As the majority of Australia's residents live along the coastlines, it is no surprise to know that early white inhabitants of steamy Brisbane also sought out waterfront vantage points, either for recreation and leisure or in order to build cooler dwellings with ocean views.
Sandgate, north of Brisbane, was such an early discovery. From the 1850s there were moves to establish a port there, and the sub-division of land commenced shortly thereafter.
In the late 1880s an American carpenter and boat-builder named Samuel Drew and his family arrived in Sandgate and Drew found work at a joinery. From 1889 onwards, Samuel Drew built a large family house on Cabbage Tree Creek, and at the same time constructed a boatshed in order to build boats. The photograph below from around 1907 shows a view from the creek with the boatshed in the foreground and the residence behind it.
This house was built in stages and being owner-built it has excellent structure, although the end result is that its style is somewhat unusual. The viewing tower atop the large central dormer stands out in more ways than one.
The following image is from around 1979 and provides a closer look at the intricate work on the balustrading and roof line. If you look closely, you will notice that the fretwork visible at the top of the tower in the earlier photo is missing here - that was the result of damage from a cyclone in 1952.
Next we can see a colour photograph of the house, this from about 1983.
Samuel's descendents kept the house after his death, and his grandsons converted the residence into two flats in the late fifties in order to draw some income from the property. It was reconverted into a single house in 1966, and sold by the Drew family in 1967.
It is believed that the house is still a private residence, and here is a recent photograph.
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