Toorak House, Brisbane

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Toorak House
Toorak House (2009).jpg
Toorak House, 2009
Location28 Annie Street, Hamilton, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Coordinates 27°26′14″S153°03′09″E / 27.4373°S 153.0524°E / -27.4373; 153.0524 Coordinates: 27°26′14″S153°03′09″E / 27.4373°S 153.0524°E / -27.4373; 153.0524
Design period1840s - 1860s (mid-19th century)
Builtc.1865 - 1915
Built for James Robert Dickson
Official name: Toorak House
Typestate heritage (landscape, built)
Designated2 March 1994
Reference no.600216
Significant period1860s-1890s, 1910s (fabric)
1860s- 1910s (historical)
Significant componentsgarden/grounds, views to, tower - observation/lookout, mural / fresco, wall/s - retaining, residential accommodation - main house, gate - entrance, views from, out house, garden edging/balustrades/planter boxes
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Location of Toorak House in Queensland
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Toorak House, Brisbane (Australia)

Toorak House is a heritage-listed villa at 28 Annie Street, Hamilton, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was built from c.1865 to 1915. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 2 March 1994. [1]

Villa independent-standing house

A villa is a type of house that was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa has evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity, sometimes transferred to the Church for reuse as a monastery. Then they gradually re-evolved through the Middle Ages into elegant upper-class country homes. In modern parlance, "villa" can refer to various types and sizes of residences, ranging from the suburban semi-detached double villa to residences in the wildland–urban interface.

Hamilton, Queensland Suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Hamilton is an inner northern suburb of the City of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, lying on the north bank of the Brisbane River along Hamilton Reach. The area is hilly with views of the Brisbane central business district.

City of Brisbane Local government area in Queensland, Australia

The City of Brisbane is a local government area that has jurisdiction over the inner portion of the metropolitan area of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia. Brisbane is located in the county of Stanley and is the largest city followed by Ipswich with bounds in part of the county. Unlike LGAs in the other mainland state capitals, which are generally responsible only for the central business districts and inner neighbourhoods of those cities, the City of Brisbane administers a significant portion of the Brisbane metropolitan area, serving almost half of the population of the Brisbane Greater Capital City Statistical Area. As such, it has a larger population than any other local government area in Australia. The City of Brisbane was the first Australian LGA to reach a population of more than one million. Its population is roughly equivalent to the populations of Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory combined. In 2016–2017, the council administers a budget of over $3 billion, by far the largest budget of any LGA in Australia.

Contents

History

James Robert Dickson and family outside Toorak House, circa 1872 StateLibQld 1 89640 James Robert Dickson and family outside Toorak House, Hamilton, ca. 1872.jpg
James Robert Dickson and family outside Toorak House, circa 1872

This two storeyed stone residence was erected c.1865 at Breakfast Creek for Brisbane businessman James Robert Dickson. Dickson appeared to be living at Breakfast Creek by March 1865, and references to the Dicksons at Toorak appear later that year. [1]

Breakfast Creek river in Queensland, Australia

The Breakfast Creek is a small urban stream that is a tributary of the Brisbane River, located in suburban Brisbane in the South East region of Queensland, Australia.

Brisbane capital city of Queensland, Australia

Brisbane is the capital of and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of approximately 2.5 million, and the South East Queensland metropolitan region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.6 million.

James Robert Dickson Australian politician and businessman, Premier of Queensland

Sir James Robert Dickson, was an Australian politician and businessman, the 13th Premier of Queensland and a member of the first federal ministry.

Dickson arrived in Brisbane in 1862, and was in business with Arthur Martin as an auctioneer and land agent until August 1864 when the partnership was dissolved. Martin continued business under his own name, and Dickson formed a new partnership with James Duncan, as general auctioneers and land and commission agents. The firms of A Martin and Dickson and Duncan appear to have been responsible for much of the land subdivision and sales in Brisbane during the mid-late 1860s. Dickson entered the Queensland Legislative Assembly in 1873 as the Member for Enoggera, and held various offices until he resigned in 1887. After failing to regain a seat in the 1888 colonial election, Dickson did not re-enter politics until 1892 when he won the seat of Bulimba. Dickson became Queensland Premier in October 1898, holding this position until December 1899. A strong advocate of Federation, Dickson was a member of the Australian delegation to England for the passage of the Commonwealth bill through the Imperial parliament. Dickson was a member of the first Federal Parliament and appointed the first Commonwealth Minister of Defence. Dickson was involved also in various companies including the Royal Bank of Queensland, the Brisbane Permanent Building and Banking Society, Queensland Trustees and the Queensland Insurance and Land Mortgage Company. Knighted on the day of Federation, he died 10 days later. [1]

Enoggera was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Queensland. It existed from 1873 to 1950 and centred on the suburb of Enoggera in Brisbane.

Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland between 28 April 1888 and 26 May 1888 to elect the members of the state's Legislative Assembly.

Electoral district of Bulimba state electoral district of Queensland, Australia

Bulimba is an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Queensland.

William Robert Howe Weekes of Brisbane was granted almost 32 acres of land in 1864. This land included four (4) allotments in the Parish of Toombul, fronting the Brisbane River. Subdivision of this land appeared to commence the following year when Dickson acquired part of the land. By 1873, an area of just under ten (10) acres of land, which included Toorak and grounds, had been transferred into Annie Dickson's name (Dickson's wife). Following Annie's death in 1880, the land was held by Dickson, as trustee. [1]

Brisbane River river in Australia

The Brisbane River is the longest river in South East Queensland, Australia, and flows through the city of Brisbane, before emptying into Moreton Bay. John Oxley, the first European to explore the river, named it after the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Thomas Brisbane in 1823. The penal colony of Moreton Bay later adopted the same name, eventually becoming the present city of Brisbane.

Toorak was built of stone reputedly from the nearby Petrie quarries at Albion. The design and name of Toorak are believed to have been derived from a house at Toorak in Melbourne designed by a cousin of Dickson. The design of Toorak reflects the influence of the English Picturesque movement on Australian domestic architecture of the late nineteenth century. [1]

Albion, Queensland Suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Albion is an inner north-eastern suburb of the City of Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Albion had a population of 2,296 people.

Toorak House, circa 1890 StateLibQld 1 164047 Toorak House, Brisbane, ca. 1890.jpg
Toorak House, circa 1890

A photograph of Toorak taken c.1885 shows that the house was originally single storeyed with a two level entry hall protruding through the verandah roof. The second storey appears to have been added by the 1890s. An upper section was added to the tower by the 1890s. [1]

Dickson, accompanied by four of his daughters, travelled to Europe in early 1890, returning to Brisbane in late 1891. It is believed that while Dickson was overseas, he acquired the two marble lions which stand at the entrance of Toorak, and that he hired Italian artists to undertake decorative work inside Toorak. [1]

Following Dickson's death in 1901, the land was transferred to Power and Agnes Dickson (two of his children) as trustees. By this time, Toorak stood on an area of just over four (4) acres. Toorak was leased by Eton High School (later St Margaret's Anglican Girls' School) run by the Sisters of Sacred Advent in 1907. Although Toorak was regarded as an ideal healthy environment for boarders, it was considered to be "too great a climb for day pupils", and the Sisters moved the school to Donatello c.1910. [1]

Additions to Toorak were undertaken by Richard Gailey in 1915. [1]

Toorak was acquired by grazier George Moffatt in 1916, and then in 1929 by John Gibson of the pioneer sugar family. Subsequent owners were Brisbane businessman Patrick Woulfe, prominent grazier, philanthropist and art collector Harold de Vahl Rubin, and pastoralist Sir William Allen in 1963. Since Allen's death in 1977 Toorak has remained in the Allen family, and stands on an area of 7,535 square metres (81,110 sq ft). [1]

Description

The building undergoing renovations, 2015 Toorak House, Hamilton.jpg
The building undergoing renovations, 2015

Toorak House is a substantial, Gothic-influenced, two storeyed sandstone residence with richly decorated interiors. It has steeply pitched shingle roofs and a single storeyed brick and corrugated iron wing attached to the rear. The house is impressively set within gardens containing mature trees and manicured garden beds, and sits on the crest of Hamilton Hill, commanding extensive views. [1]

The south, principal elevation has a strong formal presence, with a castellated square tower rising above the roofline flanked by two tall bay windows and steeply pitched dormer windows. The ground floor has a U-shaped timber verandah with a corrugated iron roof which has been enclosed with flyscreen to the west and glazing to the east. The main entrance comprises a flight of stone stairs guarded by a pair of lifesize marble lions, leading to an arched opening at the foot of the tower. The marble landing is inset with the word TOORAK. The east and west elevations of the sandstone house comprise two gables with tall bay windows; the southern gabled bays step out to align with the external face of the verandah. The first floor has small balconies with timber balustrades braced in diagonal patterns. The house has timber sash windows and French doors. [1]

The sandstone house has decorative external detailing in stone and timber trim. The square-snecked rubble stonework is dressed with projecting quoins, keystones, toothed windows surrounds and string courses and the tower has an arched cornice. The roofs are decorated with scalloped barge boards, finials, and carved eaves brackets. The verandah has chamfered timber posts and ornamental timber valances. [1]

The internal layout comprises four substantial and two smaller rooms either side of a central corridor on the ground floor, and four large and two small bedrooms on the upper floor. The entrance hall has frescos on the walls and ceilings, and is divided with a decorative arch. The rooms throughout the ground floor contain marble chimney breasts and rich plaster work and cornices. The joinery appears to be primarily cedar. [1]

Timber stairs with carved newels located at the end of the corridor give access both to upstairs rooms and a sheeted storage area at half-landing level via coloured glass doors. The ceilings throughout the upper level are half-raked and follow the lines of the roofs. The floor level steps up toward the south, accommodating higher ceilings below. The principal rooms have dormer windows expressed in the ceilings, French doors glazed in geometric patterns opening onto small balconies, and circular timber ceiling roses. A small room at the end of the corridor contains narrow timber stairs leading to a platform at the top of the tower. This vantage point offers 360° views of Brisbane and surrounds. [1]

The rear wing is a modest structure in Flemish bond brickwork, with timber windows and louvred French doors opening onto a verandah to the east. The building has been extended and modified to the north east, north west and west. It consists of a kitchen, several bedrooms and an office, also accessed from a central corridor. The corridor and the rooms to the west have flagstone floors, while the rooms to the east have timber floors. The western rooms have been extensively refurbished, while the eastern rooms retain their timber boarded and pressed metal ceilings. [1]

The gardens provide a picturesque setting for the house. To the south, an oval rose garden encircled by an oval drive reinforces the formality of the front facade. The eastern garden is terraced, and the northern garden has lawn, a mature hedge and a brick outhouse with a convex corrugated iron roof. The grounds contain many substantial and mature trees, including mature palms, camphor laurels, jacarandas, liquidambars, and Moreton Bay chestnuts. [1]

Heritage listing

Toorak House was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 2 March 1994 having satisfied the following criteria. [1]

The place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland's history.

As a substantial stone residence established in the Breakfast Creek area, it demonstrates the pattern of settlement and growth in Brisbane from the 1860s. [1]

The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

The house and its garden demonstrates the principal characteristics of a substantial villa residence influenced by the English Picturesque movement. [1]

The place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

It is important in exhibiting aesthetic characteristics valued by the community, including:(i)its fine interiors; (ii)the impressive external form and its fine detail; and (iii)the picturesque quality of the mature gardens surrounding the house. [1]

The place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland's history.

It has a special association with important political and social figures in 19th and 20th century Queensland (Dicksons, Moffatts, Gibsons, Woulfes, de Vahl Rubins, Allens). [1]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 "Toorak House (entry 600216)". Queensland Heritage Register . Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.

Attribution

CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article was originally based on "The Queensland heritage register" published by the State of Queensland under CC-BY 3.0 AU licence (accessed on 7 July 2014, archived on 8 October 2014). The geo-coordinates were originally computed from the "Queensland heritage register boundaries" published by the State of Queensland under CC-BY 3.0 AU licence (accessed on 5 September 2014, archived on 15 October 2014).

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