This expansive home situated on Gregory Terrace opposite Victoria Park was built in the early 1860s for Alexander Raff, a Scottish immigrant who arrived in Brisbane in 1851. He bought the land on which the house has been constructed in 1860. This first photograph we have of the house is from 2008.
Alexander Raff was quickly active in the Brisbane community after his arrival. He was treasurer of the School of Arts and also of the Queensland Philosophical Society; he was a director of the National Mutual Life Association and the Brisbane Gas Company; he was on the Board of National Education and the steering committee for the Children's Hospital.
Later he was a partner of Smellie & Co and from 1884 until 1910 he was a Member of the Legislative Council, Queensland's upper house of parliament. He married in 1862 and The Courier reported that the birth of his first child occurred at Grangehill on 18 April 1863.
Grangehill may have been designed by fellow Scott James Cowlishaw who was a friend of Alexander and his brother George. The Brisbane tuff and sandstone residence had verandahs added to it in the 1880s or 1890s, giving it more of a Queenslander appearance. Here is a current photograph.
Alexander Raff died in January 1914 and the property was passed to his son James, the eldest of the Raff's six surviving children. James Raff allowed the Red Cross to use Grangehill as a convalescent home after WWI. Then in 1924 James engaged architects Chambers and Ford to prepare plans to convert the house into two flats. It was later used as a boarding house and was inhabited by US servicemen in WWII. James Cluny Raff, the nephew of James Raff sold the property in 1949. It was bought by the Carmelite Fathers who owned it until 1995.
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