Friday, July 10, 2009

28 Moreton St, New Farm

I was intrigued when I first came upon this old photo of a New Farm house in the John Oxley Library, mainly because it is only about a kilometre from where I live. There is no special historical significance to the house or its inhabitants that I am aware of, save that it demonstrates how one family lived in Brisbane around the year 1904, when the image was made. Here is the excerpt from the records at the library:
"Brick residence, 'Cohoes' at 28 Moreton Street in New Farm. The home had elaborate fretwork on the end gable and there are acroteria on the ends of the guttering. Mr Arthur Moore was the resident of this home in 1906. (Information taken from Queensland Post Office and Official Directory, 1902,1906, p.83)"
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #141855)

I assume that it is the resident of the house, Mr Arthur Moore, and his family pictured on the verandah of the attractive dwelling. He is not described as the owner - perhaps he rented the house, or maybe his employer provided it for him. New Farm is quite close to the centre of the city, and was served by the electric tram at that time. It would have passed by on Brunswick St, just a block away from his house, so Mr Moore could well have worked in town. Or, perhaps he was indeed the owner, and may have been a gentleman who had no need to work. It is interesting to speculate, isn't it?
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The house is still there on the corner of Moreton St and Hazel St, and it is still a very attractive residence too, although difficult to photograph in precisely the same way. There is a large tree on the footpath that shields the house from view, and the gardens of the house also contain quite large trees. The lovely roofline and detailed fretwork are still very evident, as well as the chimneys and the wrought-iron roof feature. Although the front fence has been changed, the side fence appears to retain properties of the original paling fence. The house is deceptively large, as it extends quite a way into the property. I don't know who lives there now - wouldn't it be interesting to find out?

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #86414)

- After I wrote this, but before it was finally published as a post, I received some further information on this property. Friends were actual owners of this house at one time, and I have in fact been there, albeit some years ago! When I took my photo for this post, I was conscious of the fact that our friends had lived in this street, but I had no clue as to which house it was. I was discussing the blog with them when it became apparent that the house I was working on was the very house they had lived in. Not only that, but they had some further information on the construction of that house and others near it. Let me continue.

Above is the photo of the house next door, "Devon" (the name is on the front gate) at 32 Moreton St. In fact, four detached but identical houses were built side by side in Moreton St, extending from the Hazel St corner to the Bowen Terrace corner.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #141763)
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The book "More Historical Homes of Brisbane", issued by the National Trust of Queensland, indicates that the houses were built in 1897 as a rental investment for a Mr George Willcocks. The house at No 28 was originally named "Kent", but was renamed "Cohoes" by Arthur Moore, the inhabitant at the time the first image in this post was taken. The book indicates that the architect was possibly Giovanni Stombuco. His father, Andrea Stombuco designed Palma Rosa at Hamilton and also St Patrick's Catholic Church in Fortitude Valley.

But I still don't know who lives there now! :-)

Edit: Sales brochure, June 2015:

(Photo: New Farm Village News; LJ Hooker)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Church of karate


  1. I love this sort of Then-and-now posts. I have tried a few on my main blog and on my Plumbing blog. When you say the image is courtesy of, did you ask or just download and attribute.

  2. Hi Julie
    The old photos that I use are noted as being out of copyright. I don't download them to my computer, I link to them in the blog.

  3. Julie
    I've just had a brief look through your Sydney Eye blog and I think that it is excellent. I'll be back for more!

  4. Your four detached but identical houses that were built in 1897 were gorgeous. Mr Willcocks' rental properties look like the last of the Victorian architecture and well into the Edwardian.

    I lived in a fabulous Victorian home in StKilda, the middle of three detached but identical houses that were built in 1890 for three siblings. It breaks my heart that the two adjoining homes were destroyed .. for cream brick ugly blocks of flats in the 1960s.

  5. Yes My Great Uncle GC Willcocks undertook may construction projects in Brisbane , yet he remains so un remembered , thanks for the article
    Peter Ball

  6. I live in Doon, the house on the corner of Moreton and Bowen Terrace. The names of the houses are Kent, Devon Garnock and Doon. They were originally built for rental, by professional people, complete with servants quarters, but some of the families then bought the house they had been renting. There are quite a number of photos of the residents of Garnock in the John Oxley library. They were from Germany and renamed their house Westfalia. The people who lived in Doon (he was a surveyor) were relatives of a British General. They had a stained glass panel inserted in the front door with 'Pro Regi" (for the king) written in it. It is still there. As both families lived in the same houses through both World Wars I often wonder how relations were between them. The old lady who lived in Garnock died Just before we moved in. She had been born in that house. When we bought our house back in the 1980's it was flats and we turned it back into a family house. Micheal and Milton live in the house you have written about.

    1. I used to visit that house in the 80's and 90's, I was good friends with Bill and Guy who I went to school with and also remember their little sister Laura, all the kids in New Farm either knew or knew of each other, riding around on bikes, playing video games, exploring the power house etc. Not sure what their dad did but their mum was a teacher. Another friend of ours 'Ben' also lived a door or two down, not sure if it was 28, we all went to school together.

  7. I heard Bulldog Drummond bought one of these with his Fitzgerald Inquiry pay?


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