Italian culture runs thick and fast in Brisbane. With fashion and restaurants galore, some of the Nation’s older and more historically significant landmarks are often overlooked.
Andrea Giovanni Stombuco (1820-1907) was an Italian-born Australian sculptor and architect. Many of the buildings he designed are listed on the heritage registers in Australia
Andrea Stombuco travelled widely and was involved in various business enterprises, including stone quarrying at Cape Town in South Africa.
Andrea Stombuco emigrated to Victoria in 1851. After trying his luck on the goldfields, he established himself in Victoria as a sculptor, monumental mason, builder and architect, and found a patron in the Roman Catholic Church. He was the contractor for a number of Catholic churches in Victoria and for most of the stonework of Ballarat Cathedral.
In 1869 Stambuco was appointed Architect for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Goulburn in New South Wales.
Stombuco moved to Queensland in 1875 on the advice of Rev. Patrick Dunne of Goulburn, and may have been appointed Catholic Diocesan Architect, receiving a number of important architectural commissions from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brisbane, James O'Quinn. These included St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace at Brisbane (1875–76), St Mary's Presbytery at Ipswich (1876), St Francis Xavier Church at Goodna (1880–81), part of All Hallows at Petrie Bight (1880–82) and St Patrick's Church at Fortitude Valley (1880–82). With his eldest son, Giovanni Stombuco, whom he took into partnership in 1886, he also designed St Joseph's Christian Brother's College at Nudgee, erected 1889-90. Among his more prominent non-Catholic works were St Andrew's Anglican Church at South Brisbane (1878–83) and Her Majesty's Opera House in Queen Street (1885–88).
Stombuco designed a number of large houses in Brisbane, including Friedenthal (1886–87) at Eagle Farm for WH Heckelman; and Rhyndarra (1889) at Yeronga for W Williams. He also designed several speculative ventures for himself, including Bertholme at New Farm (now the Moreton Club).