• Jon Ruwolt

'Feniton' the home of Edward Theodore, Queensland’s premier, heritage listed

Updated: Aug 12, 2019


The Queensland Heritage Council has listed a Robin Dods-designed Federation-style house on its register.


Originally known as “Feniton” and built in 1906-07, the house is sited on a 1,292-square-metre block at 388 Bowen Terrace in the inner-Brisbane suburb of New Farm. The site has a second frontage on Oxley Lane at the rear. From 1916 to 1927, it was the home of Edward Granville Theodore, Queensland’s premier from 1919 to 1925.


According to its heritage statement, “Feniton is important in demonstrating the lifestyle of Brisbane’s prosperous elite in the inner suburbs of Brisbane during the early 20th century.”


The house is set back 25 metres from Bowen Terrace and is surrounded by large gardens at the front and rear. The highset timber house has verandahs on three sides and a steeply pitched roof with projecting brick chimneys.


“Feniton is important for its Federation aesthetic, successfully combining Arts and Crafts and Classical elements in a pleasingly proportioned asymmetrical highset house with dominant roof, wide verandahs, piazza with a northeast aspect, and visually firm connection to the ground.


Largely intact, it demonstrates, internally and externally, fine architectural quality and skilful arrangement of generous and refined formal and informal spaces that evoke a sense of an earlier, gracious lifestyle.”


Dods, who trained as an architect in Scotland and England, was known for combining the British Arts and Crafts style with the building traditions of Queensland to meet the climatic requirements of a subtropical environment.

Robin Dods, was recognised as one of Brisbane's leading architects in the early 20th century.

Robin Dods’s New Farm house added to Queensland heritage register

NewsWords Linda Cheng

“Feniton” by Robin Dods, 1906-07. Image: Queensland Heritage Register

The Queensland Heritage Council has listed a Robin Dods-designed Federation-style house on its register.

Queensland Heritage Council chair Debbie Best said the house was significant both for its architectural links to Dods and Federation-era architecture, and for the Premier's influence.


“Feniton forms part of a group of major works or ‘first quality houses’ of the middle period of the Hall and Dods practice (1901-09), a group described as comprising ‘most of the interesting houses designed by Dods,’” its heritage statement notes.

“Feniton is important for its Federation aesthetic, successfully combining Arts and Crafts and Classical elements in a pleasingly proportioned asymmetrical highset house with dominant roof, wide verandahs, piazza with a northeast aspect, and visually firm connection to the ground.


Largely intact, it demonstrates, internally and externally, fine architectural quality and skilful arrangement of generous and refined formal and informal spaces that evoke a sense of an earlier, gracious lifestyle.”


Dods, who trained as an architect in Scotland and England, was known for combining the British Arts and Crafts style with the building traditions of Queensland to meet the climatic requirements of a subtropical environment.

“The practice of Hall and Dods produced a wide range of accomplished buildings and was credited with achieving an ‘architectural revolution’ in Brisbane,” the heritage statement reads.


View from the front verandah of “Feniton” by Robin Dods, 1906-07, towards Bowen Terrace. Image: Queensland Heritage Register


In 2016, the property was the subject of a development proposal that would have seen the house relocated further toward Bowen Terrace, reducing its setback from 25 metres to 6 metres, in order to make way for three townhouses at the rear fronting Oxley Lane, under plans drafted by Tonic Design.

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