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.
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