|P.D. Townsville Hospital, 1875. Water colour, 18.5cm x 14cm, James Cook Univerity Library Special Collections Artworks.|
Many thanks to our Special Collections volunteers, Mrs Jean Dartnall and Dr Alan Dartnall, who generously donated their time and expertise to create these informative displays. Follow this series of blog posts based on the theme of “Architecture in Townsville”.
Buildings of the Past
The first buildings in Townsville were a wharf and a wool shed somewhere on the bank of Ross Creek. These and all the earliest buildings of Townsville would have been built of wood and perhaps iron and have long disappeared. Storm and cyclone damage, termites, floods, and fires destroyed these relatively flimsy structures.
During the 1880s more substantial buildings became possible as better building materials were available and as the wealth of the North Queensland gold fields flowed through Townsville encouraging investment in more permanent houses and business premises. A distinctive style of tropical architecture developed with houses on stumps surrounded by verandahs, and public buildings with porticos and high ceilings. Some of these buildings are still here for our enjoyment.
These more substantial buildings were not, however, entirely immune to accident and many of these in turn have disappeared. Sometimes these ‘disappeared’ buildings have left behind traces in the various forms such as paintings or photographs.
|Buchanan's Hotel, Dan Gleeson Album, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 2599.|
The Wintergarden Theatre was built in Sturt Street, Townsville, by Birch Carroll & Coyle and opened in 1927. It was well used both by local and visiting performers. In the early 1960s it was renovated. The current T150 display in the JCU Library features original film footage showing before and after images of the renovation. In 1969, the Wintergarden Theatre closed to make way for Queensland's first twin cinema.
Gibson-Wilde, Dorothy. Gateway to a Golden Land - Studies in North Queensland History, No. 7, 1984.
|Wintergarden Theatre, Townsville Albums, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 4588.|