Friday, August 17, 2012

Comino's Arcade, Redcliffe

In our last post we looked at the home of Russian-born architect Grigoriy Mehonoshin, and there is a link to the building featured today. Comino's Arcade at Redcliffe was designed by Mehonoshin under his working name of Gregory Meek. It is a simple three storeyed building self-built by Greek cafe proprietor Arthur Comino during WWII. Here is a photograph of it that was taken in 1970.
(Photo: Moreton Bay Regional Council; 000\000218)

Arthur Comino was a member of the seemingly-vast Comino family, originally from the island of Kythera, many of whom came to Australia and successfully ran small businesses. Arthur and his family had run the Central Cafe in Laidley for twenty-odd years before constructing this arcade in the years 1942-1944. Arthur himself was a stone mason and performed much of the construction with his own hands. He envisaged a seaside R&R facility for the large number of Australian and US forces stationed in South-East Queensland during the war. It was built next door to Redcliffe's picture theatre, The Pier, and on completion had a Greek cafe on the ground floor, accommodation on the first floor and a ballroom on the second floor. Its early name was the Acropolis Building. 

In 1946 the ballroom became the Ace of Clubs, a nightclub, and subsequently was known as the Panorama Dance Palace. The owner, Arthur Comino, was killed in 1949 as the result of a fall while working on the arcade, but members of the Comino family owned the building right through to 2003.

The building was entered on the state's heritage list in April 2009, and there was local controversy about that. These days it houses an art gallery as well as a number of businesses and offices. Here is a recent photograph. 

 (Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

Click here for a Google Map.

tff

4 comments:

  1. I think it was wonderful that the family would build a range of leisure and pleasure facilities in the one builing - cinema, restaurant, ballroom, nightclub, cafe etc etc. After all, Brisbane wasn't necessarily known as the world centre of busy night life back then. The facade looks a bit suburban, but the shops/facilities might have been very cool.

    So now I have a question. Did the family call their complex an "arcade" themselves? Or was that word a later title? Melbourne and Sydney definitely had arcades, but they were classy Victorian/edwardian shops in a glass-roofed arcade in the CBD.

    Many thanks
    Hels

    ReplyDelete
  2. According to the heritage listing, the building was referred to as an arcade as far back as the 1949 telephone directory.

    When the building was completed, it had "an arcade and shops on the ground floor" says the entry in the register.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just wondering who owns it now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry - I have no details of ownership post 2003.

      Delete

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