Before 2010 Winn Lane was nothing more than a disused space. The lane grew from an idea to create compact, affordable spaces for independent, first time retailers.
The lane is not without historical significance. It sits nestled between the historic Shannon’s building and Winn Street Warehouse. Built in 1924-25, both buildings are rare surviving examples of renowned architect E.P. Trewern’s commercial work in Brisbane. Reuben Shannon, the namesake of the building, was both the owner and the builder.
Designed initially with six ground floor shops and four first floor residential apartments, the plans for Shannon’s building changed and instead, a warehouse factory space was created on the first floor. From 1926 to 1940, furniture dealers, mechanics, used tyre dealers, stove-makers and Hutchinson and Son Printers were tenants. The upstairs space was leased to clothing manufacturers Harris and Co. from 1927-1933 and Olsens from 1937 and into the 1950s.
Today many of the original features of Shannon’s building remain, including lead light windows in the shop entrances, exterior tiling, decorative diaper-bond brick work within the facade, timber sash windows on the first floor and street awning.
Retaining some of its original features, the Winn Street Warehouse still has a winch and pulley hauling system intact on the first floor. Evidence of this can be seen in an opening in the front brick gable facade and a first floor receiving entrance that faces the road below.
In 1925 the warehouse was leased to the Motor Supplies Company, and later to the Peanut Products Merchants and Manufacturers Company who occupied it into the 1950s.
Opening in early 2015, and taking inspiration from history, Bakery Lane was named after the bakery that opened in 1865 and operated for over 40 years from this site on Ann Street.
Paying tribute to our Queensland heritage, the lane’s design translates the traditional architecture and materials of the Queenslander home to a commercial urban context. The original timber cladding on the facade was rescued from old Queenslanders destined for demolition.
When in Bakery Lane, you are standing amidst a historic group of 19th century buildings which are among the oldest intact commercial buildings in Brisbane.
Apothecaries Hall differs little in appearance since its construction circa 1882.
Moses Ward arrived from Devonshire, England in 1862. He first established his chemist and surgical dentist on this site in a smaller building before the existing Apothecaries Hall was constructed. This would explain why the date ‘1862’ appears on the existing building’s parapet.
Visit his apothecary and you could get imported drugs, surgical instruments and dental operations performed with instruments of the ‘most modern invention’.
James Fitzgibbon then took over in 1877 until 1888. A progressive man of his time, Fitzgibbon took his place in history as a man who championed the Pharmacy Act of 1884 that regulated the sale and distribution of drugs.
Charles Bragg started his bakery in 1865 after purchasing the land in 1861. The original bakery was in a wooden building at the rear of the existing building and was run by Charles’ son, Joseph and his wife Kate. Joseph was listed in a Pugh Almanac’s advertisement (1866) as a fancy bread and biscuit baker.
In 1883 Joseph died, leaving his widow to continue the business. It was during the boom time of the 1880s that Kate had the current two storey building constructed in 1885. The architect was George W. Campbell-Wilson who went on to design the Brunswick Hotel.
By 1888 the energetic Kate Bragg and five of her employees baked up to 700 loaves a day. A rare achievement for a woman of this period, Kate became a Master Baker and carried on the successful bakery and catering business from the Ann Street premises until the turn of the 20th century.
Over the years the occupants have changed. During 1891-96 the upper floor was leased to a tailor. Later in 1953 it passed on to G. E. Adams Pty Ltd, who were well-known Brisbane cake and pastry makers.
678 Ann Street
This rare surviving masonry commercial building (pre-1878) has been home to many small artisan businesses of early Brisbane. J. Bedson, a tobacconist, is the first known occupant of this building, recorded here during 1878-79. Making sure everything kept ticking, Alfred Littleford, a watchmaker, opened up his shop for almost a decade.
Prior to 1909, you could get your boots fixed by T Boot Co. and be tempted by the cakes and pastries in David Webster’s (of Webster and Sons Co.) bakery.
680 Ann Street
This masonry building with its semi-circular window dates from circa 1878. A timber lined ceiling divides the ground floor from an attic space above.
In the 1870s the population of the Valley grew and Ann Street became the area’s first commercial district. Over the years many shops manufactured and sold their goods directly from the premises. They included a draper, a tailor, a dressmaker and a boot maker.
California Lane opened in 2018 and was named after ‘The California Cafe’, one of Brisbane’s original cafes. Once occupying the corner, the California Cafe was owned by George Apostolos who opened its door from 1951 to 1992. George, with his trademark white apron, became known for his legendary breakfasts, mixed grills, and spaghetti
bolognaise, served on huge oval size plates.
With its high front curved facade, Carroll’s Corner has held a prominent position on the corner since 1925. Its exterior design features, such as the decorative dated plaque and plaster detailing above the six double and four single timber sash windows, reflect the economic success of the area in the 1920s. The California Cafe, with its colourful marble Laminex tables, linoleum floor and anodised metal milk shake containers, occupied the lower level corner for over forty years.
Back in 1897 James Carroll, a Brisbane produce merchant purchased the land on the corner of Brunswick and Windmell (now McLachlan Street) where a row of small shops and businesses were operating.
In 1925 the construction of a brick building was approved with successful architects Cavanagh and Cavanagh appointed to design. Designed with four ground floor shops and one first floor residence, the premises were leased to an auctioneer, a milliner, and a dressmaker with the upstairs apartment being leased to two nurses, one of which was Miss Carroll, perhaps the daughter of James Carroll.
The Rollinson building was built in 1925 at a time of growth, when Fortitude Valley was increasingly becoming a successful retail centre in Brisbane.
James Rollinson, a wealthy cattle station owner who owned Allandale in central north Queensland saw the great commercial potential and purchased the existing shops on the site from Fanny Isabella Dawes.
In 1925 approval was given for the construction of six ground floor brick shops. The building was designed by celebrated architectural firm Hall and Prentice who were responsible for many of Brisbane’s finest buildings including Brisbane City Hall and Tattersall’s Club.
By 1927 the shops had been leased to various small businesses including a fruiterer, a grocer, purveyor of small goods, a dressmaker and a watchmaker.