Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

What's the Time?

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

What's the Time?

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Fahey newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au

ONCE upon a time in Prince Street parking problems related to horses with sulkies and perhaps a few bicycles. Ownership of a reliable timepiece was the prerogative of the well-to-do. No wonder then the excitement and celebration which prevailed in the city with the unveiling of The Clocktower in 1909. Everyone could now know the time.

Since then The Clocktower dominating Prince Street has seen many happenings and many changes. More than time has passed. All who attended the unveiling celebration have long passed to another world. Shade and water for horses are forgotten concepts. Bike shelters are gone as are the plots where Prince Street shop owners and their workers once sorted out the world's problems before opening time. There too the Salvation Army Band played on Sunday evenings. We children loved their cheerful hymns, no doom and gloom there. Thank God for the Salvos, still with us even though their band no longer plays on the plots.

Not least among the Prince Street changes have been changes in the treescape. In the early days of Grafton there were rows of shady trees, along each side. About the 1920s the rows of trees were removed, central plots were established and Canary Island Palms planted. Circa 1967 these met the axe, or the chainsaw, because their increasing height was a danger to the overhead power lines. Other palms were planted which did little for grace and beauty. Out they went in the 1990s and with them the plots as we knew them. Power lines went underground. Central planting continued with only some successes. Outside the Civic Centre the plots remain with the Canary Island Palms (Phoenix canariensis) soaring into the stratosphere.

Meanwhile flourishing in Prince Street at the corners and pedestrian crossings are a plethora of local native Bangalow Palms, called in Queensland Piccabeens. …

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