Friday, February 26, 2010

Apothecaries Hall

Thousands of people pass by this building in Ann St (near Brunswick St), Fortitude Valley each day, and most of us don't give it a second thought, even though it is one of Brisbane's older buildings. "Established AD 1862" proclaims the text at the top of the building, "Apothecaries Hall". Here is a picture of the building from 1990, when it seems that it was looking for a tenant.
(Photo: BCC-C120-8528)
My bus travels past here on the run home from the city, and many times, as the bus pauses in the heavy Ann St traffic, I have wondered about the history of the building, currently a shoe shop.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

I had a vague idea of what an apothecary was - an early version of a chemist or pharmacist. A dictionary tells me that in England they were able to prescribe medicine, and that may well have been the case in Brisbane in the very early days of the colony. Referring to the Brisbane History Group's publication, Sites of Separation, I found that the building was constructed for Mr Moses Ward who arrived in Brisbane from Devonshire in 1862. Ward was a multi-faceted fellow: he was an importer of drugs and surgical implements, a chemist, a dentist and also somewhat of an entrepreneur. An advertisement in The Courier, Brisbane's newspaper, provides illustration of his talents. The column on the LHS of the page provides an English translation of the OCR results :-) Click for a larger view.
(Excerpt from the Brisbane Courier, 15 September 1863)

"Elastic Stockings, Knee Caps, Enema and other syringes, Trusses, and Surgical Appliances always on hand. Dental Operations performed with Instruments of the most Modern invention." And, if all of those medical marvels fail to entice you onto the premises: "Licensed to sell postage stamps."

Ward's practice thrived, but as we shall see in a later post, a fall was yet to come.
After selling Apothecaries Hall in 1875, he moved to a Gailey-designed Queen St premises. In 1882, he bought Bowen House, which had been the first Government House, and renamed it Adelaide House. That residence is now The Deanery at St John's Cathedral.

The next time you are travelling up Ann St, look out for Apothecaries Hall on the RHS just before the Brunswick St mall.

Click here for a Google Map


Next: The RE

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...