BROWN BUILDING
143 EAGLE STREET,
BRISBANE, QLD
USED BY THE MILITARY
DURING WWII

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State Library of Queensland - Image Number: 97398

Customs House 1930 with Thomas Brown & Sons Ltd building in the background

 


State Library of Queensland Image number: API-016-0001-0005

Ships tied up at the wharves in front of the Thomas Brown building, Brisbane, ca. 1898

 

The Headquarters Commandant section of the 5th Air Force Service Command was located in the Brown Building at 143 Eagle Street in Brisbane, Queensland in October 1943. It is believed that this was the Thomas Brown & Sons Ltd building which was located near the corner of Eagle Street and Queen Street, Brisbane. It had its own private wharf on the Brisbane River.

The first Eagle Street warehouse was built on the site by D. L. Brown & Co, a company owned by David Laughland Brown. This building was totally destroyed by fire in 1888, and new building was designed by architect, F. D. G. Stanley. It was considered most imposing and ornate for its time. It came complete with Italian Renaissance elevations on the Brisbane river side of the building and the Eagle Street side. David  Brown retired in 1898 and the company became a public company called Thomas Brown & Sons and was run by David Brown's nephews.

 

Day Room, Brown Barracks

 

Mess Hall, Brown Barracks

 

Hazel Walker told me:-

The Brown Building was on Eagle Street, near where Eagle St. meets with Queen Street, (just before where Wharf St comes down). There was more in that building than the barracks and mess hall. The Squadron headquarters was there. I think it was three storeys or more. Also the date given is 1943, but they were in it in early 1942, and maybe before that, because Eddie was living there when I met him, and went out with him once a week.

Jeanette Fitzgerald (nee (Muller) told me the following information on the Thomas Brown & Sons Ltd. building:-

Thomas Brown and Sons Ltd was not at the junction of Eagle and Queen Street. TB & S was about three lots down from Queen Street. On the upside of Browns towards Queen St., was another building they owned, (not named as far as I can remember but had a Circa date on it) which was their uniform and millinery factory and I think their ground floor was the grocery department with entry from the main building. I think I can find a photo of this. It is a narrow building but mostly shown only in photos from the rear.

Anyway, there was another building up from Browns which I think may have been a bank, and then you rounded a corner into Queen St and Petrie Bight where there was a little green space and a path down to the River where many day cruises left from and a little building with ‘Phillips Radio’ on the front, and then there was the Customs House.

Browns ‘grand’ main entry was opposite Eagle Lane which still exists.

Browns did have a grand entry in keeping with the building. (I have seen another photo somewhere purporting to be at the front of the Brown building and that is wrong, as the photo is taken from the rear.)

Bill Bentson had earlier told me that the Brown Building was the enlisted men's barracks in Fortitude Valley, in Brisbane, Queensland. They were on duty at Hq & Hq Squadron, 5th Air Force Service Command in the Valley.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Hazel Walker for her assistance with this web page.

I'd also like to thank Jeanette Fitzgerald (nee (Muller) for her assistance with this web page. Jeanette was assistant Payroll Mistress with Thomas Brown & Sons Ltd.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 18 December 2001

This page last updated 26 July 2017