Monday, September 22, 2014

Scott St Flats, Kangaroo Point

 In a recent post about John Oxley we heard the name of Professor FWS Cumbrae-Stewart, who was one of the founders of the Queensland Historical Society. It was he who was largely responsible for the first memorial commemorating Oxley's landing at North Quay.

The professor's full name was Francis William Sutton Cumbrae-Stewart, and he was a New Zealand-born lawyer and academic who lived in Brisbane from 1898-1936. In 1925 he was the founder and first president of the Historical Society, in 1926 he became a professor of law and in 1927 was made King's Council.

Cumbrae-Stewart married his wife Zina in 1906, and she was as active as her husband - she belonged to at least 20 community and charitable organisations and was on the executive of many.

In 1924 Zina Cumbrae-Stewart commissioned a design for a two-storey block of flats to be built in Scott St Kangaroo Point. The architect she chose for this task was Elina Mottram, the first woman to open an architectural practice in Queensland. The flats were constructed in 1925 as an investment for the Cumbrae-Stewarts who at that time lived quite nearby in Main St Kangaroo Point. The Cumbrae-Stewarts moved into the flats in 1930 prior to Professor Cumbrae-Stewart's retirement in 1936. Upon his retirement they moved to Melbourne to be nearer to their only child, a son. Francis Cumbrae-Stewart died in 1938 at the age of 73, and Zina Cumbrae-Stewart lived until 1956, passing away a month before her 88th birthday.

Here are Francis and Zina pictured sometime around the time of their retirement.
 (From 5745 Cumbrae-Stewart Family Papers 1906-1983 via

The flats overlook a small park and the Brisbane River, and were designed with French doors, bay windows and balconies to optimise the views. Here is a photograph.
 (Photo: Queensland Government; 2009)

The flats, known as the Scott St Flats, remained a family investment for decades after the deaths of Francis and Zina. That they survive today is almost a miracle, given the appetite developers have for land in that area.  The listing on the state government heritage register would be assisting in that regard. Here is a current image of the flats together with a picture showing off the splendid view.

(Photos: © 2014 the foto fanatic)

Across the road at 1 Scott St is a relatively new and totally opulent apartment building boasting 12 apartments over 15 floors, all with magical views across the Brisbane River to the city. There was some antagonism against the development initially, mainly because the developer wanted to buy the street from the state government and local citizens were concerned about loss of amenities in the area.
(Photo: © 2014 the foto fanatic) 

Thankfully that idea was kyboshed by the government. The initial pricing structure for the new apartments was kyboshed too, with buyers merely forking out single-digit millions rather than sums of $12-15 million as was originally forecast

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. Janet Agnes Cumbrae Stewart (1883-1960) was one of my favourite pastel artists and happened to be the youngest of Francis and Zina's 10 children. Janet came from scholarly stock, it would seem.

    1. Hi Hels
      Yes, Janet Cumbrae Stewart was a renowned artist.
      She was actually the sister of Francis.He chose to introduce the hyphen to his surname, later picked up by other relatives but not Janet.


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