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California Lane opened in 2018 and was named after ‘The California Cafe’, one of Brisbane’s original cafes. Once occupying the corner, the California Café was owned by George Apostolos who opened its doors from 1951 to 1992. George, with his trademark white apron, became known for his legendary breakfasts, Mixed Grills and Spaghetti Bolognaise, served on huge oval size plates.
With its high front curved façade, Carroll’s Corner has held a prominent position on the corner since 1925. Its exterior design features, such as the decorative dated plaque and plaster detailing above the six double and four single timber sash windows, reflect the economic success of the area in the 1920s. The California Café, with its colourful marble Laminex tables, linoleum floor and adonised metal milk shake containers, occupied the lower level corner for over forty years.
Back in 1897 James Carroll, a Brisbane produce merchant purchased the land on the corner of Brunswick and Windmell (now McLachlan Street) where a row of small shops and businesses were operating.
In 1925 the construction of a brick building was approved with successful architects Cavanagh and Cavanagh appointed to design. Designed with four ground floor shops and one first floor residence, the premises were leased to an auctioneer, a milliner and a dressmaker with the upstairs apartment being leased to two nurses, one of which was Miss Carroll, perhaps the daughter of James Carroll.
The Rollinson Building was built in 1925 at a time of growth, when Fortitude Valley was increasingly becoming a successful retail centre in Brisbane. James Rollinson, a wealthy cattle station owner who owned Allandale in central north Queensland saw the great commercial potential and purchased the existing shops on the site from Fanny Isabella Dawes. In 1925 approval was given for the construction of six ground floor brick shops. The building was designed by celebrated architectural firm Hall and Prentice who were responsible for many of Brisbane’s finest buildings including Brisbane City Hall and Tattersall’s Club.
By 1927 the shops had been leased to various small businesses including a fruiterer, grocer, purveyor of small goods, a dressmaker and a watchmaker.
Fast forward to 2020 California Lane incorporates retro elements from the nostalgic years of California. Think neon signs, pastel walls and artwork. California Lane is a place of discovery and certainly Instagram worthy.
Want to 'Live Like A Local' and make a weekend of experiencing the Fortitude Valley Laneways, book yourself in on our exclusive package and enjoy your second night FREE.
Source: Brisbane City Council