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Wenley House

  • 600128
  • 20-30 Market Street, Brisbane City


Also known as
Jewell's Building
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Retail, Wholesale, Services: Other - Retail, Wholesale, Services
3.8 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Marketing, retailing and service industries
Taylor, Thomas
Construction period
1864, Wenley House (built in 1864 as as Jewell's Building for general tenancies)
Historical period
1840s–1860s Mid-19th century


20-30 Market Street, Brisbane City
Brisbane City Council
-27.46946652, 153.029427


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

It is evidence of the former shipping and warehousing activity in the part of the city close to the Town Reach.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

Wenley House is a rare example of an extant 1860s warehouse in the Brisbane central business district.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

Wenley House is a fine, intact example of a commercial building designed to accommodate separate tenancies, with individual entries, roofs and loading gantries.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The building contributes to the streetscape of Market Street by virtue of its form, scale and detail.


This warehouse was erected in 1864 by M M Jewell, who came to Queensland in the early 1860s, after working as a builder in Sydney. In September 1863 he purchased this site at the corner of Charlotte and Market Streets, which was close to the wharves along the Town Reach.

Work began in January 1864 on the construction of what became known as Jewell's Building. Architect for the project was Thomas Taylor, a partner of local firm Furnival and Taylor. Taylor's design of six individual tenancies maximised potential return for Jewell. By July 1864 advertisements in the Queensland Daily Guardian advised space to let in the building, and various merchants and shipping agents took up leases.

Jewell and his wife died in 1869, leaving the property to their daughter Rachel. In 1874 Emanuel Barnett and Co, importers and warehousemen, obtained title which they held until 1919.

Subsequent to the decline of the shipping and warehousing activity in the area, the building has been used for a variety of purposes.


This 1864 commercial building in the Georgian manner, has a strong visual impact among highrise commercial developments. It is a two storeyed rendered brick building with basement and consists of six separate tenancies. It is symmetrically planned with each tenancy having its own entry with flanking windows, giving the facade a certain repetitive nature. The windows on the upper level are aligned with those below. A curved pediment is located over the two central tenancies at parapet level with the words 'WENLEY HOUSE' following the curve of the parapet and the date 1865 centred below. The entry doorways have keyed surrounds with grotesque faces located on the keystones. There is a continuous pronounced cornice below parapet level, and a continuous band as a sill to the upper level windows. The lower level windows have individual sills supported on moulded brackets.

The rear of the building is divided into symmetrical gable ended sections that have central openings originally intended for goods delivery and serviced by small overhead gantries. These openings are flanked by double-hung windows on both levels. The end bay at the rear has been extended across the laneway. The laneway and rear of the building are also visually important.

Internally, in the tenancies at each end, roof trusses are still visible. From the basement of some of the tenancies herring-bone strutting can be seen between the joists of the floors above. Some of the floor levels have been modified to suit the different tenancies.

Image gallery


Location of Wenley House within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022