Monday, 9 August 2010

1928 Queenslander house

Mr Rooney, a respected builder, paid us a visit yesterday. We are planning on sprucing up the exterior of the house. You know, repair and replace stairs, add window hoods, remove wood rot and replace windows. All in preparation for exterior house painting.

Anyhow, it was a very interesting conversation and if all goes to plan we will have a schmick looking house before too long.

Mr Rooney's visit also reminded me that I had always meant to go to Brisbane City Council's Archives to find out when the house was built. It's my feeble attempt to ensure that whatever external changes we make are not too out of kilter with the original era of the house.

To Council Archives, I went; with an historical property title in hand.

My title search, which was done earlier this year, told me the land was purchased in November 1927, but there are no details about when a dwelling may have been built.

Council archives has the original Register of New Building records which gives you an approximate date of a building approval.  For the Sow's Ear, February 1928 is the date recorded in the book, so one can assume the house was built over the following 12 months.

The records also told me that one of the original owners, Stanley Stables (he owned it with sisters Zoila and Florence), worked for Queensland Main Roads Department; the builder was T.D Griffiths in Adelaide Street, Brisbane; and that the house cost 550 pounds to build.

I was able to view, on microfiche, Council plans from 1956 which included an outline of the existing house on the property. 

It told me that in 1956, the house was not yet sewered as the outhouse was in the backyard and that there were no back steps (The back deck may have been added after Stanley's death in 1988 by the next owners). There was also a water tank in use in the 50s.

Some of the modifications made to the house, such as the bay window in our bedroom and the verandah being enclosed, predate 1956. 

Hmmm... it's all Stanley's fault for doing some of the "improvements". And it all forms the wonderful history of the house.

The staff at Brisbane City Archives could not have been any friendlier or helpful. If you are located in Brisbane and felt inclined to do any sort of house research, I would highly recommend you give them a phone call to see if they can assist.


  1. That is fascinating! I should look into the history of my house too, though very likely it was built without planning permission since it was just a hunting cabin, no services at all.

    When I lived in Sydney some houses had dunnies still, always with honeysuckle planted round them, splintering wood and squares of newspapers on a nail, how bracing. And flies, lots of flies. Some improvements really are improvements!

  2. That's great research ... and a wonderful testament to you about how you value the providence and dignity of your home.

  3. How interesting to investigate the history of your home. I know our was moved here but that's about it. Can't wait to see what plans your builder comes up with. Thanks for the tips and links.

  4. How interesting! It's great that you were able to see so much. I'd really like to do the same thing - I know a few things about our place, but would love to see an old photo.

  5. How cool...interesting to think when it was built in line with historical events. Do you know how many other families have lived there or is it just them and then the guys you bought it from, cheers Katherine

  6. How cool is that - at least you have some idea of the history of your house now. My sister lives in an old workers' cottage that's over 100 years old, and the most information on her place came from her old neighbour across the road. He knew the ins and outs of all the residents in the neighbourhood. Great stuff! K xx

  7. Amazing history... some days I would kill to have a project like your house!

  8. It's so awesome that you were able to dig up some historical information!

  9. I did something similar with my house, didn't get nearly as much information. I always find those organisations so helpful. And Stanley and his sisters sound really great. They must have lived there a long time. I know you did a post on this I must check it out.

  10. thats so cool. interestingly, i have never been curious about any of those details about my house. huh
    great detective work

  11. that's so cool! love finding out history of places, must have been exciting. jx

  12. How cool to learn all these fascinating details. I've been doing some research on our place too - my gosh its hard to recognise ours from the original floor plans. The 80's have a lot to answer for!


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