Apparently in days of yore, gentlemen's houses sometimes included a museum. This would be where the gentlemen kept those fascinating treasures one picks up on one's travel. Stuffed bears, lions' heads, elephant's foot umbrella stand - I think you are following me. Sort of like today's spare bedroom. Here's a picture from around 1895 of one such museum from a house in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #43930)
Admittedly, I can't see too many stuffed bears in there. It looks more like a collection of crystal, glass and pewter ornaments and so on. It is believed that the house that held these treasures was Lochiel, which was in the news recently. (No, they didn't find a stuffed bear!) Here is my recent photo of Lochiel.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
The reason that it made the news was that the present owners, who purchased the house for $6.4 million in 2006, had some alterations done to the residence, which happens to be heritage listed. Alterations (without prior approval by the Queensland Heritage Council) to these buildings is not allowed. When you purchase such a property, this information is part of the contract of sale. Further, the owners of this property own a business in the real estate industry, so it could be assumed that they would have been well aware of the rules protecting such a property.
Anyway, this happened; it was dealt with by the courts; the owners pleaded guilty; they were fined; it was reported in the Courier-Mail. What then really shocked me was the reaction of some people who
I confess to a loss of personal identity here, because I just don't get that reaction. Am I an "elitist" (sorry John Howard!) or worse still, a wanker? Or are these emailers merely bogans with no sense of history? It's no wonder that the state's heritage properties are going to hell in a hand-basket.
I admit that the house may not be everyone's cup of tea - it has been described as being of "eclectic design" and "idiosyncratic". But this house was built in the 1860s, should it not be preserved? And should we not enforce the laws that enshrine that preservation? Read about the house and the lifestyle of its then owners in this article from the Brisbane Courier of Thursday 16th May 1907. And here's a picture of the area from 1868. It shows the original part of Lochiel (then known as Runnymede) in the centre of the photo, and the rocks to the right of it are named Cameron Rocks after the then owners.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #159742)
The social fabric of our history is in these buildings, we need to look after them.
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