Woolloongabba Houses

WILBAR FLATS , 52 Hawthorne Street

The building known as WILBAR FLATS (or Wilbar Apartments) is a good example of what can be done with an old, tired timber house in a good location.

Wilbar Apartments. (State Library of Queensland)

When the Wilson family home on the corner of Hawthorne and Fleurs Streets started to show its age in late 1939 the choice was clear: renovate, build something cost-effective or move. They chose the first option and employed architect Edward J.A. Weller to design a building that would take advantage of their excellent location, be visually attractive but also produce an income.

The outcome was impressive: A new brick building with distinctive curved front and containing two two-bedroom flats was attached to the original home which was turned into two modern flats.

“Simplicity is the keynote in external and internal design – it ensures relative agelessness. where the old building has been made to worthily take its place beside the modern addition, by the simple expedient of removing such remnants of over-decoration as remained after the fusion of the buildings”. (The Truth, 14 April 1940, page 28).

A destructive super-storm on 27 November 2014 which affected large areas of Woolloongabba required the building to be vacated for a while and major repairs carried out.

Multi-Gable house 1923

A typical Queensland high-set house in Woolloongabba in 1923, no location is available.

House near Kingfisher Creek 1950
House near Kingfisher Creek, Woolloongabba, 1950. (Brisbane City Council Archives)
House near Kingfisher Creek, Woolloongabba, 1950. (Brisbane City Council Archives)