Tuesday, March 12, 2013

HB Sales Building, Margaret St

References to early Brisbane often mention a place called Frogs Hollow. It was a low-lying area that stretched from Elizabeth St down to the river at the Botanical Gardens and bounded on the other two sides by George St and Edward St. Back in the days when farming took place in the area that is now the Gardens, Frog's Hollow was a wet and swampy area that the convict farmers had to traverse to get to their workplace.  Frogs Hollow was low in other ways too. The wet and unsanitary conditions meant that anything built here was cheap and unkempt - it became Brisbane's red light district, where prostitution, sly grog and even opium dens could be found.

Over time the low-lying ground was back-filled and light industry started to spring up. But it was still susceptible to flooding in heavy rain. Below is a photograph taken during the 1864 flood, looking from George St down Charlotte St, where the "hollow" can readily be seen.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #22130)

Today's building is situated on Margaret St in the old Frogs Hollow district. It is the HB Sales Building, and next door is the Watson Bros building that we will see next. The HB Sales building was designed by Frank Longland and it was built in 1912 on land owned by the publican Mrs Sarah Balls who, at the time was the licensee of the Stock Exchange Hotel on Queen St. The building was to become the workshop of Acme Engineering Works, previously of Charlotte St.  The Watson Bros building next door had been built in 1887 by Mrs Balls' husband John and his partner Henry Smith. John Balls died in 1895.

Here are some photographs of the HB Sales building.
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(Photo: nathandavid88 via skyscrapercity.com)

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(Photo: google.com)

 Acme Engineering Works remained in the premises until 1928, after which it was owned by Charles Jeays who operated in plumbers' supplies. After WWII the building was occupied by Gardiner Batteries and then HB Sales from 1958. The last couple of inhabitants appear to be vendors of bicycles and accessories.

Click here for a Google Map.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, just two buildings left as a reminder to this interesting part of Brisbane's history.


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