 1967).
The rail line into Newstead goods yard crossed Breakfast Creek Road from Montpelier Road and travelled all the way to the New Farm Powerhouse (next to New Farm Park). Steam trains hauled all the coal required to fire the Powerhouse, all full wagon loads of wool to the many woolstore sidings, and as well as a small number of loads to the Cannery in Dath Street and timber logs to Brown & Broads Sawmill.
The sight, smell and sound of the steam locomotives working up and down Macquarie Street are now very much a thing of the past, with this area now a much-sought-after residential precinct.