Discover the Beginnings of the Iconic Cook Terrace in Milton

Photo credit: Kgbo/Wikimedia Commons

Cook Terrace in Milton is considered an iconic landmark in the suburb. The building’s elegant and well-preserved features significantly contribute to the Coronation Drive riverscape and streetscape.

Currently, Cook Terrace is one of few intact and surviving nineteenth-century terraces in Brisbane. Along with the changing times, the heritage-listed structure has been an important part of many people’s lives especially when it was converted to flats, catering to many students as well as families in the 1960s and 1970s.

Get to know the beginnings of the beautiful, historic building and learn how it evolved as a notable landmark that it is today.

History of Cook Terrace

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In September 1888, Brisbane builder Joseph Blain Cook acquired the title to subdivisions 1 to 6 of the Milton House estate, a section of the prime real estate along the Brisbane River, from John Frederick McDougall.

After his acquisition, he raised a mortgage of £6,000 on the property to finance construction of the terrace.

Cook initially constructed the building as a  two-storeyed brick row of six houses in 1888-1889. He built the first house in late 1888 whilst the remainder of the row was completed in 1889. The architect of the terrace is unknown.

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The terrace was built as a rental property since the Queensland Undue Subdivision of Land Prevention Act of 1885 prohibits the granting of titles to individual terrace houses.

The enterprise might have been promising at the time, however, within two years of construction, Cook was declared insolvent. As a result, the terrace was passed to his mortgagees.

Milton Terrace

Cook Terrace, Coronation Drive, Milton, Brisbane, 1945. Photo credit: Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 536

The property was known as Milton Terrace in 1895. With its river views and breezes as well as its proximity to the centre of town, the terrace remained as one of Brisbane’s more prestigious rental addresses. This went on until the twentieth century.  The property was attracting mainly professional and white-collar tenants at the time.

The Rourke family owned the terrace from 1895. It is likely that they were responsible for adding a southwestern verandah and dome room.

Cook Terrace (2009). Photo credit: Heritage Branch staff

Each house had been subdivided into at least two flats by 1920. Builder Simon Smith acquired the property in 1923. He may have been responsible for removing the front parapet and installing dormer windows.

In the 1930s, the name Milton Terrace was lost. Consequently, the houses were known collectively as Gloralgar Flats by the end of the decade.

During the Second World War, it was believed that army authorities rented the flats for officer accommodation.

After the war, the verandahs were enclosed and the six houses were further converted into twenty-seven flats which were considered something of a bohemian retreat.

The building remained as a visual landmark along Coronation Drive despite its decline. The terrace was then refurbished and recycled as offices and a restaurant in 1984.

Cook Terrace Now

Cook Terrace in 1980 and 2018. Photo credit: Passing Time/Facebook

Cook Terrace continues to marvel passersby with its exquisite architecture. The restaurant side of the property has seen a few restaurants come and go. This includes the famous Joseph Alexanders and Wilsons on the River.

The historic building has been added to the  Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.

Today, Cook Terrace is home to several offices as well as a Mediterranean restaurant.


Photo credit: Momani’s/Facebook

Momani’s has been the latest restaurant to open at the Cook Terrace and is currently serving Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine in the historic building. Aptly located in the heritage-listed venue, the restaurant prides itself in serving loads of traditional grandmother’s cooking.

‘Momani’ is the adorable nickname that the co-owner, Persian chef Pooran Cowan’s grandchildren had given her. With a promise to make the customers feel right at home when eating at the restaurant, their menu is centred on Pooran’s recipes that are beloved by her family.

Photo credit: Momani’s/Facebook

The restaurant’s lavish ground-level dining area impresses with grand chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Brisbane River. Their upper level is also complete with a dedicated bar, piano lounge, and more seating that offers great views of the surroundings.

Fine Dining in a Historic Building

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The fine dining experience is certainly not complete without the delicious food. Just as how most grandmothers feed their family, Momani’s also serves big portions of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. On offer are different kinds of kebab, saffron rice, chargrilled king prawns served on a bed of rocket, and a whole lot more.

Apart from their hearty meals, the restaurant also serves a variety of drinks in their bar upstairs.

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As they say, there’s always room for dessert. Momani’s must-try sweet treats include the Baklava and their signature Persian love cake which is a fragrant rich cake with saffron, cardamom, almonds and lemon glaze, topped with pistachios and rose petals.

Momani’s is open from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday to Thursday and from 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Friday to Saturday.

Just as how the Cook Terrace touched several lives in Milton through its evolution over the years, Momani’s also strives to leave a mark in the suburb, one meal at a time.