17Buildings & Places

The Spanish Mission Home

SATA-NITA (White Lady Funeral)

ArchitectRalf Tennant Johnston
Year Built1932
Opening Hours10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Photography PermittedYes
Frank Bailey, photo taken 1970-1979, Courtesy of the Gold Coast City Library, Local Studies Library
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65 Nind St, Southport

Guided tours every 30 minutes. Bookings not required.

Ralf ‘Sonny’ Tennant Johnston erected Sata Nita as a bridal suite ahead of his 1936 marriage to bride-to-be Lila. It was built in the Spanish Mission style employed on the Gold Coast beachfront in buildings used by swimmers as change rooms and surf clubs.

Johnston, half of Johnston and Freeman Lumber Merchants, scoured the region for the best timbers, with red cedars from Numinbah and Springbrook used throughout the home. The living room floor was prepared from a single tree. Ceiling plasterwork is typical of the period and still in excellent condition - a master plasterer from Italy spent six months on the job. The entrance door also features some of the original leadlight glass work.

Sata Nita was the Johnston family home until the 1980s when it became an antiques store. Somerville Funerals then relocated from High Street, Southport, in 1994. Sata Nita became White Lady Funerals in January 2018.

Much of the original fit-out and decor remain the same.

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