Friday, November 23, 2012

Phoenix Building, Woolloongabba

We have encountered William Davies in these pages before - he built the fabulous Drysslwyn, now known as Raymont Lodge, at Auchenflower. Davies had made his fortune in mining, but was evidently a canny investor too. One of his earlier real estate ventures was to engage renowned architect Richard Gailey to design a series of attached shops to be built at Clarence Corner, now Woolloongabba. The resultant building was completed in 1890 and is comprised of six two-storey brick shops that were advertised for rent in July of that year. Here is what has been described as a photograph of the eastern part of the building from 1952 - there are similarities to its present appearance, but there must have been some alterations since this picture was taken. I'm actually wondering whether this was a building on the other side of Stanley St.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #13281)

In 1920 the building was bought by Lebanese immigrant Calile Malouf, and I understand that the Malouf family, now one of Brisbane's major property players, still owns it. Calile Malouf and his sons operated a store in the building through to the late 1980s - I can recall going to their annual menswear sales to buy business shirts at unbelievably low prices. The shop was invariably full of items from floor to ceiling and I always wondered how they could find anything.

A more recent tenant was a golf store, and I was a regular customer there until around 2002 when I had to give up playing golf because of recurrent vertigo. There is still a golf store in the building today. Here is a current photograph. 
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

 Click here for a Google Map.



  1. We lived in the upstairs flats from 1967 to 1972 and my grand parents lived there before us..i think we paid 6 pounds a week rent which was considered high in those days had 1 bedroom, kitchen, lounge and dining room, bathroom and laundry area with the french doors which lead to the veranda overlooking Stanley was fun living there as Barry and Roberts grocers were downstairs and as we didnt have a car it was ideal..the casket agent was downstairs Mr Goodwin and he shared our concrete tubs and out door dunny in the backyard..we had a small yard and had 2 boxers a cat and budgies and fish ..wouldnt be allowed to keep that many pets these days in a rental..the street was great as we had everything we needed a fish and chip shop cake shop snooker hall fruit shop run by a greek man called went to Paul Deluca the barber further down the street towards the old BCC store which was like a Big W ..i think the Vinnies shop is there now the one that had a fire last year..Paul is still there and at 86 dad still goes to him to get his haircut and so does mum..they said he used to be a paper boy selling newspapers on the corner when they first met him when he was a kid..not many original shops there now just Pauls and Clarence corner hotel and also near Paul was a suit seller who i think is also still there..but yes i remember going with mum to Maloufs and buying buttons and zips for her sewing and knitting and all the beautiful dresses in the window which looked very fancy..we lived there for only 5 years but i loved it..and mum worked across the road at the Mater Convent so work was just across the road and the city a few bus stops away where we went to pay our bills.

  2. Thank you so much for adding your memories to this post Veronica!

  3. Does anyone know if there's a name for the style of architecture in the top photo... as in, how you might describe it easily? Brick and mortar topped with an ornate concrete balustrade is as good as I can muster. Please help!


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