Monday, February 23, 2009

MR Hornibrook

The year 1893 was a significant in Brisbane for at least a couple of reasons. In February of that year, Brisbane experienced its worst ever flood; and later on, in August, a child was born in the suburb of Enoggera. That child was Emanuel Richard Hornibrook, and he would become one of the most notable figures of Brisbane's 20th century. After being apprenticed to a building firm, Emanuel started his own construction company in 1912. By then known as Manuel, Hornibrook successfully tendered for large construction jobs all over Queensland, and by the late 1920s, the company MR Hornibrook Ltd was also operating in other states of Australia as well as New Guinea. The photograph below, taken around 1945, shows the company's headquarters at Newstead (click for a larger image).

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #91372)

Some of the projects that the company participated in over the years are: many of the buildings at the University of Queensland; the Story Bridge; the William Jolly Bridge; the Hornibrook Highway (actually a bridge) that connects Redcliffe to Brisbane; and the Sydney Opera House. MR Hornibrook was knighted in 1960. The company later became Baulderstone Hornibrook and is now known as Baulderstone. The brick building that once was the company's headquarters can still be seen at Breakfast Creek Road, just before you reach the bridge over Breakfast Creek travelling outbound. (Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The building is now called Campbell House (soup? soap? I don't know!), and although there are now many trees and shrubs to separate the building from the busy street, it seems otherwise unchanged. If memory serves me correctly, I believe that at one time this building was also the home of the Queensland Principal Club, which apparently has something to do with horse racing, and not (as I perhaps imagined) a club that trumped the Queensland Club, Tattersalls and the Brisbane Club for prestige.

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