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Friday, January 22, 2010


On my way home from visiting Mum and Dad I drove through the town of Maryborough and as I looked at the houses it set me thinking. ( Dangerous, I know !!!)

There is a particular style of house in Queensland called "Old Queenslander" and they aren't found in any other part of Australia.

These houses are built on " stilts" - wooden posts anywhere from 6 to 9 feet off the ground.
The idea was to get up high and catch the breezes - any breeze you could in this hot, muggy climate.
I guess you were also up out of the reach of flood waters too as this is the land of the cyclone and rain depressions which can bring enormous amounts of rain in a very short amount of time.

Old Queenslanders are built of wood and always have a big verandah on the front and usually on the back too.
Most started off with the verandah all the way round, then the owners often built it in to provide a bathroom and extra berdooms for children as they came along. They were called "sleepouts"

Like this one.

Often the kitchen is also on this back verandah or even a whole separate room is built with a separate roof at the back of the house so that the kitchen does not heat the house up with its wood stove and in case of fire- always a danger in wooden houses with wood burning stoves.
Of course these days the wood stoves have been removed and the kitchens modernised.

You can see the separate kitchen on the back of this one.

There are lots of different styles of decoration on these verandahs which , I think, make the houses very pretty.

Now Queensland has only been settled by white people for a little more than 150 years so some of these houses may be quite old by Australian standards - maybe 60 to 100 years old.

Of course not too many have survived intact.

There is the problem of roofing material.
TIN  -  which of course rusts like this ...

.....but modern tin rooves don't rust like this anymore.

Then there is the problem of Termites or "White Ants" as we call them.

Devilish little white "ants" which burrow underground till they find wood .
Then they tunnel up through the wood eating it all the way till all that is left is the paint on the surface!

They do enormous damage and are a constant problem in building wooden houses.

In the "Old Queenslanders" they blocked them by placing a tin "plate" over the top of the support posts then built the floor on top of that hoping the horrible little varmits could not get through as you can see here.

This lovely old style of house remains popular still.
Many have been purchased and saved from ruin by being lovingly restored and are very comfortable to live in while retaining heaps of character.

This is possibly the most beautiful one I have ever seen.

It is in Maryborough and it is ENORMOUS

I just love them don't you?



  1. I like them! They remind me of the homes on the outer banks of North Carolina and South Carolina and Florida too. My Dad was born in Georgia and the old homes there were built up the same way probably for the same reason - they were called "shot gun" homes because each room led to the next one. I remember as a little girl visiting relatives that lived in the "shot gun" homes. Thanks for sharing.

    Teacup Lane (Sandy)

  2. I just love seeing your photos Helen. Always something new to see for us here in the UK. Stunning houses, but I don't like those dreadful ants!
    Hope you are having a good weekend,
    Hugs and Love Suex
    I'm late stopping by computer problems all sorted now. Thankfully!

  3. I love Queenslanders - when they have been reno'd they look lovely. The Maryborough one is gorgeous - love to see inside it

  4. Hi Helsie
    I am from Maryborough originally, and it was by mistake that I stumbled upon one of your photos of a Queenslander home that I recognised. Then as I scrolled down I saw the ENORMOUS home you mentioned. My family Doctor - Dr Stark - and his family lived in that home...and to my knowledge Mrs Stark still lives there alone, as all the children have left home. Thanx for the trip down memory lane...

  5. Hi Helsie I live in Hervey bay the next town across from Maryborough so pass by that Queenslander on my travels often. Its stunning. I live in a Raised up now two storey Queenslander that we have lovingly restored. Thanks for sharing your blog with the world. It is a great read. Cheers Anthony

  6. I lived in one in Brisbane 1934-1953 and as a plumber worked on quite a few, I remember some houses in Redhill with stilts 20-25 foot high in streets coming off Enoggera Terrace. one side would be only 6 foot and the other side much higher due to the steepness of the roads. Good for starting the car when I couldn't get it to start. What I mostly remember is the lovely soft wood timber used in the construction, especially ceder which mostly all window frames and doors were made of. Even remember in one house in Ascot where the facia (to which the gutters were connected) were 40ft x 1.5ft x 4 inchs one piece ceder