Restore These Homes!
1. Lamb House at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane
By 2023 the vista could be yours - for the price of admission - as you stop for coffee and carrot cake or a Devonshire tea after a tour of the restored Lamb House and its gardens and a vivid history of Brisbane.
All it will take is for the Lamb family, Brisbane City Council, and the Queensland state government to negotiate a sensible deal to restore the house.
The National Trust of Queensland has done a wonderful job with the tour, you think, looking across the Brisbane River to The Landing where British officers first came ashore in 1823 to start the Brisbane penal colony.
In this ideal world, you would remember how Lamb House was jointly acquired by Brisbane City Council and the Queensland government in 2020, partly with federal money that Prime Minister Scott Morrison allocated to capital cities as a civic pride initiative after the COVID-19 pandemic passed.
Today, it is a mess inside and out and some of the timber work has fallen off.
The gardens are overgrown and the house, which the Lamb family called "Home", is full of magazines, books, food wrappers, soft drink cans, deodorants and blankets.
It would be a big job. But the remaining beautiful timber work, gorgeous light fittings, draped curtains and ornate dressers can be seen through the windows of the locked home.
Developer Kevin Seymour, who has 55 years in property development, insists it can be restored.
By 2023, it could become one of Brisbane’s most authentic tourist additions.
Hundreds of tourists would walk into the wonderful home because it is only a few hundred metres along the Kangaroo Point cliffs from where their bus pulls up. Imagine all that in three years' time.
It is not like your usual residential property that hits the market in Tasmania.
The cottages were built in 1895 to house the manager of the Duck Reach Power Station
A fire gutted one of the cottages in 2011
The property has been owned by Peter Morton for nearly 30 years
With a price tag of $3.2 million, which includes a cottage without a roof, it is going to be hard to attract a buyer.
But there has been significant interest in the piece of Launceston history that is up for grabs.
Shane Dennington from the Duck Reach Historic Society said it was a significant site.
"It was built in 1895 and that was to house the manager of the power station until about 1955 when they decommissioned the power station," he said.
The power station was the first publicly owned hydroelectric plant in the Southern Hemisphere, with Launceston being the first city in Australia to have public-generated hydroelectricity.
In 1955, the cottages were given to the Launceston City Council and fell into disrepair before they were privately bought.
The cottages have played a role in Launceston's history.
"It was a very successful period for the Launceston city, busy port, cheap electricity and historically, it was a monumental area at the time," Mr Dennington said.
"We were one of the richest cities in Australia at that time."
The property is perched on 2.99 hectares of land on a hilltop overlooking the South Esk River and built of bluestone.
The sale includes two cottages.
One has been renovated but the former manager's residence was extensively damaged by fire in 2011.
It will need to be rebuilt.
It is estimated a new roof will cost up to $30,000.
'I always fantasised about owning it'
The property has been owned for the past 30 years by Peter Morton.
"It was an amazing adventure and a great privilege to live here for 30 years almost," he said.
"I knew about the property before it came onto the market and I always fantasised about owning it. I thought what a wonderful place to live in.
"Low and behold, finally it came onto the market.
"I couldn't attend the auction. I had my father bid on my behalf and I said to him: 'Get that property for me, Dad, if you don't get it, I'm leaving home and I'm changing my name'."
Real estate agent Chris Huxtable said there had been interest in the property.
"It's the most fascinating property with a fascinating history that goes back to the early days of Launceston," she said.
"It would be a perfect property for a tourism type development. It really has that commercial edge to it or it could just be a wonderful private property or that somebody uses as an art precinct.
"You can't find a property like this in Australia."
The property includes 2.99 hectares of land.(Supplied: Fall Real Estate)