This snug little time capsule of the 1930s, tucked away in a cul de sac off Moray St, came about as a result of a timber mill fire in 1931, the timber mill having been built after the 1893 flood inundated an earlier lime works that occupied the spot.
In 1853 James Campbell (whose building material business still operates today) arrived from Scotland and between 1876-78 snapped up land in this vicinity and applied to build lime kilns on the adjacent river banks as part of his business which was to supply timber, cement and lime for building works.
As well as a timber mill and joinery works on Moray St two brick lime kilns were built below into the river embankment, both capable of burning limestone and fuel at 1000 degrees Celsius, which they would do for 3 days at a time. The ruins of these kilns can still be seen below Pine Lodge on Julius St from the river when passing on the Citycat.
A few years after the 1893 floods had swept through and devastated the lime works the Campbells sold out and the property remained vacant under various owners until 1924 when Julius Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld & Sons (a subsidiary of Sydney timber milling company Rosenfeld & Co) bought the site and resumed timber milling there.
This revival was short lived as in February 1931 a devastating fire ripped through the business, destroying it all. Instead of rebuilding Julius subdivided the site and in 1933 sold it off for residential development at a time when apartments had become fashionable.
The result was this highly intact cluster of interwar apartment blocks built for high end long term tenants in the fashionable styles of the time – Spanish Mission, Old English and Mediterranean. (The Spanish Mission style Ardrossan was designed by leading architects Chambers & Ford, who practiced in Brisbane between 1920 and 1951 and were responsible for many apartment blocks).
Features of the blocks included smoking balconies, built-ins in the kitchen and bedroom, a hot water system, refrigerator and telephone as well as garbage shutes to a basement incinerator. The more salubrious also featured an extra bedroom for the maid and a garage for the car.