Westbourne St. 1930s Architecture

The Brisbane Courier-Mail Tuesday September 20th 1938


Horizontal Line effect

The new spirit animating construction of small flat building in Brisbane is illustrated in the accompanying picture.[…] It represents an idea new in Brisbane in the construction of fibro-cement.

It will be a single-story building taking advantage of a sloping site. The idea of height and mass will be gained by the stepping of the floor levels.[…]

New methods of using fibro-cement, now the vogue in Melbourne, are interesting. Sheets approximately two feet wide are made as long as required for the sections to be sheeted. Semi-circular moulding is fixed to the lower extremity of each sheet, which gives strong emphasis to horizontal lines.

fibro house september 1938-2.jpg

The common availability of fibro-cement facilitated the introduction of domestic architectural styles relatively new to Brisbane at the time. These styles contrasted strongly with common traditional wood construction.  It was not until the mid 1980s that the use of asbestos in such sheeting was discontinued in Australia.

Highgate hill flats 1938

The flats in 2015

The imposing fence seen in the photograph belonged to the extensive property associated with the imposing house known as “Tevenen” and later “Le Jardin”. The house is still standing although it is in very poor condition.The fence extends for around 150 metres down Westbourne Street. 

le jardin highgate hill

Trevenen/Le Jardin ca 1899 showing the imposing fence

The original property was broken up, as was that belonging to the house  “Tarong”, mentioned in a previous post, A Strawberry Afternoon Tea Highgate Hill 1905.   As a result of subsequent redevelopment, Westbourne Street has a row of 1930s and 40s buildings.

westbourne Street Highgate Hill

Westbourne Street in 2017

Another Westbourne Street development was featured in an article appearing in the Telegraph the following year.

The Telegraph Tuesday 14 November 1939

tele 1939 maisonette-1.jpg

THE maisonette, modern idea, for providing an owner’s home and a revenue producing apartment under the one roof to insure protection to property, is admirably illustrated in the accompanying illustrations; of the home of the Misses Stedman, in Westbourne Street, Highgate Hill.

The exterior is of particularly pleasing design in cream chamfer boards above a liberal foundation of facebrick work, raked out at the joints and giving a contrast between the light colour of the boards and also the multi-coloured roof of tiles. Another outstanding feature of the exterior is the number of angle-windows introducing light and ventilation at almost every corner of the structure and the wide overhang of the roof at the eaves.

Westbourne street Highgate Hill

The accommodation of the owners’ section includes five excellent bedrooms,  each liberally provided with windowspace and outlook, a large living-dining room, kitchen with complete builtin equipment and planned according to the routine of work, and bathroom in white and green and separate toilette.

The flat section of the maisonette includes a private entrance on to a porch from which access is given to a large living room. There are two spacious bedrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen and laundry accommodation.

Westbourne Street

This house is also still standing. Part of Le Jardin’s original fence mentioned above can  been seen in the photo below.

Westbourne Street Highgate Hill Maisonette 1939

The Maisonette in 2017

FIBRO-CEMENT FLAT CONSTRUCTION (1938, September 20). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 8 (Second Section.). Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38721408


For BETTER HOMES (1939, November 14). The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947), p. 14 (CITY FINAL LAST MINUTE NEWS). Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article184390021


2 thoughts on “Westbourne St. 1930s Architecture

  1. Pingback: A Strawberry Afternoon Tea Highgate Hill 1905 | Highgate Hill and Its History

  2. Pingback: The Hazelwood Estate, Highgate Hill 1885 | Highgate Hill and Its History

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