This copper artwork shows the historical development of transport along Brunswick Street, from New Farm in the 1890s to Fortitude Valley in the 1970s. But the move from horses to wagons to trams and cars is hard to see now, as it’s slowly disappearing under years of grit and grime.
Countless commuters see it every day at the Fortitude Valley train station, yet finding out the name of the artist behind the artwork has proved elusive for Brisbane’s libraries, art galleries, Facebook groups, and even the original commissioner or current owner of the piece.
A plaque on the platform opposite the art notes that the owner is Queensland Rail, though it was in fact commissioned in 1972 for the Brunswick Street branch of the NAB. Therein perhaps lies the mystery: the piece was removed in the 1990s when the bank was refurbished.
It seems that Queensland Rail purchased and restored the piece in 2004, and a 2005 picture shows the artwork in place somewhere else. Even so, it seemed the artist’s name was already lost to time.
Possible leads include a similarly-styled “repoussé” piece donated to the Queensland Maritime Museum and a newspaper article mentioning a copper mural commissioned for a Brisbane bank, though that was for one far lengthier than this.