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Hall, Francis Richard (1862–1939)

by Janet Hogan

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Francis Richard Hall (1862-1939), architect, was born on 9 February 1862 in Brisbane, son of John Hall, architect, and his wife Philadelphia, née Starr. His mother died when he was 2. Educated at Brisbane Grammar School from 1876, he joined his father's architectural practice, renamed John Hall & Son. When his father died in January 1883, he became head of the firm.

With Robin S. Dods as partner in 1896-1913, the firm became known as Hall & Dods; about 1923-27 with Alan Devereux as partner, it was Hall & Devereux; and from about 1928 Hall & Cook, with Harold M. Cook. In these partnerships Hall was largely the administrator, businessman and job-getter. He chose his design partners carefully; that they proved extremely capable is a tribute to his sound judgement and foresight. He delighted in supervisory work and was always scrupulously fair and impartial in the administration of building contracts. He was conservative, however, in the use of new building materials and methods. He enjoyed his professional life and at the time of his death was the oldest practising architect in Australia.

Through Dods's appointment as architect to the Anglican diocese of Brisbane, the firm secured the supervision of construction of the Anglican Cathedral of St John, opened in 1910. Later they carried through the Cathedral School and church offices, and the chapel at the archbishop's residence, Bishopsbourne. For the Catholic diocese, they undertook St Brigid's Church and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. Other projects included the nurses' home at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, the Maryborough Town Hall, and buildings for the Bank of New South Wales and the Australian Mutual Provident Society, including their main Brisbane offices.

A large and generous man, Hall was a keen photographer and race-goer; Hall & Cook were architects to the Queensland Turf Club. He died on 18 March 1939 of coronary vascular disease at the Ascot racecourse during the running of a welter handicap. His estate, valued for probate at £4637, was left to his wife Anna Katherina, née Tranberg, whom he married at Trinity Church of England, Fortitude Valley, on 30 January 1884, and to their two surviving children.

Thomas Ramsay Hall (1879-1950), his stepbrother, was born on 2 January 1879 in Brisbane, son of John Hall and his third wife Charlotte, née Whiteway. Educated at Brisbane Grammar School from 1891, he won the Francis memorial prize for mathematics. On leaving school he studied accountancy and architecture, became an approved valuer and in 1907 was town clerk of Sandgate. He practised as an architect independently of his brother from 1913 in Hall & Prentice and Hall & Phillips (1930-50). His firms designed the Brisbane City Hall, Tattersall's Club, Ascot Chambers and Shell House. He was involved in racing through Tattersall's and the Queensland Turf clubs, and his name is commemorated in the T. R. Hall Handicap. When he died on 15 December 1950 of coronary vascular disease he left an estate valued for probate at £21,114 to his widow Emma, née Lingley, whom he had married at Sandgate on 9 March 1910, and to their four children.

Select Bibliography

  • Notable Queenslanders (Brisb, 1915, 1928, 1936-37, 1950)
  • Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Queensland chapter, Buildings of Queensland (Brisb, 1959)
  • Architecture, Building, Engineering, 29 (1 Feb 1951), p 29
  • Daily Mail (Brisbane), 28 July 1926
  • Brisbane Courier, 14, 20 Apr 1928, 24 Oct 1929, 18 Mar 1939
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 16 Mar 1939
  • J. Capper, Thomas Ramsay Hall (manuscript, 1979?, held by Brisbane Civic Art Gallery and Museum), and letters to Janet Hogan (National Trust of Queensland, Brisbane, 1981), who also holds F. R. Hall, Memories of my architect grandfather and family (manuscript, 1980)
  • J. V. Coutts, Early Queensland Architects (manuscript, held by Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Queensland chapter).

Citation details

Janet Hogan, 'Hall, Francis Richard (1862–1939)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hall-francis-richard-6526/text11205, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 23 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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