Monday, July 20, 2015

Kelvin Grove

Here are a couple of buildings in Kelvin Grove that have been around for a while and about which I have only sketchy details. First up is this substantial structure on Kelvin Grove Rd that I first knew in the 1980s as a restaurant run by Bill Cunliffe who was previously the proprietor at popular Spanish restauraunt Tortilla in Elizabeth Arcade in the CBD. He called this place Kelvin House, as I recall, and here is a photograph of it from 1986.
(Photo: BCC-T54-229) 

I'm not sure what has transpired since then, but the building is once again a restaurant, this time featuring Thai cuisine. Their web site says they have been in operation since 2009. It also throws a little light on the origins of the building, stating that it was built in 1880 and known as Stone House. Although the web site notes it as a "heritage building" I have not been able to find it on any of the usual registers.

The second building is not that old - it was constructed in 1930 to be a teachers' training college, but as a result of the Depression it was initially used as a school. In 1942 it achieved its primary objective as the Queensland Teachers' Training College when the previous facility moved to this location from the city. Here is a photograph of it from 1936.
(Photo: BCC-B120-81044)

Since then there has been a plethora of name changes. Here is a list that comes from a Wikipedia page:
Senior Teachers' Training College (1944), and then to the Queensland Teachers' College (1950), Kelvin Grove Teachers' College (1961), Kelvin Grove College of Teacher Education (1974), Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education (1976), Kelvin Grove Campus of the Brisbane College of Advanced Education (1982), and Kelvin Grove Campus of the Queensland University of Technology (1990). 
Fortunately the building remains the same and appears to be in good order - here are some more recent photographs.
 (Photo: BCC-T120-93313.42) 1993


The building is now part of the large QUT campus at Victoria Park Rd, Kelvin Grove.


  1. The second building was built originally as North Brisbane Intermediate school. At that time students from local primary schools transferred to this school for Grades 7 and 8. There would be still people around who went there; sorry I'm not sure when the idea of having a separate school for those grades was dropped. (despite once doing an assignment on the history of Edn in Qld for one of my teaching quals). I grew up in Newmarket and the first building you wrote about was a scrap metal merchant. Very dusty and untidy it seems as we passed it in the tram. I was once told that it was originally an inn...a stop on the way north with the Alderley Arms another stop on the way to Old Northern Rd. It's all just anecdotal though I'm afraid. My friend said that the kelvin Grove Inn was mentioned in the history of St Matthew's Church Grovely as the Governor of the time is supposed to have stayed overnight there on his way to perform the opening of the new church in rural Mitchelton.

    1. Thanks for that info Maria. Both of these buildings are very interesting.

      Here is what the BCC Heritage Register says about the second building:
      "This building was constructed in 1930 specifically to accommodate the Queensland Teachers’ College. Shortage of funds during the 1930s Depression led to the facility initially being used as the Queensland Government’s first north side intermediate school. The Queensland Teachers’ College began operations on site in 1942."

      I can see the first building as an inn back in the horse & buggy days. Doesn't it sound funny to think of needing two rest stops between Brisbane and Old Northern Road!

  2. Yes it seems such a short distance to us these days and I guess they may even have had to ford Enoggera Creek as the track neared Newmarket. That's interesting how the teachers' college building got used as a school then to start with...(it's certainly a magnificent building and QUT have done a great job of restoration inside it too). I guess the old, old teachers' college in George St must have been getting cramped hence a new building.

  3. The connections continue! I came across the name Kelvingrove in Scotland when I was having a look at the history of world fairs. Rather super buildings were created for International Exhibitions in the 1880s, in 1901 and then just before WW1. Probably the best known extant building is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

    1. I did an earlier piece on Dr Joseph Bancroft, the famous doctor, botanist and scientist, who built a house in this area of Brisbane c1868. He called the house Kelvin Grove Park after a similarly named place in Glasgow!

  4. In my Newmarket childhood, immediately after WWII, the Stone House had a tenant at the rear of the building who was a sweetmaker. Sometimes, when visiting my grandparents in Gebbie Street, we were given a threepenny bit and allowed to go and buy a twisted bag of boiled lollies. Fairy floss was sometimes available. Watching it being made before our eyes was a real treat!
    My grandfather grew up in the Bancroft residence in Bancroft Street, close to the park. I have a dim memory that the old inn was closer to this house.
    I attended North Brisbane Intermediate School in 1953. By then the big building illustrated had been given over to the Teacher Training College, and we primary students were shunted into some of the ex- army barracks that filled the area from the College back towards Gilchrist Avenue. In 1954, Newmarket State School gained some temporary additions so as to house Grades Seven and Eight and I moved back there to finish my Scholarship year.

    1. Hi Lesley
      Thanks for those reminiscences. Hope the post brought back some happy memories for you.


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