Our his­tory on show to the pub­lic

Sunshine Coast Daily - - YOUR WEEKEND -

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.

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