‘Pronger House’ 45 Channon St, Gympie QLD

A favourite MCM subset of ours, and rather little known, is the regional Australian success who knew a thing or two about progressive design, had the finances and the connections to create something special to revel in his achievements. ‘Pronger House’ is such an example. Commissioned by local window and joinery manufacturer, Viv Pronger. this striking home in Gympie, bearing trademarks of his own industry, still holds the essence of progress and dynamism which made this local family a prominent fixture. Compleated c.1961* and albeit having undergone some not so sympathetic changes, the word on the ground is that it’s still choc-a-block with unusual and gorgeous Modernist swing which lends itself easily to a complete refurb – celebrating past glory and pumping it back into the future once more. Get out on that patio kids!

* Architects: Prangley and Crofts

38 Castile St, Indooroopilly QLD

Sorry Queenslanders we’re trying to list some current MCM goodness for you, but in the meantime check out this incredible monolith we’ve been alerted to sadly little too late as it sold in July. We are equal parts in awe of its commanding street presence, internal features (timber, joinery, tile and double sided fireplace for starters) and worried about its future. All we can do is cross our fingers and hope it has landed in the right hands………..We post it here as testament to remarkable, local design and as a meagre form of digital preservation.

56 Marriott St, Coorparoo QLD

Causing a similar wave of nostalgia and glee one may feel when passed by a pristine mint -green Holden station wagon, this 1960s family rambler is cut from the same cultural cloth. Though pedestrian in its pitched tiled roof and relatively straight forward design, the interiors are a Tardis of time, textures and architectural tone. Lino lovers (and others – ooh that stacked fireplace!) will be swooning at this veritable set piece of domestic life which stands timeless in its livability with the only enhancements desired perhaps a meagre and measured refurbish and a pool out back to complete the Brissy scene. On nearly half an acre of grounds, we don’t like it’s chances to pull through, but as always, we’ll wait and see.  

128 Weekes Rd, Moggill QLD

We’ve hit the Freaky Friday jackpot today with not only an incredible, architect designed, enormous Mid-Century Modernist, riverside residence dating from the late 1950s, but one which is in such a dilapidated state as to render itself a Sam Rami set (right down to the rusted out cars which we supposed were snapped for……ambience?). That said, this building’s beautiful formalist details, use of engineered concrete and the pine needle landscape could just as easily double as the abaondoned summer palace of a cold war Stavka too. In any case, no one is going to gloss over the fact that the entire property inside and out, requires a complete restoration and rebuild, though but we believe (as many of you will too) that there is a rare Modern magic to this place and once you’ve cleared the ghosts away it could be a commanding compound for any contemporary Brisbane baron. 

Local QLD architecture peeps –  we’d love you to weigh in and tell us all – what/who is the story here?

‘Hertle House’ 25 Rodway Cres, Rangeville QLD

We are learning new things every day here at MA, and today it’s a name – Karl Hertle. Clearly a legend in this unlikely architectural spot of inland Queensland, Hertle is (was?) a builder from days when that meant something. Judging by this jawdropping residence he and his crew executed a level of pride, skill and craftsmanship which would make a modern day homebuilder weep*. Not surprisingly this premiere example of all these attributes is this fellow’s own family home, so there is no expense spared, no material too precious and no detail too small to be finished with aplomb, And my, how it remains after half a century, a shining testament to all involved and those who have cared for it and lived in it. A rare and precious jewel of an MCM home in the sunbeaten, cicada shrilling hills. 

*Our ongoing goal here at MA will be to locate and promote on our ROLODEX any domestic builders who, within their business and ethos, are reviving this lost art of expertise and craft. Any builders out there who laments the state of our building industry and seeks to rise above this mire – get in touch with us today!

140 Alastair St, Lota QLD

Even the agent can see this one is special. For all the down-at-heel-felafel-in-hand-QLD-rental presentation, the ping of ambitious, progressive and stright up cool architecture strikes with immediacy for those with the eye for it. Thought the architect remains a mystery at this stage (though we wouldn’t be surprised if it was a practitioner of note) we are enthralled by the potential of this home with unmolested bones and wild garden. That backyard view of squared built form, giant Monsteria (and kegs!) is simply killing us, to say nothing of the breeze-block carport with the main build floating directly above in the best tradition of  Mid-Century Modernist design for a sloped residential block. There is a lot here to rescue and enhance though similarly a lot which could be ruined or even destroyed in the wrong hands. Let us all join hands and pray for the former.

‘Corbould House’ – What’s Going On?

A particular building has been brought to our attention and refuses to leave our heads so we feel it’s our Modernist Australian duty to bring it to yours. 
The subject: ‘Corbould House’, Surfers Paradise, (c.1958) an architectural waterfront wonder which has stood seemingly unchanged all this time. Not for sale but possibly uninhabited.
We suppose the nature of the Gold Coast as a place built upon care-free holiday-making, is home to a transitory younger population and a more disengaged elderly one, which, in a heritage context that requires squeaky wheels and observant busybodies to cite that which is worth worth saving, makes for a very dour situation. This premier example, a Gropious-like work of highly regarded architect Edwin Hayes (of notable Mid-Century firm Hayes and Scott)  is, like so many now gone, simply falling under the radar.
Although loved and photographed by a few local architects and other nerds, initial inquries with the City Architects Office suggest nada in terms of cultural or architectural recognition (other than a scant mention on a few local surveys). Without treading on toes we believe that this, if any building in the area, deserves not only a good hard look by officialdom but at least some recommendations for possible heritage preservation. Anyone can make a submission on this front, and of course we particularly like to light a fire under the locals who, no doubt, are used to seeing landmark after local landmark fall into the abyss.

It is all very well to ‘like’ and post a fire/thumbsup/drool/hearteyes emoji but we’d remind you all that once the fencing is up and the bulldozers move in, it’s pretty much a lost cause and no amount of ranting online will reverse any deals and decisions already done. Know that only ol’fashioned proactivity and making yourself heard to council at the very least, is the way the best of our local Mid-Century heritage can and will be preserved.

And so it transpires as we feared. We despondently report that The Gold Coast, QLD reasserts its position as the most destructive locale in the country. A place of no memory nor celebrated built legacy to speak of, with the complete obliteration of this wonderful and rare Modernist home.


Corbould House. Edwin Hays. Built 1956. Demolished 2019. 

‘Sunset Strip Motel’ 199-203 Boundary St, Coolangatta QLD

In our continuing tradition of motel alerts comes this textbook example of Mid-Century-on-the-road family accommodation now sadly facing demise. Much like earlier options we have listed, we believe (perhaps more than any other) that this classic U-shaped motel, in a beach-tourism mecca, centered around a large pool courtyard with incalculable retro charm has the chops to be reborn with sympathy and celebration. One only has to look at accommodation sensations like the stunning Beverley Laurel Motor Inn in Los Angeles or The Burrard in Vancouver to see just how a considered rebirth of a central motel can add intangible cool and immediate desirability to solid Mid-Century foundations, which this particular motel has in spades (starting with their very name ffs!). We’d assure anyone with the backing and nous who gives Sunset Strip Motel a bold and Modern flavored rebirth, perhaps with an Aussie twist (A welcome pack of twisties and XXXX 6-pack in each room maybe?) would see the hipsters and the nostalgic of all ages come running from across the country. C’mon Southern Queensland – show us you can be more than bland 90s interiors and 4 star aspirations!*

*Brisbane’s Hotel Callie a singular exception here.

Thanks to Alistair of Dr Retro Housecalls for the historical images and Christ Osborne at Brisbane Modern for the current day ones (check our Rolodex for the links to both!), it’s even better than we imagined!

‘Davidson House’ 8 Ardell St, Kenmore QLD

Nothing so neat as this straight-as-they-come beauty in the Brisbane mecca of MCM of Kenmore. A picture of Mid-Century purity with minimal meddling in the past (perhaps a more suitable kitchen in time?) this is an excellent shot at a cool and clean Mod home with gorgeous lines and elemental character therein.

**Update** This one (with thanks to our own Rolodex culture site MCDA & and its admin Steven Coverdale) has been revealed to be none other than the work of MCM sunshine god – John Dalton reportedly built c.1965 for a Mr U.l.Davidson. The most recent work from this legendary architect we showcased was the incredible  ‘Roberts House’ . Both of these homes remaining examples of Dalton’s accomplished and elegant design ethos, though this home today is much more intact. 

1 Short St, Burleigh Heads QLD

The MCM arms race intensifies with Queensland now stepping up and slapping this down. A deceased estate from a family who clearly and rightfully adored this home since (building?) moving into it in 1965, this residence must be a long admired landmark of anyone traipsing the golden beaches below. In an unparalleled position where subtropical greenery slopes to meet the sweeping coastline, the view of Surfer’s Paradise shimmering through every window and the pared back lines of classic Modernist architecture stand sturdy and uniform as the day it they were constructed, a time we must remember, before most people even had television sets. The sunshine hits.