Friday, October 28, 2011

Norman Hotel, Woolloongabba

How would you like your business to be known as "Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant?"

The hotel below doesn't mind it - in fact it advertises itself that way. It is the Norman Hotel at Woolloongabba, one of Brisbane's excellent steak restaurants.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

"The Norman", as it known to locals, was designed by John B Nicholson and built by F Steffans in 1889 for Robert Heaslop. The hotel was situated on the Brisbane to Ipswich road in an area that was growing quickly, with both residential and commercial properties emerging following the completion of the railway and horse-drawn tram lines to Woolloongabba. Ipswich Rd is today one of Queensland's busiest. The photograph below shows the hotel in 1988.
(Photo: Brisbane City Council; BCC-T120-988)

Heaslop was the publican at the Norman for a few years before leasing it out. In 1900, the brewery company Perkins & Co bought the hotel. At that time, the brewer was in competition with arch-rivals Castlemaine Brewery, and both companies were setting up "tied houses" around Brisbane. Later the two breweries combined to form Castemaine Perkins, the makers of the famous XXXX Beer.

In 1987, the well-known Queensland hotel family, the Cavills, bought the Norman. The hotel had been going through a difficult patch, but the Cavills did some refurbishment, added a steak house at the rear of the property, and set about making the place a desirable venue. Amongst other hotels, the Cavills had previously run Queensland's iconic Breakfast Creek Hotel, also famous for its steaks, and so were well-placed to do this. They ran the hotel until 2006 when it was sold. It is now owned by the Independent Pub Group.

The Norman thrives today, despite the set-back of a serious fire on the premises that occurred when some renovations were taking place in 2008. The ensuing damage has been repaired and the pub is once again trading at full capacity.

Click here for a Google Map.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

John Mills Himself

John Mills was a printer in Brisbane in the early twentieth century. Initially he and a partner owned a business in Adelaide St called Mills & Green, but the partnership terminated and Mills moved to this Charlotte St premises alone. The business name on the front of the building says "John Mills Himself", leaving his customers in no doubt about the new venture.

You may notice that the building on the left has the name "John Reid and Nephews" - they were an engineering firm, and only the facade of their original building remains, super-glued onto the Telstra building behind. I don't know which John was there first, or whether the second John had a subtle sense of humour. Perhaps that was just the way businesses were named in those times. The building to the right, now the Singapore Restaurant, was once the George Weston & Sons building. 
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

Mills bought the Charlotte St land in 1918 and constructed the building, designed by JH Burley, in 1919-20. 

It is a couple of doors away from the Pancake Manor, formerly St Luke's Anglican Church, so this is quite a heritage precinct. As a result, there has been a bit of a stink recently because a laneway behind this building and a building known as the Elizabeth St Printery have been trashed to accommodate another glass tower. Alarmingly, before the period for Brisbane's citizens to lodge objections had even closed, the developers were given a certificate of immunity by the Queensland Heritage Council! It is hard to have confidence in any authority that acts in this manner. 

The demolished building was home to a trendy coffee shop and the laneway promoted "sub-culture appreciation". So, no Melbourne-style laneways for Brisbane - at least not in this location. Ironically it is Melbourne's Grollo family that is developing the site.

Click here for a Google Map.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Kinauld, Highgate Hill

The village of Dornoch lies within the county of Sutherland in the Scottish highlands. Two men from Sutherland, Messrs Angus Matheson and Alexander Macintosh, were amongst the first inhabitants of an area that we now call Highgate Hill, and it was they who named Dornoch Terrace after the little village from which Matheson originated.

Alexander Macintosh built a house on the land he owned on Dornoch Terrace, and he called the house Kinauld after his old home in Sutherland. This first Kinauld was a long, low timber house, and Mr Macintosh lived in it until his death in 1877.

The Scots connection then came to the fore again, because Macintosh's widow decided to build a new dwelling on their land, and she engaged the services of another Scottish neighbour, the architect AB Wilson. This house is the Kinauld that is still present on Dornoch Terrace, and here is a photograph of it from 1996.
(Photo: Courtesy J Houldsworth & DEWHA; rt51155) 1996

At the rear of the house the land slopes downwards, and blasting was necessary to make room for the new residence. Rock residue from the blasting was then used to terrace the land. Kinauld II was also constructed from timber, with plaster interior walls and cedar doors and fittings. In 1932, The Queenslander called it "one of the best finished houses in Brisbane" in its series of Brisbane's Historical Homes.
(Photos: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

Although not evident from my recent pictures, the house is quite large. Four bedrooms, a sitting room, a writing room, a dining room, maid's room, kitchen and storeroom and a bathroom were all included at the time of construction. The Macintosh family owned the house until 1953. Subsequent owners made alterations to the interior, removing plaster and cedar, fireplaces and stained glass. The building was converted into flats at one stage.

However, recent owners, in conjunction with architect Robert Riddel, set about restoring the residence, as well as making additions in keeping with the original design of the house. 

Click here for a Google Map.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Naval Stores, Kangaroo Point

When the perceived threat of invasion by the Russians was at the forefront of the minds of Queenslanders, a navy was established by the purchase of a couple of ships from Scotland, the Gayundah and the Paluma. Having the ships based in Brisbane meant that spare parts and other kit required to maintain the vessels needed storing. The solution was the construction of the Naval Stores buildings at Kangaroo Point between 1886 and 1888. Here is an early photograph of the buildings, shown in front of the cliffs. Shortly after these buildings were finished, a Naval Office was established on the other side of the river at the bottom of Edward St. (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #127388)

 These historical buildings can still be seen, although these days they fulfill a different service. It is testament to our determination to keep them that they have survived despite several near-disasters. The 1893 flood rose well above the ground floor ceilings and although the 1974 floods didn't reach that level, they were very serious too. In 1985 significant damage occurred when the buildings were involved in a fire, a photograph of which can be seen below.
(Photo: "Brisbane Ablaze"; K Calthorpe & KD Capell)

The buildings became the property of the Royal Australian Navy, and were used by them until 1959, then they were used by the Army until 1984. The Brisbane City Council purchased the site in 1987, and now the buildings are used in the tourist and hospitality industries.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

At the right-hand end of this building there are markers that show the height of the 1893 flood and also the 1974 flood. It is quite sobering to stand next to them.

Click here for a Google Map.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Sandgate Town Hall

Sandgate, north of Brisbane, is a suburb situated on the shores of Moreton Bay. Land sales commenced there around 1853. its location on the bay made it attractive to day-trippers from Brisbane, so it was connected to Brisbane with a rail line in 1882. In the same year, Richard Gailey designed a Municipal Chambers and Town Hall - this is it.
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; BCC-SGT-7321)
In 1910 the Gailey-designed town hall burned down, and it was decided to build a new premises closer to the post office and the railway station. Architect TR Hall was the Sandgate Town Clerk, and he designed the new building. Hall was later to design the Brisbane City Hall with his colleague GG Prentice.

(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; BCC-SGT-13762)

The foundation stone for the new building was laid on 14 October, 1911 - 100 years ago today. 
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; BCC-SGT-15)

Builder J Gemmel constructed the town hall for  £5000, and it was opened by the governor of Queensland in October 1912. Here is a photograph of people attending a ball around that time.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #99618)

This is a photograph of the nearly completed town hall - the clock faces were not installed in the tower until 1923, and they are missing in this next photograph. The clock was built by Gillet & Johnson in England in 1877, and is one of the oldest in Queensland. Prior to its installation here, it had been in service in the Ipswich Town Hall.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #54037) 

Sandgate was folded into the Brisbane City Council in 1925, and since that time the suburb has been part of the BCC. Over the past eighteen months the Sandgate Town Hall has been refurbished, enabled by almost $4 million in funds that came from both the Brisbane City Council and the federal government.

The refurbishments are finished and the building is back in business as a multi-function facility for residents - it won't be long before the bingo sessions are in full swing again!
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; BCC-C120-9574.2)

There will be an official reopening in December, and celebrations are planned to commemorate the building's centenary next year.

Click here for a Google Map.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Woolloongabba

My parents were married in this church in August 1948. It's the Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Woolloongabba, and this picture dates from 1949.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #202768)

I think both my parents must have come to the marriage with issues. My father was 26 and lived at nearby Annerley; he worked up the road from the church at the timber merchants Hancock & Gore. He had returned from serving in New Guinea during WWII, and like many returned servicemen was to deal with PTSD for many years afterwards.  My mother was only 19, and she was working at the Metro Cinema in the city. She was still recovering from the shock of losing both parents and a little brother in a train crash just outside Brisbane a couple of years earlier. Despite these travails they raised five happy and healthy children and had a successful marriage right up until my father died from cancer. Mum lives not too far from me and is still independent, although she is just recovering from eye surgery.
(Photo: DERM, 2009)

This church building was the third built on the site - the first one, having been designed by Richard Gailey, was erected as far back as 1870. That building was destroyed in a storm and was replaced by a second timber church in 1875.

After WWI the rector of the church became keen on building a more imposing building on the existing site which is perched on a hill not far from the Gabba Fiveways. Parishioners apparently agreed, because a collection was established to accrue funds for the project. Some commentators have stated that the Anglicans had become jealous of the prominent Catholic churches that were being constructed in prime locations around Brisbane by Archbishop James Duhig, and wanted a showpiece for their own flock to be proud of.

The impressive Spanish Mission-type building was designed by architect Eric Ford of Chambers & Ford. Although the intention of the parish was to demolish the existing church, they were saved that cost when the church burned to the ground in December 1929. The foundation stone of the new church was laid in March 1930 by Archbishop Sharp, and it was dedicated in October of that year. A freestanding bell tower was added in 1949, and can be glimpsed at the rear of the church at the left hand side. This is the way the church looks today.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

Some information on the interior of the church, including technical details of the church organ, can be seen here

Click here for a Google Map.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Farrington House, Alderley

Spectacular? I would think so! This house was listed for sale recently, and the indications are that it did sell. I don't know the details, but to give you an idea, the property was sold in 2003 for $3.15 million.


The house is known as Farrington House, and it sits atop a hill in one of Brisbane's near-northern suburbs, with 360 degree views as far as Moreton Bay. It has three levels, 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and can garage 6 cars.

Farrington House was built in 1882 or thereabouts for wealthy Brisbane biscuit manufacturer Frederick Waters Wilson. His company FW Wilson Steam Biscuit Co (I have no idea what a steam biscuit is, but there were also other manufacturers such as Arnotts, Excelsior and Swifts) was a well known maker of biscuits and also wedding cakes. The house has often been referred to as the "wedding cake house". Although the house is listed on the State Heritage Register, there are no details about the designer or the builder. Here is a photograph of Farrington House from 1932.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #16893)

Farrington House had several owners until it was bought by the Baptist Union of Queensland who called it Clifford House, a residential facility for the elderly from 1948 to 1956. After that, it became a boarding house, and subsequently fell into disrepair. One of my blog readers tells me that the local children treated it as a haunted house during this time.

Farrington House has been a private residence for the last several years. Obviously it has been renovated since those earlier days, and I think that it looks pretty special now.

Click here for a Google Map.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oakwal, Windsor

It seems that Queensland has been quite well served when it comes to our judiciary. Here is a residence built for a judge who, at the request of the governor of Queensland, was brought out here from England in 1863 to become chief justice of the colony. From all reports, he did a superb job for fifteen years, was knighted as a result (in 1869), then retired back to England. His name was James Cockle, and this is the house "Oakwal" that was built for him in 1864.
(Photo: © National Trust of Queensland and Richard Stringer)

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #17923)

The reason that Queensland's Governor Bowen implored England to provide a judge who could be made chief justice was that he was unhappy with the antics of the resident Supreme Court judge at the time, Alfred Lutwyche. Bowen felt that, although his bench work was without controversy, Lutwyche was a volatile man who had politicised the judiciary by making derogatory comments about the parliament and politicians that usually found their way into the newspaper. By contrast, James Cockle was a "dignified, imperturbable and scrupulously impartial judge, highly respected by the Bar and the general public", according to his biography.

Oakwal was designed by James Cowlishaw (who later bought the house from Cockle) and built in sandstone by master mason John Petrie for about £4000. Most of the original 16 hectares bought by Cockle has been sub-divided, and the house is now encircled by newer residences. Here is a current photograph.
(Photo: Google Earth)

Interestingly, shortly before the construction of Cockle's residence, Alfred Lutwyche had built his own house "Kedron Lodge". It too was built from sandstone and constructed by John Petrie, and is not too far from Oakwal. It looks like this. (Photo: © National Trust of Queensland and Frank Bolt)

The contrast between the two residences is as marked as that between the two men. Cockle's single-story home seems to have been adapted to the Queensland climate with the addition of wide verandahs surrounding the house, while Lutwyche's home was a very English, Tudor-styled two-storey building. The combination of the two men turned out to be a boon to the local court scene, however. Sir James's biography says this about them: "With courtesy but great firmness he persuaded Lutwyche to stop airing in the press his grievances against parliament; later the two became firm friends." They collaborated on important issues of law reform for the colony.

Click here for a Google Map.

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