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Coorparoo Fire Station (former)

  • 600569
  • 219 Cavendish Road, Coorparoo


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
11 June 2003
Emergency services / fire control: Fire brigade station
6.3 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Developing urban services and amenities
Atkinson & Conrad
Construction period
1935, Coorparoo Fire Station (former) (1935 - 1935)
Historical period
1919–1930s Interwar period


219 Cavendish Road, Coorparoo
Brisbane City Council
-27.49662786, 153.0602299


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

The Former Coorparoo Fire Station is an important example of the upgrading of fire stations undertaken in Brisbane suburbs by the Queensland Government through the Metropolitan Fire Board during the 1930s. The building was in continuous use as a fire station from 1935 to 1976 and is important as the first of and model for the group of fire stations designed and constructed during this upgrade.

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

The Former Coorparoo Fire Station is an important example of the architecture and planning of Brisbane suburban fire stations of the 1930s incorporating offices and engine room to the ground floor and a residence to the first floor. The interiors in both the operational and domestic areas reflect the operation of 1930s fire stations and are substantially intact.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The Former Coorparoo Fire Station has aesthetic and architectural significance as a former modest, functional civic building. Robust and austere, with its simple horizontal banding and use of readily available materials, it is easily identified in the streetscape. A landmark on Cavendish Road, the former fire station is sympathetic in scale, form and materials to its residential setting.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

The Former Coorparoo Fire Station is a fine example of the work of the architectural firm Atkinson and Conrad. Atkinson, through the firms he was associated with, sustained a long association with the Fire Services in Brisbane commencing in 1890 with his design for the new headquarters for the Brisbane Fire Brigade. His architectural practices were responsible for many of the fire stations throughout Brisbane. It is a proto-Modern building and elements evident in the design may have been influential in popularising their use.


A modest, functional civic building, the former Coorparoo Fire Station was the operational centre for fire services in Coorparoo from 1935 until 1976 when it was decommissioned and replaced by the Camp Hill Fire Station.

Between 1860 and 1868 there were five attempts to form a fire fighting service for Brisbane. Each brigade struggled to survive; unable to attract a viable subscription base and hampered by inadequate equipment and an unreliable water supply. The establishment of an effective fire service did not enjoy a high priority among civic and government leaders.

A fifth brigade, the City Volunteer Fire Brigade, was established in 1868. New rules provided for better financial control and balanced representation through the Fire Brigade Board with membership from the Brisbane Municipal Council and Insurance companies. These arrangements were consolidated by the Fire Brigades Act of 1881. Funding for fire services came from contributions by Queensland State Government, Brisbane Municipal Council insurance companies and subscriptions. In 1889, the first full-time firemen were employed and a permanent fire brigade was established. A new headquarters, designed by HW Atkinson, was completed on the corner of Ann and Edwards Streets, Brisbane (on a corner of the Normal School site) in 1890. This began a long association between the Fire Brigade and the various architectural firms with whom Atkinson was associated.

The firefighting needs of the city increased as Brisbane continued to develop. The Fire Brigades Act Amendment Act of 1902 allowed local authorities to establish independent boards and brigades. Brigades were formed in Nundah (1916), Hamilton (1917), Windsor (1917), Ithaca (1918), Toowong (1918), Taringa (1919), Wynnum (1921) and Sandgate (1923). These were voluntary bodies with only the superintendent and immediate assistants receiving a salary. The Fire Brigades Act of 1920 rationalised the network of fire brigades in Brisbane and suburbs, centralising control under the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board in 1921.

During the 1930s, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Board (funded by the State Government) was resisting old fire stations and erecting new stations as part of an upgrading of fire services under the Minister for Health and Home Affairs, Edward Hanlon. Under this program, a new purpose-built two-storey station was constructed to a design by HW Atkinson and AH Conrad on Cavendish Road, Coorparoo.

The department’s commitment to an efficient and modern approach to fire-fighting is clearly reinforced at Coorparoo Fire Station through its seminal use of a modern form that suggests European influence. The lack of ornament, simple form and corner windows (which provide good light to all four walls of rooms and a feeling of spaciousness) are demonstrative of the endeavour by the architectural profession in Queensland during this period to explore new forms and building construction methods. The design elements employed in this building were to become increasingly popular and developed into post-war timber vernacular.

Before the opening of this fire station, the suburbs of Coorparoo, Camp Hill and Holland Park had been vulnerable to severe damage from fires as the attendance times for units coming from the South Brisbane and Balmoral Fire Stations were high. The Coorparoo Fire Station served as a model for the group of fire stations constructed soon after in Nundah (1936) [QHR602119], Wynnum (1938) [QHR602143] and Hamilton (1941). A timber fire station was constructed at Yeronga (1934) [QHR602144] using the same planning principles but with a different planning arrangement to accommodate the peculiarities of that site.

The new building at Coorparoo housed the station facilities on the ground floor and a residence for the superintendent on the first floor. The ground floor accommodated a large central engine room, watchroom, dormitory, reaction room, kitchen and bathroom. The engine room was accessed via a concrete ramp from the driveway crossover in Cavendish Road. The rooms on the ground floor were a step above the engine room. A new floor was inserted in the engine room bringing it to the same level as the other rooms during the occupation by the health clinic. The residential quarters above, accommodated a kitchen, living and dining rooms, bathroom, three bedrooms and an open balcony. A cupboard near the bathroom accommodated the fireman’s pole which ran down into the station below. This combination of station and residence was common in fire stations and this plan was duplicated at Nundah, Wynnum and Hamilton.

Decommissioned in 1976 and sold to the Queensland Health Department in 1978, the former fire station operated as a maternal and child welfare clinic during the 1980s and early 1990s. The building changed hands in 1995 and operated for a period as a boarding house. A two-storey apartment block has been constructed to the rear of the block since 1995 and a single storey garage building has been erected at the rear of the fire station building. The fire station building is used for multi-unit residential dwelling purposes.


The former Coorparoo Fire Station is a two-storey, symmetrical timber framed building on low concrete stumps standing on the corner of Cavendish Road and Noela Street, Coorparoo. The building is clad with fibrous cement sheeting and horizontal timber batten cover strips to the first storey, has timber weatherboards to the lower storey and a terracotta tiled hipped roof. The front elevation is distinguished by an enclosed verandah balcony to the first floor which projects over the former engine room entrance below.

The building is reached by a small flight of timber stairs from the open concrete carpark to the rear. The stairs arrive at the ground floor landing. The rear door (ground floor) opens into a small corridor from which the bathroom, a bedroom and the large central living room open. The bathroom’s modern fixtures and finishes are not of cultural heritage significance. Additional bedrooms open off the living room and a passage way south of the living room connects to a single room timber framed gabled roof extension to the southwest corner. The ground floor interiors surveyed are lined with tongue and groove boarding and the ceilings are lined with fibrous cement sheeting and timber batten cover strips.

The first floor is reached by a set of timber stairs rising from the ground floor landing. The first floor accommodates a central living room accessible via an entry corridor. The living room opens onto an enclosed balcony which overlooks Cavendish Road. Other rooms open off the entrance corridor and from a corridor travelling southeast off the living room. The living room and the rooms in the north and east corners open by French doors onto the enclosed balcony. There are glazed fanlights above these door and side lights to those off the living room. The interiors are clad with tongue and groove boarding and the ceilings are lined with fibrous cement sheeting with timber batten cover strips. A number of rooms were unavailable for inspection in 2003 but it is known that a modern kitchen has been installed, replacing the original kitchen on the first floor. This modern kitchen fitout is not significant. The cupboard near the bathroom housing the firemen’s pole survives but the pole has been removed and a floor inserted. The early linen cupboard opposite the bathroom and a storage cupboard in the living room survive. A decorative timber archway with a prominent moulded keystone separates the living room from the corridor to the rooms to the southeast. The bathroom’s modern fixtures and finishes are not of cultural heritage significance.

Windows to the ground floor rooms are shaded externally by horizontal timber hoods supported on cantilevered timber brackets.

A single storey garage structure sits directly against the rear of the former fire station building and a concreted open car park separates this from a two-storey apartment building and garage at the rear of the block, none of which is cultural heritage significance. A concrete path from a gate entrance on Cavendish Road runs along the northwest side and another concrete path and a set of concrete stairs and ramp runs to the glazed front entrance in the centre of the building. A timber fence has been built on the site boundary and borders Cavendish Road and Noela Street.

Image gallery


Location of Coorparoo Fire Station (former) within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
14 November 2022
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