December 09, 2011 | Graham

Christmas mute in Brisbane’s “multicultural” Valley

Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is routinely adjectivally referenced as “Brisbane’s multicultural Valley”. It’s the down town area that hit the doldrums after the motor car and the regional shopping centre killed the main street department store and for a while robbed it of its meaning for life.

It’s home to China Town, most of Brisbane’s night clubs, sleazy strip joints, prostitutes and some very upmarket residential high rise. But it’s apparently not home to Christmas.

The Valley might be multi-cultural, but it’s not that multi-cultural that it can deal with a Christian European festival that most people acknowledge ┬áby taking a week or two holiday.

Holidays but no Christmas in Brisbane's multi-cultural Fortitude Valley

Holidays but no Christmas in Brisbane's multi-cultural Fortitude Valley

It’s quite ironic really. As a child in the 60s I remember being taken to see the Christmas display in McWhirters department store, right in the centre of the Valley, which had a giant Santa playing an organ over the main entry, while their display windows had tableau direct from the Bible.

Now it’s only the holiday that is acknowledged.

This shot was taken in the food court of the Valley Plaza just outside the entry to Fortitude Valley train station.

Does anyone else have memories of Christmases past, or tales of Christmas not-so-present? Or maybe a shot of a Valley department store when Christmas was in its Brisbane hay days?

Posted by Graham at 6:44 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. I have mixed feelings; I don’t see anything wrong with saying happy holidays, but I can see for sure that there is nothing wrong with Merry Christmas either. Its vexed and all one can do is say to Metro management why are you doing this. I get annoyed at the assumption that everyone who is from overseas forces us to politically correctness; has anyone asked those from overseas if they are really offended by the word Christmas. Not many I bet. I also don’t agree with the Valley being in the doledrums. The shopkeepers have the final say but frankly with the exception of Waltons and the porn shops, which are both being worked on to be improved, its better now than 20 years ago.

    Comment by M — December 11, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  2. I too saw this Graham & thought the same thing. However, I was reminded that Holiday is actually a contraction of Holy Day. Plus if you do a 180 degree turn and march through the ticket gates, you’ll notice Qld Rail has a Happy Christmas sign up.

    But if you ask any of the Chinese (many of whom are Christian anyway) or moderate Muslims, Buddhists, etc, they say they are not offended in the least by the word Christmas or its Christian themes. As usual, it’s Anglo-Celtic people who do the censoring – either out of a misguided sense that they might offend some minority, or more insidiously and commonly, out of a left-wing ideology that anything traditional and from a ‘white’ culture must go.

    Comment by TR — December 19, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  3. Thanks Graham for confirming that my memories are not just dreams. I still remember vividly the Santa playing the organ and the rooftop grotto at McWhirters in the Valley. He used to scare me a little probably as I was quite young. The Valley was great back then, bustling, busy and fantastically noisy. I loved the place. I eventually sold papers in the Valley at age 12 which was a thrill everyday. So many different communities all living together. A joy to be part of it all!

    Comment by Karl — August 13, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.