Demolition of the mansion built by Noel and Olive Kratzmann in the early 1980s, and site clearance of this large property just above Gailey Fiveways is nearing completion. It is understood that Sunland, developers of the old ABC Studios in Toowong, will up the density somewhat with 28 homes planned for the site. The development is being marketed as the Shea Residences.
Commonly referred to as the ‘Pink Palace’, the 1980’s mansion replaced the former substantial, yet less ostentatious, turn of the century home of four term Brisbane Lord Mayor, Sir John Chandler.
John Chandler emigrated to Queensland as a young man, working off the cost of his passage before opening a hardware store in Brisbane just before the 1914-18 War. Progressively expanding his business in the 1920s and ‘30s, he focused on electrical appliances, services and radio. Not just retailing, he also held Brisbane’s first commercial radio station license and operated a number of regional stations. From humble beginnings his name became prominent by its visibility as his chain of high street stores expanded.
He cut his political teeth on the local Taringa Shire Council before standing for Mayor in 1940 as a member of the Citizens’ Municipal Organization, a conservative alternative to the Labor Party. His business and organisational acumen was a valuable asset in responding to the challenges during and after the 1939-45 War, a period when funding was limited and demands on the civic purse high.
His connection to the district is recognised in the naming of a small but popular area of parkland at the tip of Long Pocket. This, however, is itself just a remnant of the original initiative proposed by Mayor Chandler in the 1940s. Anticipating what was still a farming area would follow the residential sub-division pattern of its neighbours, Council developed a plan to transform the whole pocket into a public park with extensive recreation areas. The scheme, including the continuation of a riverside drive from St Lucia, recognised the future need for ‘green space’ close to the city.
Compulsory purchase orders were issued and the farms closed down, a contentious move as a number of the farming families had a lengthy association with the area.
However, development of the new park facilities, dictated by available funding was limited, and whilst such activities as power boat/water skying flourished for a while, the area languished for a decade until part of it was leased to The Indooroopilly Golf Club, then based at their St Lucia course. The subsequent freehold land exchange achieved part of the original intention, a substantial recreation space near the city, albeit that only a small proportion is dedicated parkland.
[ For a more detailed history the Park refer to St Lucia History Group Paper No 21, Long Pocket by Peter Brown, and of one of the families affected by the compulsory purchase Paper No 25 (Notes,) Long Pocket Early Settlers – The Carr Family by Andrew Darbyshire with contributions from Marilyn England and Michael Yeates ]
[PS thanks to Don Watson for identifying where the facade came from and Eric Marggraf for the photographs of the opening day of the Park – refer below]