Monday, May 17, 2010


(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #63597)

Architect Richard Gailey (above) has already had plenty of exposure in these pages, but this week we are looking at three contrasting examples of his very eclectic work. Today we visit the grand house he designed for the Mayne family, built on a hill overlooking the river at Toowong. Here is an early photo of the house, pictured in 1918.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #74257)

Mrs Mary Mayne bought the property at Toowong in 1878 after the death of her husband Patrick, and the family moved there from their Brisbane residence. There was already a dwelling on the property called Moorlands Villa. After Mary died in 1889, her children decided to build a new house and they engaged Richard Gailey to design it. They named the house Moorlands, and it was built in 1892. Here is an photograph of the house that was taken in 1971, and below that is what the building looks like today.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #11848)

(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The Mayne children (none of them ever married) owned the property until the death of the final survivor, Mary Emelia, in 1940; the house at this time was bequeathed to the University of Queensland. Moorlands was subsequently sold to the Uniting Church, and they built the Wesley Hospital in the grounds behind the house. The Wesley Hospital sign can be seen above the roof in the photo above. As well as the Gailey-designed exterior, the house is known for its internal timber detail and stained glass windows. An old gate that used to stand at the bottom of the property has been saved and shifted closer to the house.

(Photos: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

And finally, a view from the northern side of the house (above), featuring the tower which would have provided excellent views of the Brisbane River.

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Next: Chook raffle


  1. There seem t be very few, if any, photos of the interior of Moorlands. The woodwork and stained glass is probably impressive.

  2. Yes the stained glass window is magnificent. I lived there from 1957 to 1962. I loved the huge stair case and the expansive space the villa offered. Played often in the cellar. Ah such memories. Now am 74.

    1. hi Gordon my mum and her brothers and sisters lived they too from 1954 to 1967,my be you mite know them they were the laycock Regards Alex....

    2. A very late reply as I have only just this minute found your reply.
      Yes I do remember the Laycock children. From memory one was Beverley but have lost track if the other two . Yes one was Colin

    3. Hi Alex. Sorry took so long to respond.
      Yes I do remember the Laycock children.
      Colin and Beverley as my memory serves me correctly. Been a very long ago since I was living there.
      Regards Gordon.

  3. The Mayne family who lived there were my ancestors.

  4. My late Brother Jay and I lived there in the late fifties.

    1. Gordon ex Moorlands in 1957. I seem to Remember a Jay Armitage and ? Randal. Or am I off the beaten track?

  5. Its seems a great shame to me that there is no public access whatsoever to this property and its utilitarian use is taking its toll. Maintenance is also lacking. A great shame that property bequeathed so generously is being left to ruin.

    1. Agree. I went there this morning and just ignored the signs. Paint is peeling off. There are rotting boards. Pretty sad.

  6. Hello David.
    The building has bee in decay for very long time now . Has been since before I went to live there in the 50s. The tower was locked out of bounds because of decay as was the second floor. When I was last there the lower verandah was also showing signs of rot as well. The paint work looked okay but obviously now starting to peel. I was told a long time ago that repairs were stopped because the original timber was no longer available for the repairs from original sources that came in from England.
    Yes the Maine family were childless as I was taught. When I was in Auchenflower last a few years ago I found Access from the car park on the corner of Coronation Drive and Chasley road. But my son who lived near by in Towong said a while ago the public counld not enter the building to view the stately home. I guess they did not have a tour guide to show visitors around and or they had no memory of what the home was like from say someone of my prespective who actually lived there.

  7. Well my reply has gone very wrong and not arrived. Will try to get it sorted. Gordon


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