Locals will be familiar with the bright white facade of The Markets building on Boundary Street. Like most buildings in West End, this one comes with a history.
As one of the oldest suburbs in Brisbane, it is well known that many of the buildings around West End have had a previous life. The Markets building originally operated as the T. Tristram Aerated Waters and Brewed Beverages factory. The Tristram’s soft drink business was established in 1875 and the factory in West End was built in 1928. According to the University of Queensland Library (Fryer Library), the manufacture of beverages and foodstuffs for local consumption was a particularly important source of employment in Brisbane in the early 20th Century, and the Tristram’s factory was quite a large enterprise by Brisbane standards.
The building stood as something of a local icon in its prime; its imposing structure and the activity within was a representation of a successful and important Brisbane venture. The factory is one of Australia’s best examples of the Mission Revival architecture style, a movement of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries which drew inspiration from the original Spanish missions of 100 years prior. This architectural style is still obvious in the building today, thanks to its careful preservation.
Brian Griffin is a director of Heritage Pacific, the company which previously owned the building and was responsible for converting it into The Markets. “When we purchased the property about 12 years ago, it had been operating for approximately 20 years as a small Foodworks store and specialty shops,” Mr Griffin said. “Brisbane City Council has sections of the building earmarked for heritage significance and we worked with them during the development to protect these areas.” Though the building has been modernised significantly, the original architecture remains intact and the distinctive Mission Revival style is still very clear, retaining the structure’s iconic status. “The original building is one of only a few built in Brisbane in this architectural style and it was important that its heritage be protected,” Mr Griffin said.
According to The University of Queensland Library (Fryer Library), the old Tristram’s factory is one of few Brisbane factories from its period to survive into the 21st Century, making its preservation even more imperative. This building is an important symbol not only of a distinctive 19th Century architectural movement, but an iconic Brisbane brand of the past.
Though you won’t find Tristram’s soft drinks in the corner store these days, the local success story is still going strong, with the Tristram family operating a food manufacturing business in Brisbane to this day, though in a more modern facility and under the name of Trisco Foods. The former Tristram’s factory is an example of a building whose heritage has been respectfully preserved and with it, the important story of the building’s past and a piece of our city’s history.
Words by Megan Greaney | Images by Darlia Argyris and supplied by The State Library of Queensland