Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mt Carmel Convent, Wynnum

Mother Mary Vincent Whitty of the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Brisbane with Bishop James Quinn on 10th May 1861, marking the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between the sisters and Queensland's Catholics. Mother Mary Vincent died in 1892, and so she didn't survive to see the construction of the building below, the Mount Carmel Convent at Wynnum.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

This nunnery for the Sisters of Mercy was designed by Brisbane architects Hall and Dods and built in 1915 for a cost of £8,000 by a Mr R Juster. Robin Dods from Hall and Dods was in a very ecclesiastical phase, because he was also working on St Brigid's Catholic Church at Red Hill and the Anglican St John's Cathedral around this time. The convent is situated directly across the road from Guardian Angels Church, the local Catholic parish church, built in 1905 to a design by Richard Gailey. Here we have two of Brisbane's iconic architects in a face-off on Bay Terrace at Wynnum! I'll show you Gailey's church tomorrow.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

For a while there was a secondary school operating here too, but it was closed when the number of students started to decline. The original building is still in use as a convent, although fewer nuns live here these days. It also doubles as a holiday home for religious personnel - its proximity to the fresh sea air of Moreton Bay should make it perfect for that.

Click here for a Google Map.

EDIT: This building has been listed for sale. You can see the details, plus some great exterior and interior images, here.


Next: Across the road

Monday, June 28, 2010

Christ Church Tingalpa

I have commented before on the fact that churches seem to have survived pretty well here in Brisbane. Most of the ones that we have seen earlier in these pages have been substantial works of brick or stone, but here is a tiny wooden church that has survived, despite several attempts to kill it off - from both nature and man. The first Anglican Christ Church at Tingalpa was established in 1868 to a design by RG Suter, but that building was destroyed by a cyclone in December of 1885. Jackie Butler, in the publication "Sites of Separation" published by the Brisbane History Group, records that the Brisbane Diocese of the Church of England had decided not to rebuild the church, but the church community resurrected most of the timber after the cyclone and the church was rebuilt on a smaller scale in 1886. Here is a picture of it from 1906.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #22329)

However, one hundred years later, declining attendances led the Church of England to declare the little church redundant and so started to demolish it in 1996. Once again, the local community had other views and sought to have the church heritage listed. They formed a group to restore the building, and this is the way it looks now. One of its features is the old burial grounds - the first recorded interment there is that of Susannah Weedon of Cannon Hill in 1868.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The immaculate church and cemetery are situated on busy Wynnum Rd, surrounded by all sorts of industry. The building, now called the Pioneer Wedding Chapel can be reserved for weddings and other ceremonies, and its very existence is a testament to people power spanning more than a century. Congratulations to you.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Get thee to a nunnery

Friday, June 25, 2010

Franklin Villa

Highgate Hill is an inner-city suburb with views to the city. Many fine homes were built there in the colony's early days, and this is one of them. Franklin Villa was built on Brighton Rd around the year 1890, and the following image dates from around 1928.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #167454)

A two-storey residence with distinctive wrought-iron lattice work and unusual panelling, the old home survives in its original location - click to see a larger image.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Huge palm trees at the front of the house made photographing it difficult, so you might want to go and look for yourself :-) The house was constructed as rental accommodation by a woman called Ellen Grenier, who named the house Franklin Villa in memory of her deceased husband Franklin. Franklin Grenier was the brother of well-known publican and local alderman Thomas Grenier who originally owned a large parcel of land including this block. Thomas Grenier sub-divided the land, but died before building on any of it, and the land was bequeathed to his son Franklin. Franklin transferred the property to his wife's name, but he also passed away before the house was built. Although ownership of the house has changed several times over the years, it is still used as rental accommodation. You can click here to go to the Franklin Villa web site to see some more photographs and to get a feel for how the house operates. There is also a substantial page about the history of the house.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: The little church that could

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wickham Hotel, Fortitude Valley

Here is a fairly old photograph. The John Oxley Library says that it dates from 1890 or thereabouts, and that the couple shown are a Mr & Mrs Denis O'Connor of the Oriental Hotel in Wickham St, Fortitude Valley. This information would suggest that the hotel was subsequently renamed the Wickham Hotel because that's its current name, but I'm not sure when this would have occurred. I did find a newspaper clipping dated 5 July 1906 that noted a transfer of the licence of the Oriental Hotel in Wickham St, so it didn't occur before then. Also, there was an Oriental Hotel on the corner of Albert and Mary Sts in the city around the time of the floods in 1890 and 1893 - perhaps that hotel subsequently ceased operation or changed its name, thereby allowing its use by the new hotel in Wickham St upon its construction in 1885.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #80449)

According to the State government's heritage listing, the Oriental Hotel on Wickham St was built in 1885 for Timothy O'Shea, and acquired by O'Connor sometime in the 1890s. He owned it right up to his death in 1937, but the hotel was usually run by a licencee. The O'Connor family were prominent hoteliers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As well as the Wickham, Denis O'Connor and his brother JD O'Connor (we'll meet him again in another post), owned or had interests in the Globe, Dunmore Arms (became the Treasury Hotel), the Prince Consort, the O'Connor Family Hotel at Stones Corner and the Stanley Hotel. The Wickham Hotel passed into the hands of major Australian brewer Carlton United in 1972, and so it has continued to be managed by licensees. A Google search will show you that "The Wickham" is "one of Australia's leading gay and lesbian venues", and here is a link to its web site. Below is a recent photograph of the hotel.(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
The only other thing I can tell you is that the hotel is another example of the work of one of Brisbane's best-known architects, Richard Gailey. I'll avoid any of the obvious puns ;-)

Click here for a Google Map


Next: Franklin, m'dear...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shell House

Brisbane architects Hall & Phillips designed City Hall, and they also were also the architects for Shell House further up Ann St. City Hall opened in 1930 and Shell House was completed in 1932, so the pair were obviously pretty busy around that time. The following photograph shows the building, sandwiched between the Masonic Temple on the left and St Andrew's Uniting Church on the right, during construction.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library)

Here is a photograph of a completed Shell House that was taken in 1933.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #68769)

Shell Australia Limited have vacated the premises, and it is now a four-star, 60 apartment hotel. The hotel's web site proclaims "terrazzo floors, sweeping marble and wrought iron stairway, ... sleek geometric lines, stained glass, ornate plaster and balconies carved in stone", so it all sounds very luxurious. Here is a recent picture of it.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The building, now called Rothbury on Ann, is right across the road from Central Station and two streets away from the GPO, making it a very convenient location.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: More Gailey designed than the rest

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chateau Nous

If it's something different you want in your buildings, you are in the right place today. Built in 1938 for a Brisbane dentist, Chateau Nous was designed by architect DFW Roberts and was considered ultra-modern (ie unusual) for the time. The Functionalist exterior and Art Deco interior would surely have had tongues wagging in the conservative up-market suburb of Ascot. The photograph below is from 1983.
(Photo: Courtesy K Charlton; Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts)

Original inclusions were servants' quarters and an electric dumb waiter to deliver food to an upstairs breakfast room. Later, a billiard room and a concrete air-raid shelter were added. New owners in 1986 added a tennis court and swimming pool, as well as a new master bedroom and ensuite, and undertook considerable remodelling of the kitchen and family room. Here is a current picture - the garden design prevented me from being able to repeat the original angle, and so this picture is from the southern side of the building rather than the eastern aspect as seen in the top photo.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The last sale of the building mentioned in my usual sources was in 1994, and the price was in excess of $1.6 million. The house would be worth a whole lot more than that now.

Edit: As at January 2011, this property is on the market. It will be interesting to see the purchase price.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: House of Shell

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

St Andrew's Uniting Church, corner Creek St & Ann St

I was preparing a post on today's subject when I read this article in the Courier-Mail. It seems that Brisbane's current spate of road works has created an unholy row in Ann St outside the St Andrew's Uniting Church. If you check out the story, you'll meet the minister who called the Brisbane City Council "crap", and also get a view of the magnificent stained glass windows in the church. Here is a photograph of the exterior. The church is in one of the busiest areas of the city, diagonally across from the Ann St entrance to Central Station.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The current church is actually the third iteration of this place of worship. The very first church for this originally Presbyterian parish was built on Wickham Terrace in 1864, and it was designed by Benjamin Backhouse. Here is a photo of that building, which was situated on the corner of Wickham Terrace and Creek St.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #67835)

By 1887, the increased population of Brisbane required a larger structure, and a Mr Willoughby Powell was engaged to design a new church for Brisbane's Presbyterians. He did a fine job too - creating "an ornate early English Gothic structure of brick, prominent in early photographs of Brisbane, which featured attached buttressing terminating in pinnacles above an open parapet and a large tower in the north west corner." This is it, as photographed in 1889.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APO-010-0001-0024)

In a cruel twist of fate, the increasing population also required increased public transport, and it was decided to enlarge Central Station. This would require resumption of the land on which the church was built. After negotiating a compensation payment of some £20,000 from the Commissioner for Railways, the church set about finding a new home.

Land on the corner of Creek St and Ann St, not too far from the previous site, was obtained by a deed of trust from the AMP Society. Designs for a new church were sought, and George Payne from Queensland's Public Works Dept was the successful architect. Here is an early photo of his church, the parish's third, at the new site in 1915.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #67924)
If you look at the picture closely, you will see a number of headstones - but they are not from a graveyard in the church; there was a stonemason next door to the church. The large building in the background of the photo is (I believe) the Supreme Court building, which was rather unfortunately destroyed in an arson attack in 1968. The new church attracted much favourable comment, particularly concerning its Romanesque features rather that the more familiar Gothic construction that had been heavily used for Brisbane churches. I don't know how long it was before the previous church was demolished, but here is a picture that includes both structures, apparently from around 1970.(Photo: Brisbane in Colour, R Morrison)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Art Deco in the 'burbs

Monday, June 14, 2010

Traffic woes

Nothing defines a city like its traffic. I almost typed "tragic" there - a Freudian typo. Brisbane's traffic is well and truly tragic. A swelling population, together with years of neglecting the road system and lacklustre planning in the sphere of public transport have consigned motorists here to interminable delays. There is some action now - better late than never - but that leads to more delays and more frustration in the short term. I came across this photograph from 1963 recently. It shows Lutwyche Rd snaking round a bend where Lutwyche becomes Kedron. The field on the right is a TAFE campus, and the outbound tram in the top left is just about to cross Kedron Brook.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #188251)

Fast-forward forty-seven years and you see this.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The trams have gone, but traffic is no better - even though motorists are avoiding this area at the moment because of the construction of the Northern Busway, which is the reason for all the cranes visible in the photograph. Brisbane is in a bridge-building and tunnelling frenzy as politicians play catch-up with infrastructure. The area around here has become a nightmare because tunnel drilling machines and lorries work 24/7, creating noise and dust that is driving residents nuts, and road closures that are driving small businesses to bankruptcy. Will it all be worth it?

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Cleric calls Council "crap"!

Friday, June 11, 2010

St Andrew's Anglican, Lutwyche

"Here lies all that could die of Alfred James Peter Lutwyche". These simple words are inscribed on a pink granite Celtic cross placed on a grave that is situated next to St Andrew's Anglican Church on Lutwyche Rd at Lutwyche. The street and the suburb are named after the man who is buried there, Mr Justice Alfred Lutwyche, who was Queensland's first Supreme Court judge. The cross was erected in his memory by his wife Mary, who is also buried there. (Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

It is fair to say that the church owes its presence here to Judge Lutwyche. Lutwyche, a practicing Anglican, purchased the land on which the church stands in 1864 and donated it in 1865 when the local Anglicans decided to build a church. He and his wife participated in the planning of the church which was designed by RG Suter. Here is that church in a picture that was taken in 1888.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #63963)

In the early 1920s the congregation decided to build a new church, which was opened in August 1926 by the Bishop of Brisbane and a crowd estimated at over 2,000 people. The second church is shown below in a photograph from 1939.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #69232)

This new church was designed by Melbourne architect Louis Williams, and features a tall bell tower that contains thirteen bells, apparently unusual for a church in a suburban parish. (Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Fortunately the church is well set back from busy Lutwyche Rd, because the Northern Busway has created traffic snarls, not to mention dust and noise issues (see next Monday's post!). However the church sits serenely amongst some carefully tended trees.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The web site of the church can be found here, and it is interesting to note that both the rector and the deacon are female.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Price of progress

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kedron Lodge

In 1859, for the judicious sum of £35, Mr Justice Alfred Lutwyche, newly appointed judge of Queensland's Supreme Court, bought 35 acres of prime land on Kedron Brook to Brisbane's near north. He engaged John Petrie and Christopher Potter to build his home on the property. The exterior is sandstone from the Albion quarry and the interior was fitted out by master craftsman Andrew Hamilton. Here it is in an early photo, from around 1914.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #69663)

The next photo was taken around the year 1937, and shows the rear of the house.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #69664)

Despite his somewhat contentious professional demeanor, the judge was a convivial man, in fact described as an "acknowledged gourmet and bon-vivant". He loved to fish in Kedron Brook, which flowed through his property, and frequently supplied the fish for his dinner parties. He was also very fond of horse-racing, although apparently not as successful as he may have hoped. The following photo shows Lutwyche casting an eye over a horse on his property, this from around 1871.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #126568)

After the judge's death, the property was sub-divided and is now a gentrified residential area. The fabulous house still stands, either in Kalinga or Wooloowin (depending on whose map you are reading), adjoining inner-Brisbane suburbs. (Photo: © 1982 National Trust of Queensland)

It was owned by the Catholic church for a long time, but now is evidently once again in the hands of private owners. Lucky them! This is the way it looks now - click for a larger image.

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: His church

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lutwyche, the man

"Some are born to greatness, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them". Thus wrote William Shakespeare, and the quote came to mind when I was reading about Alfred James Peter Lutwyche, Queensland's first judge of the Supreme Court. Despite various unfortunate circumstances, any one of which might have caused him to falter, Lutwyche achieved greatness in many different ways. The son of a leather merchant, Lutwyche studyied at Oxford before becoming a barrister in London. He moonlighted as a journalist, reporting on parliament for the Morning Chronicle where Charles Dickens also worked. Lutwyche subsequently wrote law reports for The Times and also wrote a couple of law books while still practicing law. In 1853, after suffering some ill-health, he embarked on a voyage to New South Wales where he intended to take up a position as correspondent for the Morning Chronicle. The vessel in which he was travelling didn't make it to Sydney - it was shipwrecked on Amsterdam Island (halfway between Africa and Australia) in June 1853. Although three died, Lutwyche and the majority of passengers were rescued and taken to Mauritius. Lutwyche eventually arrived in Sydney in December 1853. He recounted his shipwreck ordeal for the Morning Chronicle and in his book "The Wreck of the Meridian", but Lutwyche decided against making journalism his career, accepting instead an appointment to the bar. He initially rejected an offer to become a member of the Legislative Council (which he refused on the basis that he would not take a seat "in any House that was not an elective one"), but he was later to become Solicitor-General and then Attorney-General in the New South Wales government. On 21 February 1859, Lutwyche was appointed judge of the Supreme Court at Moreton Bay. Here is a drawing of the man in his legal garb.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #21331)

Lutwyche had an interesting time as a judge. No shrinking violet, he freely and publicly criticised the government of the day on several matters ranging from legal issues relating to the separation of Queensland from New South Wales, to manhood suffrage (one man, one vote) and also to his own salary, which had been summarily reduced from the £2000 he was being paid by New South Wales to a mere £1200 from the Queensland government. These skirmishes came at personal cost - his wife was labelled "unfit...for the circle into which her husband's rank must place her" by the senior New South Wales judge Sir Alfred Stephen; and Queensland's governor Sir George Bowen sought advice from England as to whether he could refuse Lutwyche's promotion to Chief Justice if parliament were to so appoint him. Bowen subsequently even enquired whether he could remove Lutwyche from the bench. It wasn't until the arrival of wise counsel from England in the form of new judge James Cockle that Lutwyche was convinced that he should cease his public criticism of government and frequent outbursts to the press on various matters - Cockle became a close friend. For all that, Lutwyche's legal work was undiminished and untarnished. He was seen to be learned and perceptive, and he had become a public favourite because of his support for manhood suffrage.
(Photo: reproduced from SCQ Library web pages)

Not long after he arrived in Brisbane, Lutwyche bought property at Kedron Brook and had a house built there - we'll look at that next. A committed Anglican, he also bought and donated land for the building of an Anglican church in the suburb that now bears his name. He and his wife were heavily involved in the construction of the first church, made of wood, that opened in 1866; it was replaced by a more substantial brick structure in 1926. Lutwyche also donated freely to this church, and when he died in 1880 he was buried in its grounds. His grave is pictured below, set in a rose garden right next to the church. He left the church an amount of £100 for the upkeep of his grave, and his wife is also buried there.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: His house

Friday, June 4, 2010

Princess Theatre

This is the oldest theatre (EDIT: Read the Comments section below) on the Australian mainland. It is the Princess Theatre at 8 Annerley Rd Woolloongabba, and it was constructed in 1888 to a Classical design by architect John Nicholson for local land-owner and solicitor Phillip Hardgrave. It was originally known as the South Brisbane Public Hall, and then as the Boggo Rd Theatre. Boggo Rd was the early name for Annerley Rd, and is best known as the location of the infamous Boggo Rd Gaol. The building became the Princess Theatre in 1893.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #190535)

Originally designed to host live theatre, it was also used extensively for movies from 1914 through to WWII. Brisbane's early theatre companies were also using it at this time for live performances. Here is a 1937 picture of a performance of Madam Butterfly by the Marie Knight Corkran Operatic Society.
(Photo: QPAC Collection, John Oxley Library; 1997_054_125)

During WWII, the Princess Theatre became the headquarters of the US Entertainment Unit, and then after the war it was leased to a number of community organisations. Since then it has had varied uses, being leased such firms as an engineering company, an appliance retailer, a secondhand dealer and a paper manufacturer. It reverted to its original use when the TN! Theatre company acquired a lease in 1985. We are fortunate enough to have the building still with us, and it is still used as a theatre. Here is a link to its web pages, and below is a picture of how it looks today.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Queensland's first Supreme Court judge

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

South Brisbane Library

Recycling a building, or perhaps it should be more appropriately be termed changing the purpose of a building, is not new. The building in the photograph below was originally constructed as the South Brisbane Post and Telegraph Office back in 1881; then it became the South Brisbane Municipal Library; and then the (South Brisbane) City Concert Hall, amongst other incarnations. The photograph is from 1898.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #142454)

The Post and Telegraph Office was originally a one-room post office attached to a three-bedroom accommodation for the postmaster. It was designed by FDG Stanley. In 1889, the Post Office was closed and the building was converted to the South Brisbane Mechanics Institute; then in 1893 the South Brisbane Municipal Council took it over, and following some renovation work it became the Municipal Library in 1897. Then, in 1902, the use of the building again altered - the building was extended to include the City Concert Hall, with the library being housed on the first floor. Later, in 1909, it was decided to convert the library into an art gallery to house the newly acquired Randall collection, and architect Thomas Pye was engaged for this purpose.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

After the Randall collection was transferred to Brisbane City Hall in 1973, the building was neglected, and it fell into disrepair. It wasn't until Expo '88 arrived that it was once again revitalised. It operated as a private club during Expo, and was then converted to offices. My recent photo (above) shows how it looks now.

Click here for a Google Map.


Oldest theatre
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