Our history on show to the public
IN the lead-up to the inaugural Sunshine Coast Open House next Saturday, we celebrate some of Nambour’s unique buildings with architectural and design history, as well as stories that makes the Sunshine Coast such an interesting place to live.
The landmark Club Hotel was originally the site of the Residential Hotel, built in 1911 as a timber saloon which provided accommodation only.
The hotel was re-named the Club Hotel in 1912 when a liquor licence was granted.
It was remodeled in the 1920s but destroyed by fire on January 7, 1938, in a blaze that decimated half of the town.
The present Club Hotel building was erected on the same site by December 1938.
It was extensively improved in the 1960s and renovated again in 2008 with its distinctive art-deco style still evident today.
The building has stood as an important part of Near North Coast history in the heritage sugar town.
It has been the gatekeeper to memories of the iconic cane train crossing the nearby main street where the tracks still remain today.
Fortunately, previous tenants had a mutual respect for the Club Hotel, operating their businesses in a way that honoured the rich history and iconic features and left much of the original construction and style in place.
The hotel now houses the Boarding Office suites: refurbished rooms revitalised into office space while still retaining character.
Gone is the liquor licence and the sound of drinkers raising their glasses in the public bar.
Today, this lovely old pub building houses an exceptional surfboard collection with an impressive array of rare and iconic boards lining the walls.
The building and surfboard collection opened with a complete renovation of the floor that had previously been vacant for more than 10 years.
The renovation pays homage to the building’s unique style and beauty and its past use. A lso on the “mustvisit” list for the Sunshine Coast Open House is St Joseph’s Church which stands proudly on the hill above Nambour at 177 Currie St.
St Joseph’s is the oldest Catholic church in the Sunshine Coast region and has a long and enduring history.
Prior to the current brick church, there was a little wooden church on the site, which had been built in 1890.
The brick church built in the 1950s has unique features including high ceilings and old wooden pews which provide a restful space for worship and reflection.
Many beautiful religious statues are found within this church.
Outside in the church grounds is a prayer grotto built in 1958, with statues of Mary and St Bernadette.
The grotto was built after St Joseph’s parish priest, Fr Sylvester Ryan, was inspired when visiting Lourdes.
A crowd of 1000 people attended the opening of the grotto, with a procession and singing of hymns.
At the front of the church’s facade is an elevated statue of St Joseph, for whom both church and school are named. Stained glass windows adorn the entrance.
Adjacent to St Joseph’s Church is St Joseph’s Catholic Convent, which was established by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.
Due to transport not being readily available, the school was originally a boarding school as well as a day school and was officially opened by Brisbane’s Archbishop Duhig in 1925.
The boarding school closed down during the 1970s as other new schools opened and transport improved in the region.
It was American-born Nambour pioneer and early businessman Daniel Currie who donated the splendid site of five acres (2ha) on which the school, church and presbytery stand.
This prime position is elevated above the business centre of Nambour.
Forever grateful to Catholic nuns who nursed him through serious illness when he worked on the Mississippi River, Mr Currie never forgot their help when
he needed it and paid it forward to the people of Nambour with the donation of this land.
During the Second World War, air raid trenches were dug in the grounds near the earlier church.
One story recalls that nuns and children were crouched in the trenches, saying the Rosary after the air raid siren sounded.
Three planes flew close and one of the boys recognised them as Australian RAAF planes and a great cheer went up from the children and the nuns.
In 2000, the church was refurbished, allowing seating to be reorganised for the needs of the current Catholic faith, including community celebrations, guest speakers, bands and choir celebrations.
It is a very different world to the days of the early 1890s when a little wooden church first appeared on the hill to accommodate the simple needs of the parish.
Another building opening to the public during the Sunshine Coast Open House is the Eddie De Vere building in Currie St.
During the 1970s, then chairman of Maroochy Shire Eddie De Vere commissioned the construction of a new local government precinct in Nambour.
The centre of local government, the Maroochy Shire Chambers was relocated to the corner of Bury and Currie Sts from Station Square on October 12, 1978, when the new building was officially opened by then prime minister Malcolm Fraser.
The new local government precinct was planned to include a 12-storey local government shire chambers and office building, public library and town square.
Council engaged James Birrell, who was a well-known architect and town planner specialising in public architecture.
His body of work prior to this commission included projects for the Brisbane City Council with buildings such as the Toowong Library, Centenary Pool Centre and Wickham Terrace Carpark.
Although the council chambers was designed to accommodate a total of 12 floors, five floors were built with the vision for future expansion over time.
The design of the council chambers facade has utilised a form and layout derived from the “Golden Mean”: an ancient Greek architecture ratio that references natural order.
This building is named after Cr De Vere, who was born in NSW in 1914 and moved to Nambour about 1920 when his father leased the Commercial Hotel.
This proved unsuccessful and within two years, the family bought a dairy farm at Dulong.
In 1934, Eddie De Vere moved to Kenilworth to run a dairy property: Camden Vale in the Brooloo Kenilworth Gap.
He bought the property towards the end of the Second World War.
Then on June 15, 1946, he married Phoebe Horsfall.
In 1951, Mr De Vere was elected to the Maroochy Shire Council and served as a councillor for Division l from 1951 until he resigned in 1967.
He relocated from Kenilworth to Bli Bli to take up cane farming and in 1967 was elected chairman of Maroochy Shire: a position he held until 1982.
Mr De Vere was awarded an OBE on December 31, 1980, for his services to the community.
These are just some of the buildings that will feature in the upcoming inaugural Sunshine Coast Open House.
Head along next Saturday to this free event which celebrates the region’s architecture and offers behind-the-scenes access to some of the Coast’s most iconic buildings.
■ Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.
ART DECO: The public bar of the Club Hotel in 1962.
The Club Hotel in Nambour, circa 1920.
St Joseph's Catholic Church, circa 1992.
OUSTANDING: The newly-built Maroochy Shire Council Chambers at the corner of Currie and Bury Sts, Nambour, in October 1978.
The unveiling of the foundation stone for the Maroochy Shire Council Chambers on June 5, 1977.