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Tara House (Irish Club)

  • 600105
  • 179 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane City

General

Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Retail, wholesale, services: Warehouse
Themes
1.2 Peopling places: Migration from outside and within
3.8 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Marketing, retailing and service industries
8.3 Creating social and cultural institutions: Organisations and societies
Architect
Gailey, Richard
Construction period
1878–1928, Tara House (Irish Club) (1878c - 1928)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century
Style
Classicism

Location

Address
179 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane City
LGA
Brisbane City Council
Coordinates
-27.46992528, 153.02713493

Map

Street view

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Tara House is significant for its architectural quality, in particular the fine design, detailing, materials and workmanship of the interior, which were part of the 1927-28 renovations. Tara House is an example of a facade by Richard Gailey, who designed many city buildings in Brisbane in the 1880s, and is significant for its association with the Irish community in Brisbane and the Queensland Irish Association. It is also significant for its contribution to the streetscape in association with the adjoining Heckelmann's Building.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Tara House is significant for its architectural quality, in particular the fine design, detailing, materials and workmanship of the interior, which were part of the 1927-28 renovations.

Tara House is significant for its contribution to the streetscape in association with the adjoining Heckelmann's Building.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

Tara House is significant for its association with the Irish community in Brisbane and the Queensland Irish Association.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

Tara House is an example of a facade by Richard Gailey, who designed many city buildings in Brisbane in the 1880s.

History

The land at the site was bought by James Hunter, a boot manufacturer, in 1877 for £2250. Soon afterwards, Richard Gailey, architect, called for tenders for the construction of two Elizabeth Street stores for James Hunter. By 1879 Hunter was advertising his warehouses to let at £200 per annum. Hunter's investment in this property was part of a more general, growing interest in this warehousing quarter. Messrs Unmack & Heussler, produce merchants, politicians and prominent citizens, conducted their business at the building from 1879 to 1884. From 1884 to 1899, the building was owned by the wealthy London merchant Alexander McArthur and used as the Brisbane branch of his extensive warehousing firm. The new owner in 1899 was James Cowlishaw, architect, newspaper proprietor, company director and politician. During Cowlishaw's time various importers, warehousing firms and manufacturers agents were tenants. Cowlishaw financed the Queensland Irish Association's (QIA) purchase of the building in 1919 by a mortgage of £8000 (purchase price was £11 000). The building has been in the hands of the QIA continuously since that time. The success of the QIA reflects the significance of Queensland's Irish population from the start of free settlement. In the 1860s, 18% of the Queensland population was Irish-born.

Tara House has undergone regular alterations and maintenance to the interior - mostly provision of services and fittings but major structural and interior work was carried out on the building in 1927-28 - a joint project of the well-known architectural firms Cavanagh & Cavanagh and R Coutts & Son. The internal alterations were designed to highlight the Irish association with the building, an association which has extended over more than seventy years. The building was named Tara House in an official ceremony on 28 June 1948.

Description

Tara House is situated in a section of Elizabeth Street previously used as a warehousing precinct. It is located close to other remnants of the warehouse era, notably the adjacent Heckelmann Building (600104) and the present Kings Car Park. Current use of the area is for shops and offices.

Tara House is a two-storey, cement-rendered brick building with basement of the late 1870s, with simple classical detailing, including an arcaded upper level crowned by an entablature and balustraded parapet. The arcade is composed of two symmetrical sections on either side of a central pilaster. Each section contains five semi-circular arched openings, the central one of which is flanked by pilasters and topped, above the parapet, by a triangular pediment. The central pilaster and the pilasters at either end of the facade are each crowned by an urn above the parapet.

Extensive alterations to the building in 1927-28 saw the demolition of the original back wall and the addition of a reinforced concrete and steel extension. At the same time the interior of the first floor was remodelled. A panelled, arched ceiling to the rear half of this floor is decorated in modelled fibrous plaster with angels, harps and Australian floral motifs in gold relief. The walls are panelled in silky oak; the floor is hardwood. Lead light panels in the ceiling and one end wall depict the four counties of Ireland and the Queensland coat of arms, while other leadlight windows are located in the north-east side wall.

The original ground floor facade and interior finishes have been removed. The upper floor interior finishes of the 1927-28 alterations are intact despite the intrusion of a bar and kitchen and some suspended ceilings. The basement has been extensively refurbished.

Image gallery

Location

Location of Tara House (Irish Club) within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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