Designed by architects Mitchell and Watt for Irish immigrant Andrew Jack Entrican, Australis House was originally known the Entrican Building. An opening review in The New Zealand Graphic described it as a ‘splendid new premises’.
The magazine lavished praise on ‘the brilliantly lighted and beautifully decorated ground floor, office and show room’ and the ‘air of spaciousness, convenience and general effect [that] is not… excelled or equalled in the colony’.
Messrs A. J. Entrican & Company Merchants and Importing Agents stocked a wide range of products, including preserves, candles, coffee and pharmaceuticals. Vermin-proof storage was provided in the upper floors, and butter and cheese were packed for export in the basement.