“K.G.Luke Building”, 32 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North

The K G Luke Building was completed in 1938 made out of brick with a steel frame. The facade has a jagged skyline and was initially painted white exposing only the outer brick columns at the top and the brick around the windows. K. G. Luke commenced as a supplier of silverware trophy cups and tea sets with eleven employees in 1926. In eleven years they had branched out into many more types of silverware as well as hospital and kitchen equipment.

Enlarged view of image from Building Vol 66, July 1940 – National Library of Australia.
Decoration and Glass, April 1938 – State Library of NSW
Decoration and Glass, April 1938 – State Library of NSW
Decoration and Glass (detail of whole frontage) – April 1938 – State Library of NSW

The following is a summary of the Decoration and Glass (September 1938) edition:

Established by Mr Ken Luke in 1926, the business supplied quality silverware. By 1938, the company employed two hundred people and sold all sorts of items under the ‘Paramount’ range, such as: trophy cups, special trophies, rose bowls, vases, tea sets, cake baskets, sugars, butters, comports, fruit bowls, asparagus dishes, sauce boats, toast racks, egg stands, salvers, soup tureen, casseroles, bread boards, shaving mugs, tankards, cocktail sets and products of a similar nature.

K. G. Luke were also the agents of Sheffield Silver Plate and Cutlery Co. Ltd. and supplied cutlery under the brands Paramount and Cambridge. They also supplied Australian hospitals with equipment such as hot presses, bain maries, autoclaves, sterilisers, lockers ward and operating theatre furniture and stainless steel theatre equipment.

K. G. Luke was also vice-president of the Carlton Football Club, vice-president of the North Suburban Cricket Association, president of the Paramount Cricket Club and vice-president and patron of several other junior clubs.

Cutlery, spoons and forks also make up a large share of the business handled by the proprietary. As agents for the Sheffield Silver Plate and Cutlery Co. Ltd of Sheffield, England, K. G. Luke Pty. Ltd. supply one of the best makes of cutlery to buyers in all of the Australian States. Marketed under the brands of Paramount and Cambridge.

More information:

  • A fantastic biography of K. G. Luke (1896-1971) is available here, drafted by David Dunstan.
  • There is also a summary of information in the Australian Button History.
  • A summary of the heritage site assessment; and my favourite (a complete trove of information about all of Queens Parade, the “Queens Parade Built Form Heritage Analysis and Recommendations” prepared by GJM Heritage. Refer Appendix A.
K G Luke, Decoration and Glass, April 1938 page 70.

Today, the K. G. Luke building is painted hot pink and is the subject of a long running dispute with developers wanting to build a 16 storey high rise apartment block. The first designs were published in 2016, and to date the dispute continues.

K. G. Luke Building
Koichi Takada Architect impression of 26-56 Queens Parade, 2016 (High rise casts long shadow in Fitzroy North, The Age, 26 Sep 2016)

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