29-33 Berry Street, Spring Hill. Brisbane, Queensland

I became aware of this small but tall row of unnamed terrace houses when Today Tonight did a story on them. Hidden in a small lane off Wickham Terrace, they are currently owned by Astor Hotel Apartments and hired out as budget accommodation. According to the segment, some guests were not happy with their apparent poor interior condition.

Photo by Michael Gardner. All rights reserved. Used with permission

Terrace Houses: 29-33 Berry Street, Spring Hill. Brisbane, Queensland

Multi-storey Victorian terraces are extremely rare in Brisbane (these may indeed be the few existing) and this style, with front gables, attics and basement levels is even rarer. The style bears similarities to some inner Sydney rows. One of the most interesting architectural features is the attic level roofscape of the houses features a prominent timber bargeboard with crossbeam and single window. Another interesting feature is the mix of verandah decoration. While both of the two storey verandahs on each house feature a modest vertical panel balustrade, the upper storey has iron lacework including a modest fringe and round brackets with fashioned timber posts but in contrast the first storey features a deep arched lattice screen supported by classical cast iron corinthian capital posts. The verandah roof is skillion style and framed on each side by prominent party walls adorned with acanthus scroll corbels at each floor level. The whole facade is rendered.

Entry to the houses is via a rising elevated stair with small courtyards leading to basement levels framed by a solid rendered fence with pyramid posts and cast iron palisade. The doors and halls are paired on the 33 and 31, while 29 is set apart but shares a chimney with 31 indicating that the row may always have been short.

I’m not sure of the date or architect, but I’d guess somewhere between 1887 and 1889.

The terraces are presumably included in the Brisbane City Council local heritage register (RP214091) which also appears to cover nearby verandah facades integrated into the hotel buildings.1

Many thanks to Michael for the photo and further information.

4 Responses to “29-33 Berry Street, Spring Hill. Brisbane, Queensland”

  • I had always thought these were reproductions built in the 60s or 70s, possibly using some recycled materials e.g. balustrade. Is there convincing evidence that they’re actually “old”?

  • admin:

    Thanks for posting Alan, in my subsequent searches I found this photo from the Brisbane City Council which rules out being reproductions.

    This pic shows them clearly extant and looking old in 1959:
    http://elibcat.library.brisbane.qld.gov.au/uhtbin/cgisirsi/20100705065122/SIRSI/0/520/BCC-B54-12500

    Their interesting design is evident then, however as shown in the old image their upper balconies had been closed in (something common in the 40s) and their lower balconies shaded with awnings. The original little side door visible and the demolition/construction may even be an indication that it was once part of a larger row of terrace like speculative flats (fairly common in these parts of inner Brisbane). As I haven’t yet found any earlier photos it is unclear what their original facade may have looked like.

  • Thanks, glad to hear it. Do you know of, or have an inventory of, all extant terraces in Brisbane? As someone who grew up there I couldn’t count all the parties I went to in the terraces on Coronation Drive and Petrie Tce (two blocks IIRC) when I was a student.

  • admin:

    Keep an eye on:
    http://www.australianterrace.com/terraced-houses-in/queensland/brisbane/

    More will be added over time. Elsewhere there is still some research to be done but we have almost all the Brisbane terraces covered.

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