This, one of the first block of flats to be built in Brisbane (in 1929), was the start of a trend that saw New Farm’s sprawling Victorian villas replaced with art deco and Spanish Mission flats. The architects of the English style rough cast rendered brick and red tiled block were Hall and Prentice, designers of the Brisbane City Hall.
Within are 26 flats which are lettered from A-Z rather than numbered, and consisting of a room with a bathroom and kitchen. Throughout the years the tenants have been a motley crew of pillars of society, drug dealers, gentry and artists and the building became the subject of a fascinating book (‘Avalon: Art & Life of an Apartment Building’ by Ricardo Felipe) about the characters who have left their stamp on the place.
One story goes that in the 1990’s when it was an artists co-op the corner below was where streetwalkers piled their trade. One of the artists had sculpted an angel which was silhouetted in his window and this was said to have given comfort to the working girls who saw it as a kind of guardian angel.
538 Brunswick St