Friday, November 25, 2011

Telecommunications House

Something is missing in life these days. Jokes! Time was when if a group of mates got together, someone would come up with a line like "Did you hear the one about the commercial traveller?" These days humour seems (to me anyway) based on cynicism and sarcasm, not the yarns that used to be rolled out. I'm not really complaining, just noting it as a point of interest.

Well, did you hear about the Commercial Travellers Association of Queensland? (No joke here either, sadly!) The Association was formed in 1884, and after a period of meeting in hotels they decided to obtain their own premises. With that end in mind, land was purchased in Elizabeth St around 1905. Claude Chambers was engaged, and this is a drawing of the proposed building that was opened in 1907.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #10076) 1906

The building was designed with a dining room and bar on the ground floor, and bedrooms for members to stay in when required. 

Here is a photograph of the building taken shortly after completion.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #157392) 1907

The CTA was a very progressive organisation, it would seem. A few years after the erection of this building, they built next door a "samples room" building (now demolished), where members could lay out their wares for inspection by prospective buyers. The Association also provided insurance products, savings plans and scholarships for members and their families. As the nature of business changed after WWII, the CTA sold their building to the commonwealth government in 1963. What was then the Post-Master General's department, now Telstra, took occupancy of the building which was renamed Telecommunications House. Here it is today.  
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

These days the building houses a number of offices.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. Dear Sir,

    I agree with you about jokes missing from our lives today. My grandfather always used to tell me jokes when I was a child.
    As for you blog--I love it. I work at the John Oxley Library and we write blog stories for our own blog, but it's hard to find a topic that you haven't written a good story about. If you come over to the State Library and need any help, please come and see me--Veronika Farley.
    Kind regards

  2. Hi Veronika

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

    The resources at the State Library are wonderful. I access most of them via the internet, but I will certainly look you up when I am next visiting.

    Best wishes

  3. I always felt sorry for people living and working far from home. Especially people young men like sailors, who could get into trouble in foreign ports. So the Commercial Travellers Association was very wise, building a decent home away from home. Wives could also relax, knowing their husbands would be living in decent conditions.

    The Edwardian architecture, especially the red bricks, seem only to have extended to the balconies and front windows. Was the rest of the building changed?

  4. Hi Hels
    I believe that it would gave abutted the adjoining building, now demolished. If that were the case the side wall would not have needed the same finish as the front.


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