1359 Sandgate Road was built in 1937 as one of a set of two masonry houses constructed adjacent to each other, the other being 33 Eton Street. Both houses were designed by Brisbane architect C. E. Plant. The house is a two storey rendered masonry building designed with Spanish Mission features, popular in this period. The houses were owned and built by Mrs Florence Rose, the widow of Charles Rose, the proprietor of the Imperial Picture Theatre on Sandgate Road, Nundah. The house is important as one of a set of two architecturally designed interwar masonry houses built as an alternative to the timber and tin homes constructed in the Nundah district in this period.
By the turn of the century the Nundah district had a population of 1675 people. Between these years many new houses were built in the area. The interwar period heralded major population and residential growth in the Nundah district. In 1921 the population in the area had reached 3870 and by 1931 was 15, 831. This can be attributed to the sale and subdivision of many of the remaining farms in the area.
In 1935 Mrs Florence Rose purchased a block of land on the corner of Eton Street and Sandgate Road. In January 1937 Mrs Rose was listed in the Register of New Buildings as applying to build two brick houses on Sandgate Road and Eton Street, Nundah. The builder was recorded as being B. J. Bartlett. The houses were estimated to cost £2000 and £1900; it is unclear which was the most expensive.
The Rose family were prominent residents in Nundah. As proprietors of the Imperial Picture Theatre on Sandgate Road, Charles and Florence Rose played a large role in the Nundah entertainment scene. Charles died in 1930. His Obituary stated “Mr Rose…identified himself with the various bodies formed to promote the progress of the Nundah district”.
On 26 October 1937 The Courier Mail published an article entitled “Multiple Home Building that Avoids Charge of “Mass Production” Advantages Illustrated Well by Houses at Nundah”. The article considered the benefits of building two homes under one contract thus benefitting the owner “by using in each the same medium of building”. The article drew on the example of the two newly built houses by Mrs Rose at Nundah. Each house was individually designed to face their respective streets. The architect, Clifford. E. Plant, “advised the erection of two double-storeyed brick houses but insisted that if the monotony of repetition were to be avoided each house was to be distinctive in character”. The article went on to state:
the harmony of the two houses is contained in line and colour. Added to the modern character of both is the Spanish Mission touch about the verandahs and entrance porches. In each case the exterior brick walls are finished in texture plaster, and red tile roofs are uniform. Though the similarity between the two houses is strong, yet a subtle difference stimulates interest.
At the time the house was considered luxurious. Internally the design included ‘modern’ conveniences such as separate electricity systems, internal toilets, and continuous hot water. The two-storey home was unusual in Nundah when it was built. In this period the majority of housing stock in the district was the traditional timber home commonly known as the ‘Queenslander’. 1359 Sandgate Road and 33 Eton Street were striking exceptions. The Spanish Mission style was popularised in the interwar period in Australia by the influence of Hollywood on popular culture. Many of the Hollywood movie stars’ homes were designed in the style and so became sought after and fashionable in home design in Australia. As a proprietor of the Imperial Picture Theatre in Nundah, Mrs Rose’s motivations for the design of the two houses may have been influenced both by the movies and the desire to build fashionably in Nundah. Mrs Rose lived in the house until 1954.
The house is a two storey rendered masonry building designed with Spanish Mission features located on a corner site. The house has a roughcast rendered finish with a terracotta tiled roof. Window fenestration generally consists of pairs or multi-casement leadlight windows set in a reveal with exposed face brick sills. The building includes hipped two-storeyed projections to each street elevation, with centrally placed upper casement windows. The Sandgate Road elevation includes a lower level steeply pitched tiled awning above casement windows and the Eton Street elevation has a separately roofed lower level window bay of five leadlight casement windows with a face brick plinth. The upper storey of the Sandgate road elevation features a side wing containing two sets of grouped arch openings with twisted columns and a face brick header course at the sill. This may originally have been an open upper level gallery. The lower storey includes a series of casement windows with flat awning projections above. The main entry is a separately steeply pitched roofed round arched loggia at with twisted columns. The loggia includes a solid rendered balustrade with a face brick header course. The rear of the building includes two attached ornamental buttresses with rounded tops. Internal features include an original silky-oak timber staircase with solid balustrade, timber joinery with leadlight infills and decorative plaster ceilings and cornices. The property includes a quarter height face brick fence of attached brick pillars with a wrought iron infill panels and gate in an art deco design.
Statement of significance
Relevant assessment criteria
This is a place of local heritage significance and meets one or more of the local heritage criteria under the Heritage planning scheme policy of the Brisbane City Plan 2014. It is significant because:
The place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of the city’s or local area’s cultural heritage
as one of a set of two intact and distinct architect designed two-storey masonry houses built in 1937 they are uncommon in the Nundah district.
The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class or classes of cultural places
as one of a set of two intact and distinct architect designed masonry homes that incorporate Spanish Mission features that were popular in the 1930s.
The place is important because of its aesthetic significance
as one of a set of two two-storey masonry interwar architect designed houses that incorporate Spanish Mission features and are situated on a prominent corner site in Nundah.
The Brisbane Courier, Thursday 19 June 1930, p 19
The Courier Mail, Tuesday 26 October 1937, p 12
Judy Gale Rechner, Brisbane House Styles 1880 to 1940: a guide to the affordable house, Brisbane: Brisbane History Group Studies No. 2, 1998
Historic Titles, Department of Environment and Resource Management
Queensland Post Office Directories
Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Survey Map
Queensland Electoral Rolls
Apperly, Richard et al. A pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1989
Johnston, Anna “‘God being, not in the bush’: The Nundah Mission (Qld) and Colonialism, Queensland Review, v. 4, no. 1, April, 1997, p. 71-80
From Pioneering Days: Nundah, Northgate, Virginia, Nundah and Districts Historical Society Inc, 2002
University of Queensland, Queensland Places, http://queenslandplaces.com.au/home
Booroodabin: A Sesquicentenary History of Breakfast Creek, Bowen Hills, Newstead and Teneriffe, 1823-2009, The Queensland Women’s Historical Association Inc, 2009
Citation prepared by — Brisbane City Council (page revised September 2020)