Tuesday, October 30, 2012

National Bank, Queen St Mall (former)

Here is a photograph of the Royal Bank of Queensland in Queen St Brisbane, taken around the year 1900. The building was erected in 1891.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #66715)

Some rationlisation of the banking scene in Australia took place in the years following WWI, and the Royal Bank of Queensland became the Bank of Queensland after a merger, and then was taken over by the National Bank in 1922. It was decided to build a new office in place of the original building, and Melbourne architects A & K Henderson designed the seven-storey brick and sandstone building that was erected in 1929/30 and was where I opened my first cheque account in 1968. It was known then as National Bank Central Branch, and here is a photograph of it in that guise.
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   (Photo: DERM)

The building, situated in the Queen St Mall, no longer operates as a bank. It is now the CBD home of Country Road clothing - here is a recent picture.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Greek Orthodox Church, South Brisbane

Recently we discussed various aspects of immigration to this country. Today we are looking at the development of Brisbane's vibrant Greek community, in particular their churches. Greece itself is having severe economic issues as this post goes to air, and it may result in that country departing the European Union. I've been to Greece a couple of times and marvelled at the antiquities and the fact that it is the basis of our concept of democracy. It would be a shame if the country imploded now. But as my Greek barber says, "All the hard-working Greeks are in Australia making fortunes. Those left want a welfare state but aren't willing to pay taxes". I'm sure the problem isn't that simple, but it is interesting that a Greek man interprets things in that way.

Greece, wedged between Europe and Asia, had been invaded from one direction or another for centuries, and the population was used to fleeing to new homes. Greeks started to arrive in Queensland as far back as the 1860s, mostly to rural towns. During the twentieth century, some Greek migrants in Queensland worked in the mining and sugar industries, and many established small shops and cafes. Most Queensland outback towns had at least one Greek cafe or milk bar.

A Greek community centre was established in Charlotte St Brisbane in 1913, and in 1922 the first Greek Orthodox priest arrived in Brisbane. He conducted services in St Luke's Anglican Church in Charlotte St until the completion of the first Greek Orthodox church, also in Charlotte St, in 1929.  Here is a photo of the laying of the foundation stone and dedication in late 1928.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #50666)

 And here is a later picture of that church from around 1955. It no longer exists.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #202766)

Although immigration ceased during WWII, it started again soon afterwards, and there was a large intake of Greek migrants during the 1950s. During the war Greece had been invaded by the Italians, who were initially repulsed, and then the Germans. The Greek mainland was occupied by Axis powers from 1941 to 1944, so it was no wonder that many Greek citizens were prepared to travel overseas to a new life.

Most Greek migrants were Greek Orthodox Christians, and the church in the centre of Brisbane became too small for the swelling congregation. In 1956 land was purchased in South Brisbane to allow the construction of a new church. Plans were drawn up by RM Wilson, the foundation stone was laid on 4 May 1958 and the church was consecrated on 24 April 1960. Here is a recent photograph of the church.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

It seems to me that the Greeks are very strong on family and their cultural traditions. There is a large Greek Club next to the church that enables these traditions to continue amongst newer generations. Of course, Greeks know how to have fun and the annual Paniyiri festival that has been running since 1976 is held over the road from the church and draws huge crowds each year.
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(Photos: couriermail.com & gocstgeorge.com.au)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cairnsville, New Farm

Here is a photograph of Charles Le Broq - he was a building contractor who built and operated the Metropolitan swimming baths at Petrie Bight in Brisbane's early days.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #)

The baths were a wooden enclosure moored to the river-bank, allowing them to move with the tides. That feature also allowed the baths to be towed to a new position near the Botanical Gardens when their original site was earmarked to be developed into wharves. The next photograph shows the baths at that new site - you can just make out the word "BATHS" on the roof behind the ship. The large building in the centre of the picture is the Smellie & Co building on the corner of Edward and Alice Streets.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #35312)

The Le Broq family lived in the Metropolitan Baths Cottage at North Brisbane, but like other investors, Charles Le Broq decided to build a house to let to well-off tenants in the near-city suburb of New Farm. It was designed by Richard Gailey and Le Broq completed construction in 1889. The first tenant there was Albert Drury, who happened to have been the private secretary of Governor William Cairns. Cairns had passed away in 1888, and Drury named the house Cairnsville in memory of the former governor.

There are a couple of photographs of the Le Broq family at Cairnsville. I love this first one - it shows a girl on a rather up-market kiddie car that looks like it is propelled by a push-pull action of the handle, much like a railway hand cart. The information with this picture says that the two women at the back are Mable(sic) and Alice Le Broq.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #21980)

The next image shows Uncle Milton from Fiji in the white coat at the front, with baby Phil (aged 3 1/2) on the verandah. It took me a while to discover that there are actually six people in the photograph.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #21979)

It looks like the Le Broq family has a bit of fun, doesn't it? I can't tell you how long they owned the house, only that Drury was resident there until 1897 when he moved to Doon in Moreton St. The house has since had many owners and many tenants, and at one time was a boarding house. I believe that it is now privately owned.
(Photo: © 1982 National Trust of Queensland; F Bolt)

(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Santa Barbara, New Farm

Some say this house is Brisbane's best example of a Spanish Mission-style residence. It was also one of the most expensive houses of its time - Santa Barbara was built in 1930 for a cost of £4,000.

The house was constructed for Mrs Sarah Balls, the widow of Brisbane builder turned publican John Balls who had died in 1895. Mrs Balls continued the hotel business after her husband's death, and she must have made a good fist of it too - at one time she owned the Stock Exchange Hotel in the city, one of the favoured watering holes of the CBD. 

Santa Barbara was built by DF Roberts to a design by EP (Percy) Trewern who became an extremely successful residential architect during the inter-war period. He also worked on commercial buildings - Inchcolm on Wickham Terrace is one of his designs. Here is a photograph of Santa Barbara from around 1936.
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(Photo: R Dunstan; State Library of Victoria, #b26607)

And here is a recent photograph.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

The land on which this house stands was formerly part of the grounds of Merthyr, a grand home owned by former Queensland premier and the first Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Samuel Griffith. Griffith died at Merthyr in 1920 and the land was subdivided in 1929. The house was retained at that time, with some of Sir Samuel's children residing there. Mrs Balls obtained a portion of the severed land and Santa Barbara was built there. This is what Griffith's house Merthyr looked like prior to later being demolished (in 1963) because no funds were available to maintain it.
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(Photo: SCQ Library)

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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #204664) 

Merthyr (named after the town in Wales where Griffith was born) was a large brick home designed by James Cowlishaw and built during the 1870s. It had a slate roof and cedar interior, with the main feature being the lavish ballroom in the centre of the house. It's a shame the house has been lost, but its name lives on in nearby Merthyr Park and Merthyr Rd, one of New Farm's major roads. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Dods' house, New Farm

In the last post we were looking at medium density rental properties in New Farm. Today I am showing you another purpose-built rental property in the same suburb. This one is a house that was built in the year 1900, and it was designed by iconic Brisbane architect RS (Robin) Dods as an investment property for his mother. Robin Dods' built his own house was next door to this one, although unfortunately it no longer exists. It has been replaced by a block of flats.

Here are a couple of views of the house.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

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(Photo: DERM)

Robin Dods was born in 1868 at Dunedin in New Zealand of Scottish parents. The family moved back to Scotland, but when Robin's father died they emigrated again - this time to Brisbane. On the sea journey to Australia Robin's mother met the ship's surgeon, Dr Charles Marks, whom she later married.

Robin attended Brisbane Grammar School and then in 1886 he went back to Scotland to study architecture. He moved to London in 1890 to work in a few architectural firms. Early evidence of his talent can be gleaned from several awards that he won in the years after being admitted to the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1891. When he returned to Brisbane briefly in 1894 to visit his mother, he entered a competition to design a nurses' home for the Brisbane Hospital and won that too. This success urged him to come back to Brisbane to live in 1896. He joined fellow architect Francis Hall to develop the firm Hall & Dods.

There is no doubt that Robin Dods was a talented designer. He was successful through a tough economic cycle in Brisbane after the terrible 1893 floods, and this was also due to his impeccable connections. His stepfather, Dr Marks was a well-known doctor and member of parliament and his uncle was also a politician. Dods, like them, was a member of the influential Queensland Club. He obtained commissions from several of the best corporate clients, such as AMP, Bank of NSW, the Anglican and Catholic churches.

Unfortunately some of Dods' work perished through the "development" era in Queensland, the Bjelke-Petersen dominated 1970s. But there are still some fine examples left, many of which we have already looked at: St Brigid's at Red Hill, the Bishopsbourne chapel and Dods' House for example. Here is a photograph of another of his works, All Saints at Tamrookum, west of Brisbane.
(Photo: JIGGS IMAGES @flickr.com)  

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Julius St, New Farm

This little cul-de-sac in New Farm has an interesting history. Scottish immigrant James Campbell, who founded quite a large building company after his arrival in Brisbane, bought land here and around 1880 he constructed a couple of lime kilns and a little wharf at the river end of the street. Later he established a timber business on the property too. It appears that the terrible 1893 flood put paid to these enterprises although other Campbell businesses survived and prospered. There are remnants of the lime kilns still visible from the river and they are under heritage protection. I have glimpsed them from the CityCat but have not had the opportunity to photograph them. Here is an image from the DERM website.
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 (Photo: © DERM)

The area lay unattended for about twenty years after the Campbell joinery works and lime kilns were destroyed. In 1914 another timber merchant, James Green commenced operations here, and then in 1921 a Julius Rosenfeld set up his timber yard here. He bought the land in 1924, but he also had bad luck - fire destroyed his business in 1931.

In 1933, Rosenfeld had the land subdivided into housing allotments, and I presume that Julius St was named in his honour. The little street became a place where blocks of flats were constructed during the inter-war period. There are no fewer than seven multiple dwellings, each having its own design and character, in the street. They are Ardrossan, Green Gables, Julius Lodge, Syncarpia, Ainslie, Pine Lodge and Evelyn Court. The New Farm area at this time was largely inhabited by the well-off, and these flats were designed to be leased to wealthy tenants.

Below is a photograph of Ardrossan, sporting a for sale sign. The photograph was taken some months ago, and a recent check found that it is no longer on the market. I cannot say whether or not it was sold.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

It is welcome news that this street has been recognised as having heritage value. Although dating only from the 1930s the area is significant in its representation of early medium density living in Brisbane.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

HMAS Moreton

The Teneriffe area was a vital cog in the Australian-American naval forces during WWII. The former Capricorn Wharf was a US submarine base, and just south of that was the Australian Navy's base HMAS Moreton.

The Capricorn Wharf returned to civilian duty as a commercial wharf following the war, and then was demolished as the Teneriffe precinct began its urban renewal.

HMAS Moreton continued as a naval base through until it was decommissioned in 1994 and then demolished soon after. This allowed the construction of Freshwater Apartments (below) on the site. 
08 - Freshwater apartments
(Photo: Brisbane City Council on flickr)

Here are a couple of photographs of HMAS Moreton shortly before it was demolished.
(Photo: Brisbane City Council; BCC-S35-9866)
(Photo: Brisbane City Council; BCC-C35-942044.15) 

The next photo shows two WRANS standing next to a Navy Oldsmobile at the base during WWII. I assume that they would have driven navy brass around at the time.
(Photo: Australian War Memorial; P00294.001_1943)

Next we have a photograph from the early 1970s of HMAS Yarra berthed at the HMAS Moreton wharf. The suburb of New Farm and the Story Bridge are visible behind the base.
 (Photo: RAN Historical, Heritage Collection image ID NO. 04289)

A memorial plaque remembering the WRANS who served at HMAS Moreton has been fixed to a stone at the former site. 
(Photo: http://www.flickr.com; © The Tanny Kid)

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Swain House, Chelmer

This man was one of Australia's foremost forestry and timber experts. His name is Edward Harold Fulcher Swain - here is his photograph, and below that is a picture of the house he built in suburban Chelmer in the 1920s.
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(Photos: HQPlantations Pty Ltd; http://www.hqplantations.com.au/history.html)

Edward Swain was born in Sydney in 1883, and at the age of 17 he became the first cadet ever appointed to the Forestry Branch of the Department of Lands. He attended technical college and university in Sydney before undertaking several bush postings, many of them in the Northern Rivers district. Swain was largely self-taught about forestry - indeed it is reported that he had a disdain for the type of academic forestry practiced in Europe. He made self-funded trips to New Zealand and the United States to gain further knowledge about trees, and he also started to publish books and papers on the subject. In 1916 he moved to Queensland as a district forest inspector, in 1918 he succeeded Norman Jolly as director of forests, then in 1924 became chairman of the Provisional Forestry Board.

Swain had a powerful persona and was never shy about broadcasting his views on forestry even when they clashed with the views of his employers and developers. This conflict led to a Royal Commission into forestry in 1931, where Swain read his views on forest protection over a couple of days. The Commission did not like his approach, his tone or his message - in fact he was accused of making false statements under oath and some members of the Commission called for him to be jailed. A private review by the Auditor General found that Swain's statements were factually accurate, but the Royal Commission did not publish that result. This led to his employment being terminated in 1932.

Swain operated as a consultant for a few years until employed by the NSW government as their commissioner for forestry in 1935. Here he was to manage the state's timber resources through a depression and then WWII. He established a wood products investigation to manage forests to the mutual benefit of foresters, sawmillers and timber merchants. He had oversight of timber production and supply during the war when timber was not able to be imported due to shipping blockades.

He continued to publish widely, but was frequently in disagreement with academics and the government. As a result he retired in 1948, although he later had a stint with the United Nations as a forestry adviser to Ethiopia. 

Edward Swain returned to his Chelmer home late in his life and passed away there in 1970, some say while tending his garden. He had planted an arboretum around his property that contained a variety of species and many of the mature trees can be seen in the following photographs of the house.  
(Photo: © DERM; 2009)
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ann St Church of Christ

One of these days I'm going to count the number of churches on Ann St. It's quite a long street and it has more than its share of churches, ranging from a century-old Anglican cathedral to a shared space in a modern building used by the International City Church. It was also planned to be the site of a huge Catholic cathedral envisaged by Archbishop Duhig, but the funds for that venture were never realised.

One of the older church buildings in the street is the Church of Christ, situated near the Queen St intersection and pictured below.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

The building was originally erected around 1881 for the United Methodist Free Church. Tiny though it seems today, wedged in between office towers, it has been extended three times since construction.

I don't know the reasons, but it appears that the United Methodists were replaced by the Church of Christ. The Church of Christ had formed at another location in 1893, and in 1898 they bought this church building for £1,100.

The building is a Gothic structure with rendered walls and an iron roof. It is quite similar in appearance to another Ann St church, the Ann St Presbyterian, that is about thirty years older. I don't have an older image of the building, but Wikipedia has a photo of the Ann St Church of Christ's women's sewing group from 1901.
(Photo: wikipedia.org)

These days the church has a Korean language service in addition to its normal English services each Sunday and welcomes all overseas visitors with a Make Friends in Brisbane meeting on Wednesdays that helps newcomers learn to speak English.

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