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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

cement animals!

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

sealed Spencer

Howson’s fate to

become a permanent

resident of Brisbane

612ABC breakfast