How long have you been with ABC radio?
I’ve been with the ABC since 1993, starting
in Rockhampton and moving to Brisbane two
years later. I’ve presented 612 Breakfast 1997-
2000 and 2006-now, so 2015 is my 14th year
getting up well before the sparrows!
Where are you from?
I was born in Preston, in the north west of
England, but moved here when I was 8. Long-
story-short, my parents split up and Mum and
I came to Brisbane for a four-month holiday
during which my Mum met and fell in love
with a local artist. Shortly after we returned to
England, he turned up on our doorstep and
asked Mum to marry him. It was so romantic!
I’ve lived here since 1981.
Where do you live and what do you like
most about your neighbourhood?
Indooroopilly is reasonably close to the city
– a 12-minute drive for me at 3.45am! It also
has a legendary suburban shopping centre,
wonderful strip of op shops and restaurants and
great schools. We’re next door to the University
of Queensland and right on the M5 Western
Freeway for shooting down the coast, to Ipswich
or Toowoomba. Once the Legacy Way tunnel
opens, Indooroopilly will be one of the easiest
suburbs from which to drive to Brisbane Airport
and points north.
Where do you always take visitors when
they come to Brisbane?
Mt Coot-tha tops the list for me. Whenever
I’m in a strange city, I love to get up high to see
the lay of the land. Visitor or local, everyone
in Brisbane should have a coffee or a meal at
the top of Mt Coot-tha. On the way, drop into
the Botanic Gardens and take in a show at the
Planetarium. But I also love to show family and
friends the Great Wall of Manly with its hidden
What’s your hot tip for visitors (that only a
local would know)?
I always worry that someone will come after
me when I reveal this but the cheapest place to
park in the city is the Queensland Performing
Arts Centre. It’s $15 all day including weekdays.
Shopping in town? Park at QPAC and walk
over the Victoria Bridge. My wife Nikki and I
recently treated ourselves to a couple of nights
in town. The hotel parking was $45 per night.
Guess where we parked? All we had to do was
pay $15 each day to keep parking there.
Favourite meal out?
I might have lived here for 34 years, but “you
can’t take England out of the boy”. There’s a
British fish’n’chip shop in the Redlands that
enjoys quite a bit of my custom. If ever I’m
asked to speak at a service club in the area, I
will always say yes, just so I can pick up cod,
chips, salt, vinegar and curry sauce on the way
home! Everything’s done the traditional English
way. They even bring the fish all the way from
the North Sea – not good for the food miles, I
know, but delicious!
What is your favourite leisure activity?
Nikki, 14-year-old Jack and I all enjoy
photography. On a Sunday afternoon we’ll
drive to a suburb we haven’t visited before and
just walk the streets, cameras in hand. The
Brisbane Greeters program allows you to do the
same, but with your own volunteer tour guide.
We’ve been inside Indooroopilly’s Walter-Taylor
Bridge with a Brisbane Greeter. Just fascinating!
Originally a toll bridge, the toll-master lived in
an apartment inside one of the bridge’s pylons!
How do you like to travel around Brisbane?
I grew up using trains – as a Brisbane Grammar
(private boys school) student, the Manly to
Central train trip was my twice-daily chance to
hang out with students of the opposite sex! Very
exciting that was! These days I tend to use buses
more than anything else, mainly because our
house is close to Moggill Road and the myriad
regular services that head into and out of town.
Just today, Nikki and I bussed into the city for a
catch-up lunch. It’s usually cheaper than driving
and parking. I’m happy to train it to Brisbane
Airport and whenever I fly to Sydney for work
I always catch the train from Sydney Airport to
the CBD. I find public transport very relaxing.
The ABC studio is on the river at South
Bank. Give us a snapshot of the best of
South Bank as you see it?
A visit to South Bank must include the beach
with its city views, the Maritime Museum (yes,
that may well be my voice on the audio guided
| BNE March/April 2015
A holiday romance
Howson’s fate to
become a permanent
resident of Brisbane