Friday, April 22, 2011

Kurilpa Library,West End

"Kureelpa" is an aboriginal word that allegedly means "place of the water rat". I say allegedly because the aborigines were known to have a sense of humour on these matters, at times misleading the whites about the meaning of words from their language. There are also reports that "kureelpa" means field mouse - they were plentiful in the area that is now West End and South Brisbane, and was formerly referred to by the anglicised name Kurilpa. You can still see evidence of Kurilpa: the pedestrian bridge from the CBD to South Brisbane has been christened the Kurilpa Bridge, and there used to be a state electoral district of that name. There is also the heritage listed Kurilpa Library, prominently situated on Boundary St at West End. It is pictured below, from 1962.
(Photo: Courtesy BCC; BCC-B54-18613)

The library is an imposing brick building designed expressly as a library by the city architect in 1929, and built by the Brisbane City Council in the same year. That architect was AH Foster, who had trained under well-known Brisbane architect GHM Addison. Foster also designed the Valley Baths. Kurilpa Library was the first municipal lending library in Queensland.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

I think there is something formal and permanent in this building, unlike some of the later libraries. The clock tower gives it something of a civic feel too. I like it.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. I quite like it too, but it doesn't even make a vague salute at Brisbane weather. This building could have come straight out of Northern Britain.

  2. Too true - I suppose that it's air-conditioned now, but they would have needed those windows previously.


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