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Australian Meat Industry Employees Union (Queensland Branch)

Source: Go to the Queensland Heritage Register for more information.
Identifier: 600890
Location: 101-111 Flinders Street, TOWNSVILLE
State: QLD
Statement of
Built and occupied by the Bank of New South Wales from 1887-1935, the building is associated with the establishment of the presence of the bank in Townsville and the growth of Townsville as a major port in North Queensland. It is typical of bank buildings of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a ground floor plan banking chamber and a second floor residence for the manager. The building is associated with the Royal Australian Corps of Signals who occupied it between 1941-1948. The announcement of the end of WWII first reached North Queensland through this facility. Purchased by the AMIEU in 1941, and occupied by them in 1948, the building is significant for its long association with the Union, over 50 years, and the substantial role that the Union played, in connection with other organisations such as the Ross River Meatworks, in the social and economic framework of Townsville. The building is associated with a number of other Unions, with offices being occupied at various times by the Seamen's Union, the Communist Party and the Queensland Trades and Labour Council (Townsville Branch). Whilst in this building, these organisations were involved in several industrial disputes, including the Mount Isa Mines Strike of 1964-5, in which the Trades and Labour Council played a key role. The exterior of the Former Bank of New South Wales remains remarkably intact. The street facades form a major contribution to the streetscape of the Flinders Street East area, which retains many historical commercial buildings. The facade of the building along Wickham Street also contributes to the linking of this area with the historical government precinct of lower Melton Hill. The intersection of Flinders and Wickham Street has a prominent historical building on each of its four corners. The interior of the building is substantially unaltered since WWII. It is of extremely high quality in its design, detailing and finishes. It is one of the few intact ground floor commercial interiors of all the historical buildings of Flinders Street East. The upper level retains its layout as a manager's residence, and includes a white marble fireplace and timber joinery. The building was probably designed by Sydney architect John Smedley, and constructed by Townsville builder Denis Kelleher under the supervision of Townsville architect WM Eyre and his partner FDG Stanley of Brisbane. Eyre's firm, Eyre and Munro, were later responsible for other Bank of NSW branches including Georgetown, Winton, Cairns and Charters Towers.
Description: The Australian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) building is a two-storeyed stuccoed masonry structure on the corner of Flinders Street East and Wickham Street, Townsville. With the Tattersalls Hotel (600916), the Queensland Insurance Building (600909) and the Burns Philp and Company Ltd building (600914), it forms a group of late-19th century commercial buildings on the four corners of this intersection. Flinders Street East also retains many other late-19th century commercial masonry buildings. The principle facades of the AMIEU building are set on the street alignments of Flinders and Wickham Streets, and joined by a curved bay at the street corner. The facades are asymmetrical, and are divided by pilasters and by a horizontal moulded string course between the levels. In each bay are sets of windows, mostly double hung but some louvres and fixed lights to the curved bay at the corner, all with external moulded architraves,. The simple squared parapet has a moulded and bracketed cornice above the windows, and a higher decorative parapet with 'Bank of NSW' in relief above the main Flinders Street entrance. This entrance is emphasised by moulded pilasters to either side, decorative plasterwork and a segmented arch over the doorway. Behind the parapet is a hipped roof with moulded chimneys and ventilators. The facades not facing the street have little decoration, apart from the two-storeyed verandah to the north-eastern end of the building. The upper level of the verandah, now enclosed with louvres and fibro, has segmental arched openings and cast iron balustrade, and the lower level has moulded semi-circular archways infilled with timber and masonry. Through the Flinders Street entry doors is a decorative timber vestibule, with timber and glass panelled walls and doors, which leads to the former banking chamber. The former chamber features highly decorative pressed metal ceilings, moulded architraves and dados, and two central decorative cast iron columns. It also has a concrete safe which retains its safe door and some timber shelving, and a curious window opening to the stair landing reputedly for managers to supervise their staff from above. From Wickham Street is a second entrance lobby, and vestibule with tessellated tiles. The timber stair features substantial newels, twisted balusters, and boarding to the underside. From the mid landing is the window opening to the former chamber, and a doorway to a small room and stair to the exterior. The remainder of the Ground Floor includes several former offices between the chamber and the stair, and a series of small service rooms to the rear. Projecting from the north-western corner of the building is a single-storey wing, with three small former services rooms opening onto a common verandah. This wing has details consistent with the two-storey part of the building. The First Floor has a central corridor with rooms opening to either side. The corridor is divided by a pedimented and panelled partition with a pair of glazed French doors, and by an adjacent fibro partition. The First Floor interior features moulded timber skirtings and architraves, some panelled doors with toplights, some double hung windows, and decorative metal ceilings and cornices. At the top of the main stair is a hall, divided by a square arch with panelled architraves, and by a fibro partition with a small hatch. To the north-eastern end of this level is a verandah enclosed with louvres and fibro sheet, but with the cast iron balustrade still visible from the exterior. At the north-western corner of the site is a rectangular concrete building, mostly covered with vines and other vegetation. It is a single room, with access from a covered entrance porch. To the western end of the site is the garage, reputedly the former stables, which is constructed of brick with a corrugated iron skillion roof, double-hung windows and boarded doors. Access to the western yard is through a rendered masonry fence on the Flinders Street alignment. Along the north-eastern boundary is a face brick fence, with a curved coping, engaged piers and recessed panels.

Report produced : 20/4/2004
AHPI URL : http://www.heritage.gov.au/ahpi/search.html