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  • Writer's pictureJon Ruwolt

Loving their Queenslanders

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

When it comes to homes, Queenslanders love a Queenslander.

- From a story in the NT News by Lisa Hughes, Real Estate Editor, October 12, 2020

  1. Foley House, 75 Woodstock Road, Toowong Qld

  2. Birkdale House, 27 Roger Street, Birkdale Qld

  3. Amity, 101 Welsby Street, New Farm

  4. Cintra House, 23 Boyd St, Bowen Hills Qld

  5. Book "The Building of a Queensland House"

The Courier and Sunday Mail recently featured the Qld Top 50 Homes list. This allows readers to vote for their own favourites, if they disagree with their position on the published list.

  • Despite featuring multi-million dollar coastal properties with views to die for, and luxury inner-city houses dripping with high-end features, readers have shown that their preference is for a more historical offering.

  • According to the readers’ ranking, three of the top ten favoured homes are heritage properties, with a fourth sitting just outside the ten at No. 11.

Foley House, 75 Woodstock Road, Toowong Qld

Top Queenslander, Foley House Toowong Qld
Foley House has been ranked as No. 3 in the Top 50 Homes list by readers

Foley House at 75 Woodstock Road, Toowong, which sold this year for $2.55 million, sight unseen, to an expat, came in at No. 3 on the readers’ list; the Courier Mail had it at a much more modest No. 45.

  • Built in 1916, Foley House is one of the original Queenslander homes in Brisbane’s west.

Foley House covers 1465 sqm, comprising three lots.

  • It was once owned by Queensland politician and the city’s fifth mayor, Albert Hockings and his wife, Elizabeth.

  • The second owner of the house was the Foley family.

  • In 1939 Clare Foley became the fourth woman to be admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of Queensland.

  • The property has had only one other owner since, until its sale in August.

The six-bedroom, four-bathroom house is rich in character features such as pressed-metal ceilings, leadlight glass windows and French doors.

  • Recently Sold for $2,550,000 - 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 4 car spaces

  • "A grand estate of historic significance, 'Foley House' is a treasured c.1916 home infused with elegance, old world beauty and modern charm".

- Slideshow: Foley House at 75 Woodstock Road, Toowong (use < , > to view)

It was updated in 2002 by the architect Andrew Gildea, who opened up the lower level, added new stairs, a deck and a pool.

Birkdale House, 27 Roger Street, Birkdale Qld

Birkdale House, once owned by Anna Spiro, is sitting at No. 4 with readers.

Following close behind (on readers' choice) at No. 4 is Birkdale House; only no. 40 on the judges’ list.

  • The property at 27 Roger Street, Birkdale, was most recently owned by Queensland’s renowned interior designer Anna Spiro before it should have sold to a local Brisbane family in September for an undisclosed sum over $2 million, but remains for sale.

  • What is unique about the house is that the floor plan has remained relatively untouched since it was built in the 1880s.

  • The only new additions have been a lick of paint and a new roof roof, which blew off in a past storm.

  • A truly exciting offering, this resplendent 1800s homestead with a guesthouse really is incomparable.

Made up of a main residence and a guesthouse, period details such as

  • decorative breezeways,

  • VJ (Vertical Joint, timber) walls,

  • timber floors, casement windows,

  • tiled mosaics, picture rails and lofty ceilings feature throughout.

Slideshow: (use < , > to view)

  • Re-imagined by the same renowned interior designer behind Halcyon House, Mr Percival's and Arc Dining and Wine Bar, the property features layers of pattern and colour that intertwine to create utterly divine spaces.

  • Previously owned and expertly transformed by renowned interior designer Anna Spiro, tucked away amongst modern residences and verdant gardens in a quiet cul-de-sac, the home is unmatched in its aesthetic.

Amity, 101 Welsby Street, New Farm Qld

Coming in at Readers Choice No. 8, was Amity at 101 Welsby Street, New Farm, which is estimated to be worth more than $15 million and came in at N0. 30 on the judges’ list.

Amity in New Farm is an oldie but a goodie and has readers ranking it No. 8 on their list.

One of the oldest surviving timber riverfront residences in Brisbane, Amity is a cheeky nod to the romance of yesteryear, and what it lacks in height it more than makes up for in girth, with some 2127sq m of land surrounding it.

  • Brisbane businessman, politician and the city’s first rugby halfback Thomas Welsby had the four-bedroom house built in 1892.

  • It has exquisite detailing, from stained-glass panels that carry the home’s name, to brass compass points etched into the front path.

  • Brisbane architect Tony Dempsey bought the property in 1997 and has preserved the home’s original character while remodelling the main bathroom, improving the kitchen and adding an ensuite to the master bedroom.

Slideshow: (use < , > to view)

The wide wrap around verandah's are beautifully framed by a giant fig and manicured terraced gardens with wide views over the Brisbane River to Hawthorne, Bulimba and beyond.

Cintra House, 23 Boyd St, Bowen Hills Qld

Last but not least, Cintra House is sitting at No. 11 with readers (No. 26 with the judges).

Cintra House, one of Brisbane’s oldest homes, is sitting just outside the Top 10 in the readers’ list.

Situated at 23 Boyd St, Bowen Hills it sold for $6.6 million on 21 Apr 2020 and is one of the city’s oldest residential homes. It's style is more a 'filigree' Victorian villa, than a timber 'Queenslander'.

  • Built in 1863, Cintra House is a true relic of Brisbane’s past.

  • The two-storey, six-bedroom, sandstone home sits on an elevated, 3000 sqm site 2.5km from the CBD.

  • It was designed by architect Benjamin Backhouse, who is credited with numerous Brisbane landmarks, and has a rich history, having once been used as a convent

  • and as the home to Queensland’s 10th premier, Boyd Dunlop Morehead.

  • It has multiple formal and informal living and dining areas, ornate 3.6m-high ceilings and a marble fireplace.

  • It is one of Brisbane’s oldest and most beautiful historic residences that will never be replicated.

Slideshow: (use < , > to view)

Book "The Building of a Queensland House"

This book is a practical guide to the classic domestic architecture of the state of Queensland, the north-east chunk of Australia. Written by Andy Jenner

  • It is not a pretty assembly of photogenic cupolas in garden settings,

  • this is a hands-on day-to-day diary of the blokes and their trade, cuts, bruises, falls and all. It explores the original architecture of the house as well.

  • The specific type of house in question was being built from approximately 1880 to 1920 (the Federation years), give or take a few years: this era defines the style. Read more: Book Review - The Building of the Queensland House

  • You can buy this book from Folio Books, Brisbane City 07 3221 1368 133 Mary Street, Cnr of Edward & Mary St) Brisbane QLD 4000 Fax: 07 3229 5797 or email

Read more about the Courier-Mail lists: (NB News Ltd owns

There are modern reproductions of the Federation Queenslander style which are not cheap...

  • see this video of Presenting 60 Lara Drive, Buderim Qld (a choice location)

And another carpenter's how-to video:

Above: Brisbane House Renovation | Clem Carpentry

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1 comentario

Jemma Takle
Jemma Takle
25 ene 2021

Hi Jon, I'm interested in getting in touch with you regarding a TV show i'm organising about Queenslander style homes. Can't find any way of contacting you. You can email me at


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