Tara House

Brisbane City, Australia

Tara House

Tara House is a heritage-listed club house at 179 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane City, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by Richard Gailey and built from c. 1878 to 1928. It was also known as the Irish Club, which owned and operated the building from 1919 to 2015. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992. It has now been converted to a cinema complex by the Sourris brothers retaining many of the original historical aspects of the building and its long history as the Brisbane Irish Club. The building is now known as The Elizabeth Picture Theatre.

The land at the site was bought by James Hunter, a boot manufacturer, in 1877 for £2250. Soon afterwards, Richard Gailey, architect, called for tenders for the construction of two Elizabeth Street stores for James Hunter. By 1879 Hunter was advertising his warehouses to let at £200 per annum. Hunter's investment in this property was part of a more general, growing interest in this warehousing quarter. Messrs Unmack & Heussler, produce merchants, politicians and prominent citizens, conducted their business at the building from 1879 to 1884. From 1884 to 1899, the building was owned by the wealthy London merchant Alexander McArthur and used as the Brisbane branch of his extensive warehousing firm. The new owner in 1899 was James Cowlishaw, architect, newspaper proprietor, company director and politician. During Cowlishaw's time various importers, warehousing firms and manufacturers agents were tenants. Cowlishaw financed the Queensland Irish Association's (QIA) purchase of the building in 1919 by a mortgage of £8000 (purchase price was £11,000). The building was in the hands of the QIA continuously since that time until 2015 when the QIA went into liquidation and the building was sold to a private investor. The earlier success of the QIA reflects the significance of Queensland's Irish population from the start of free settlement. In the 1860s, 18% of the Queensland population was Irish-born.

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