The stories behind 10 of Bundy’s most iconic buildings

BUNDABERG has no shortage of wonderful and amazing buildings.

Some of them are filled with fascinating historical facts.

We've listed off 10 of the buildings here: 

ICONIC BUILDING: St Johns Lutheran Church on George St Bundaberg. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail
ICONIC BUILDING: St Johns Lutheran Church on George St Bundaberg. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail Paul Donaldson

1. St John's Luteran Church

According to the Organ Historical Trust of Australia, the church was dedicated on April 3, 1960.

It's creative design was developed by Austrian architect Karl Langer, who was a fan of avant-garde architecture.

He also designed the chapel at St Peter's Lutheran College in Brisbane and many other iconic buildings across Queensland.

Langer had a taste for the unusual, and had been an early campaigner for a creative use of the Brisbane River and a Queen St mall.

ICONIC BUILDING: Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Woongarra St Bundaberg. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail
ICONIC BUILDING: Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Woongarra St Bundaberg. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail Paul Donaldson

2. Holy Rosary Catholic Church

The first Catholic Church, opened in 1875, was a wooden structure and named the Church of St Mary of the Holy Rosary.

Bundaberg had only recently become part of the Gayndah-Mt Perry parish and Father Constantine Rossolini was appointed as the parish priest.

The building was, nonetheless, the first church constructed in Bundaberg - before this time (and for some denominations, afterwards) a single service was held for all denominations in the first School of Arts building. Signalling the growing importance of Bundaberg, Rossolini moved to the town in 1876 and his residence was erected on the grounds of the church. By the 1880s, the original church was too small for the parish's needs, further indicating the growth of the town.

Father Rossolini was determined that a new church building should reflect the significance of the town and its Catholic community.

The Holy Rosary Church is constructed on the site of the first Catholic Church in Bundaberg.

It was completed in 1888 and built to the design of the former colonial architect, FDG Stanley. Stanley was one of the most prolific and well-known architects practicing in Queensland in the nineteenth century.

The building was extended in 1926 with the addition of transepts and a sanctuary.

The extensions were designed by the prominent Bundaberg architect, FH Faircloth.

The brick walls of the 1888 building remained exposed, but it is believed they were plastered at the time of the 1926 extensions.

Major renovations were completed in 1989, prompted by a water leak that was affecting the foundations of the church.

Father Rossolini died in 1894 and he is buried in the grounds of the church.

It was rumoured that he was buried under the church and care was taken during the 1989 renovations in case the rumour was true (it does not appear that it was).

Another early Church priest, Reverend Father O'Brien, was instrumental in the establishment of the first church in the early 1870s and he died suddenly in Father Rossolini's house, and he was also buried in the church grounds, although his remains were later removed to Maryborough.

The church is designed in neo classical style with Greek and Roman influences.

ICONIC BUILDING: Parkvue on the Corner of Bourbong and Maryborough Streets. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail
ICONIC BUILDING: Parkvue on the Corner of Bourbong and Maryborough Streets. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail Paul Donaldson

3. Parkvue Building

The Parkvue building is as mysterious as it is beautiful, with its breathtaking art deco design.

One historical article claims the building appeared in 1959 along with a new facade on the fire station (located where the council building is today).

A photo claiming to show the Parkvue Building in 1933.
A photo claiming to show the Parkvue Building in 1933.

However, other photos claim to show the building as early as January 1933.

The building is a little mysterious, so if you happen to know its story, email

Whale Building.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
Whale Building.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

4. Whale wall building

The so-called 'Whaling Wall' was painted by the notable international artist, Wyland. Wyland is famous for his 'Whaling Walls' - he painted his first at Laguna Beach, California, in 1981.

He received such a response to the painting that he determined to paint 100 murals around the world over a 30 year period. The Bundaberg mural was Wyland's 23rd and his first in Australia (the only other Wyland mural in Australia is located in Sydney, painted directly after the Bundaberg mural). The mural is 100m by 80m.

Wyland was asked by the Bundaberg District Tourism and Development Board to paint one of his murals in Bundaberg after John Neilson, from the Board, saw the artist's work in Hawaii.

Bundaberg was in the process of developing whale tourism and Nielson thought a similar mural would highlight the beauty of whales, as well as 'environmental awareness, tourism, aesthetics, and civic pride'. Wyland was contacted during Expo '88 in Brisbane; negotiations began in 1989 and Wyland was finally convinced to paint the mural after a holiday on Lady Elliot Island in 1990.

The building - the tallest in Bundaberg - had to be prepared before the painting could begin. It was cleaned and treated to remove moss and fungus and the majority of the expansion joints were replaced.

A local painting firm prepared the wall and painted the white undercoat in preparation for Wyland's arrival. The project was also sponsored by a number of local businesses, as well as the owner of the building, John Santalucia.

In preparation for the painting, Wyland went diving off Barolin Rocks to capture the reef, and the selection of a mother whale and calf was inspired by his experience diving off Lady Elliot Island.

More than 1000 litres of paint was used in the mural.

The unveiling of the painting was a significant event. Some of Bourbong Street was closed for the ceremony and the mural was 'unveiled' when lights were switched on to illuminate it.

Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

5. Moncrieff Theatre


The first entertainment centre on the current site was an open-air theatre built by a syndicate in 1911. It was taken over by Birch, Carroll & Coyle in 1922.

The Olympia Theatre, as it was named, was officially opened in 1955 by the late Mr FH Buss who was the then Mayor of Bundaberg.

The Manager of the Theatre was Mr J Watson. In the early days, staff had anxious moments trying to seat patrons under cover when storms arose.

After 30 years as an airdome, and 18 years in it's present form, the Olympia closed in November 1973 for major restoration work.

The Crest Cinema

The air-conditioned Crest Cinema was opened on December 19 1973 by the then Premier Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen and was managed by Paul Neville until 1981 when he was Wide Bay Manager for Birch Carroll & Coyle.

The Crest was then managed by a variety of managers over the next five years following the purchase by Bundaberg City Council.

The Moncrieff Theatre

The Theatre underwent major changes and became a theatrical theatre as well as a cinema.

The Theatre was renamed The Moncrieff Theatre in honor of Bundaberg first lady of yesteryear, singer Gladys Moncrieff.

Mr Pat Crowe was the inaugral Manager until his death in September 1999.

The Theatre was officially opened on August 16 1987 by Alderman AL Stewart, the then Mayor of Bundaberg, and the first movie shown was 'Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home', screening on Wednesday December 17 1986. The first stage show was 'Johnny Chester'.

Moncrieff Entertainment Centre

The name Moncrieff Theatre was always a little ambiguous, with regard to the true nature of the business.

With the update of the venues' facade in October 2011 it seemed the perfect opportunity to undertake a name change.

School of Arts.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
School of Arts.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

6. School of Arts building

The former School of Arts is a substantial masonry building in classical revival style and was constructed in 1888-9 as the third school of arts building on this site.

The Bundaberg School of Arts is important as part of the network of Schools of Arts which sprang up in any town of consequence in Queensland during the 19th and early 20th centuries and were a measure of prosperity and progress.

The scale and style of the building amply demonstrate the wealth and importance of Bundaberg as a sugar city at this period. Schools of Arts were community based and played a valuable role in the dissemination of information and the provision of facilities for lectures, meetings, games of skill and community events.

They were an important stage in the development of adult education in Queensland.

Old Bundy Tavern.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
Old Bundy Tavern.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

7. Old Bundy Tavern

According to the Old Bundy Tavern, or OBT, as it's often called, there is a long history to the beautiful building.

The land on which the tavern stands was one of the first allotments bought when the first auction of Bundaberg land was conducted in Maryborough on May 11 1870.

The purchaser was hotel keeper, John Foley. He paid 11 pounds. The license changed hands over the next few years. 1875 - Henry Stoward; 1876 - D. White; 1877 - R. Datson; 1878 - Mrs E. Baker.

One of the decorative windows at the OBT.
One of the decorative windows at the OBT.

In 1882 Mr M. Gadsen bought the freehold for 2000 pounds. In February 1888 the property was bought for 4000 pounds by Mr D. McKay.The license continued to change hands over the next few years.Mrs E. Ryan bought the freehold from Mr E. Bust in 1908, the licensee was Mr E. Glennie.

The Custom House Hotel, a two storey timber structure was totally destroyed by fire about 1.30am Monday , 28 June 1915.

In 1917 Mrs Ryan arranged for the construction of the brick building and the name was changed to The Hotel Bundaberg.

The architect was Mr F.H. Faircloth. Mrs Ryan retained ownership up to her death in 1943.

Major refurbishments started on the hotel in August, 1991. When completed it was renamed "The Old Bundy Tavern"

Bundaberg Post Office.
Bundaberg Post Office. Max Fleet BUN211013BPO2

8. Bundaberg Post Office

After JJ Clark's dismissal as Queensland Colonial architect in 1885, various emerging projects were left in limbo.

One was the new Bundaberg Post Office, intended to replace a smaller post and telegraph office built in c.1879.

Charles McLay, who like JS Murdoch was another Scot initially mentored by Clark, submitted designs for Bundaberg's new post office in 1886 to the new Colonial Architect, George Connolly.

There were three of these designs in all - Connolly favoured internal competitions for Public Works designs - of which this one was chosen after revisions between 1887 and 1889.

The Bundaberg Post Office clock is revamped, April 17, 1987. Submitted by Rod Savidge.
The Bundaberg Post Office clock is revamped, April 17, 1987. Submitted by Rod Savidge.

During this time McLay was promoted to chief draftsman in the Colonial Architect's office.

He designed the Brisbane Customs house in 1886, a seminal late Renaissance-early Baroque design. He then designed the Fortitude Valley Post Office of 1887, and prepared an unbuilt design for Rockhampton Post Office which Watson and McKay note was similar in appearance to Fortitude Valley.

The Bundaberg Post Office was constructed in 1890-1; it also included a Crown Lands Department Office.

The French Cable Co. began exchanging messages through the Vancouver via New Caledonia undersea cable which terminated at its office on the first floor of the post office in 1893.

Additions and alterations to the building were carried out in the mid-1950s and refurbishment alterations and additions were undertaken in the late 1990s.

The Linden building.
The Linden building.

9. The Linden Building

The Linden Clinic (former) was built by Dr Egmont Schmidt in 1913. Schmidt was the son of CF Schmidt, who became a permanent Lutheran pastor in Bundaberg in 1892 (he was previously based in Maryborough, where Dr Egmont Schmidt was born in 1886).

Dr Egmont Schmidt completed his medical training by 1910 and, after a twelve month residency at Warwick Hospital on the Darling Downs, returned to Bundaberg and practiced medicine with Dr Thomas Henry May.

Schmidt took over the practice when May retired; it appears this process was carefully managed, as May was still practicing until 1913, presumably in Schmidt's new residence and surgery, Linden.

Linden was designed by the prominent Maryborough architect, POE Hawkes and erected in 1913. Although based in Maryborough, Hawkes designed a significant number of buildings in the Bundaberg region, including for the local businessman, Frederic Buss.

The site of the new building was originally occupied by the Pioneer Schoolroom, which was owned by the Lutheran Church and is believed to have been constructed c1876-7.

The Hawkes-designed building originally consisted of exposed brick on the ground level and 'rough cast' on the first floor, although the entire exterior of the building is now rough cast.

The architectural style is loosely coined 'Federation', which incorporated various features common in other established architectural styles such as 'Queen Anne', and was popular at the turn of the twentieth century.

The origin of the name of the building is unclear: it could either refer to an avenue in Berlin lined with Linden trees (Lindenstrasse), the suburb of Linden in Hanover where Schmidt's mother was born or simply after the Linden tree.

The building functioned as a residence and doctor surgery.

The property was originally larger, as there was also a tennis court and hall adjacent to the house. Schmidt continued to practice medicine in the clinic until his death in 1956.

He was a well-loved doctor in Bundaberg, noted for his care of people from all backgrounds, sometimes for free. Schmidt was also the Government Medical Officer and Railway Medical Officer in Bundaberg, and president of the local sub-branch of the British Medical Association.

He was also prominent in local association: he was one of the founders of the Bundaberg Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) and the Bundaberg Art Society. His private art collection was bequeathed to the city of Bundaberg and it is now located at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.

The building has undergone substantial interior renovations, both the residence and surgery sections. Although there have been some external additions and changes (including, for example, extending the rough cast across the whole façade), the exterior of the original building remains relatively intact in its prominent corner position.

B.M.R.G.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
B.M.R.G.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

10. Burnett Mary Regional Group building

Take a step back in time and admire the architecture from a different time at the former Commercial bank of Sydney building.

This majestic building was completed in 1891 and is important in demonstrating the evolution of Bundaberg as a regional centre, as well as the evolution of the early competitive banking facilities in rural Queensland.

Prior to 1872 there were no banking facilities in Bundaberg.

There was a Customs House established on the banks of the Burnett River but the duties had to be paid in Maryborough.

In April 1872 a rep from the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney arrived in Bundaberg to assess the viability of a bank in the town.

He left town a day later promising to establish a branch in Bundaberg in the following months.

The day after the CBC rep departed a rep from the Bank of NSW rode into Bundaberg from Maryborough to announce the branch was open for business.

The Commercial Banking Company of Sydney opened in June 1872 but was forced to close their doors in October 1873 due to the Bank of NSW securing most of the banking business in town.

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