Skip links and keyboard navigation

Smellie's Building

Place Details
Place ID 600097
Registration Type State Heritage
Place Name Smellie's Building
Place Classification Built
Place Category Retail, Wholesale, Services
Place Type Warehouse
Themes 3 Developing secondary and tertiary industries / 3.4 Developing economic links outside Queensland
Register Entry Date 21/10/1992

Address 32 Edward Street
Post Code 4000

Cultural Heritage Significance
Principal Period
of Significance
1895-1896 (Fabric), 1896-1945 (Historical)
Criterion A Smellie's Building is part of a surviving group of industrial buildings and warehouses in lower Edward Street and Alice Street, demonstrating the evolution of Frog's Hollow as the principal warehousing and light-industrial sector of Brisbane's central business district, which was sustained from the second half of the 19th century through to the early decades of the 20th century.
Criterion D Smellie's Building is significant as an accomplished and intact example of an 1890s warehouse with a finely detailed polychrome brick facade. The building is a good example of the industrial work of well-respected Brisbane architect, CW Chambers.
Criterion E Smellie's Building is significant for its contribution to the Edward Street streetscape in association with the Port Office [600088], Old Mineral House [600092], the Port Office Hotel [600098] and the Naval Offices [600101].
Criterion H Smellie's Building is significant for its association with the firm of Smellie & Co, a prominent Queensland importing, engineering and iron founding firm.

History This warehouse was constructed in 1895-96 for the importing firm Smellie & Co. RR Smellie & Co was established in the 1860s as a foundry and engineering works in Alice Street. Like others in the area, the firm produced cast iron products for the building industry, and equipment for steamships and locomotives. In the 1880s, RR Smellie & Co altered the orientation of its business, concentrating on importing machinery, implements, and general hardware supplies. In 1882, the company became known as Smellie & Co. Smellie's premises in Alice Street proved to be too small as the business prospered in the 1880s. An additional warehouse was constructed further along Alice Street circa 1884. A three storeyed warehouse (QHR 600092) designed by Richard Gailey was constructed in 1888 on the corner of Edward and Alice Streets. This expansion of warehouse space was not sufficient to accommodate the ever-increasing trade of Smellie & Co, and a new bulk warehouse was constructed nearby in Edward Street in 1895-96. The architect for the building was Claude William Chambers. From this warehouse Smellie & Co stocked a diverse range of hardware, engineering requisites, and farming equipment. The company remained a prominent merchandising firm in Queensland until the 1930s when the economic depression adversely affected its business. During this period it began leasing its various properties in this area to the Department of Public Works. The Queensland government acquired this property in 1945, along with a number of buildings owned by Smellie & Co. In 1946 Smellie & Co went into voluntary liquidation. The Department of Public Works has used this building as storage, and as a car park, among other uses.

Description This brick warehouse, located at the river end of Edward Street, internally has a large timber structure incorporating a mezzanine level with a central opening. The main facade, of tuck-pointed red brick, reflects the structural bays of the building with a large central arched opening, and slightly smaller flanking arches. The three bays are defined by brick pilasters which extend through to the parapet. The windows in the upper portions of each bay have narrow timber glazing bars. The central bay contains a roller shutter door while the bay on the eastern end contains a timber door with a carved timber baroque pediment. The base of the building creates a podium consisting of darker coloured brick on a porphyry plinth stone with an upper section having a Greek key pattern in render. The parapet is divided by raised elements which continue the line of the pilasters. Each of these is topped by a small classical pediment. The central portion of the parapet is raised and comes to a shallow peak with a flag pole behind. The name 'SMELLIE & CO' appears prominently in render above the central bay. The date '1895' and the words 'HARDWARE AND MACHINERY' also appear on the main facade. The clerestory, on each side of the central king post trussed roof, provides natural light to both levels through the central mezzanine opening. Large timber beams and columns support both the mezzanine level and the roof. The mezzanine flooring is supported on closely spaced timber joists separated by herring-bone strutting.

Element Name Smellie's Building
Designer Name Chambers, Claude William
Design Period 1870s - 1890s Late 19th century
Construction Period 1895 - 1896
Construction Method Load-bearing brick
Fabric (Exterior Structure) Brick

Images and Maps
Maps Create a Web Map

Information about places in the Queensland Heritage Register is maintained by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992. Information available here is only part of the full Register entry and should not be taken as an official entry. Absence does not mean a particular place is not in the Register.

Certified copies of the full entries in the Register are available for a fee.

You can also search the full Register for a fee to find out if a place or parcel of land is listed or otherwise affected by the Act.

Last updated: 15 March 2013

Heritage Search Options