Who was Francis Stanley?
Francis Drummond Greville Stanley. That’s a name to conjure. “Who was he?”, many of you may ask and yet you will all know his work.
Francis Stanley was born in Edinburgh in 1839 and came to Queensland in 1860 or thereabouts.
He was an Edinburgh-trained architect and began work with the Lands Department. He rose to be the chief colonial architect in 1871.
The recently refurbished and opened Maryborough Story Bank, the birthplace of Mary Poppins’ author, Pamela Travers, began life as the Australian Joint Stock Bank (AJS Bank) and was designed by Stanley.
He also designed the Maryborough Court House, St Paul’s Anglican Church, in Adelaide St and had a hand in completing the design and extension of St Mary’s Catholic Church (pictured).
He was a significant contributor to the heritage Maryborough now boasts. His role in the city’s local heritage is echoed throughout Queensland.
The AJS Bank commissioned him to design branch buildings in Gympie, Mackay, Ravenswood and Townsville. He also designed St Mary’s Convent, now the museum, in Cooktown, in Far North Queensland, and the Brisbane GPO and Fort Lytton, in Moreton Bay, as well.
Architect of lighthouses
Stanley’s skill and taste are not just to be found in his public buildings, though.
He designed the Capricorn Light on Curtis Island, north of Gladstone and others along the coast.
The original light was a prefab structure of wood and iron, built in Brisbane, and was only the fifth lighthouse built in Queensland.
As we celebrate the beauty of our heritage, it is worthwhile to remember the humble public servant who designed them for us.
First published in the Maryborough Herald, 7 May 2020.
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