Type of place
This house, with an attic featuring a central narrow dormer window, was built c1888. It was given the name ‘Wendouree’ by owner/occupants John and Leopoldine Reisky in 1890. Norfolk Road contains six heritage-listed homes that reflect the change in land usage from farming to residential that occurred in the South Brisbane peninsular area during the 1870s and 1880s. Unlike the other five houses, ‘Wendouree’ sits on a standard block size and so reflects the changes to the area caused by the Undue Subdivision of Land Prevention Act of 1885. This legislation outlawed the arbitrary subdivisions of land that had previously afflicted the development of Norfolk Road.
The site forms part of Western Suburban Allotment 24 that was acquired by Thomas Dowse under Deed of Grant on 27 December 1845 at one of the very early land sales held in Brisbane. In 1866-67, the rich farming flats of which this block formed part, were gradually subdivided for residential purposes. Charles Cutbush purchased this block but became a victim of the 1866 financial crisis. When he was declared insolvent, the land passed first to well known businessman William Henry Miskin, before John Reynolds acquired it in 18721. This site is one of the few in Norfolk Road which does not provide evidence of the more arbitrary subdivisions of land which preceded the moves towards orderly development as reflected in the Undue Subdivision of Land Prevention Act of 1885.
‘Wendouree’, as this house was known by 1890, was from 1888 the residence of John Reisky. Reisky’s wife, Leopoldine, had acquired the title to the land in the previous year. There are some indications that the house may have been built prior to the Reisky’s ownership when John H. Reynolds who owned the property since 1872 and he had mortgaged it for £400 in 1876. Owner-occupancy passed from the Reisky family to that of Gustave Augstein after responsibility for Leopoldine Reisky’s estate passed to Gustave’s wife Ida. Though the title was not transferred until 1908, Gustave Augstein is listed in residence at ‘Wendouree’ from 1900 until 1918. Ida changed her name by deed poll in early 1918 and then following the death of mortgagee Rosa Gerrard in 1920 the property was sold to Thomas Hard. His son, Robert, acquired the property in 1925 and resided therefore for two years before using the property as a rental investment. This practice appears to have continued throughout the 1930s. Since 1956, owners of the property have reflected the multi-ethnic composition of the population.1
By 1886, horse drawn trams running from the Boundary Hotel at West End to Breakfast Creek provided transport facilities for residents of Norfolk Road.3 The proximity to one’s place of work ensured that once this area was subdivided, it would become a desirable location for skilled artisans and for the upwardly mobile sections of Brisbane’s population. The provision of transport facilities enhanced the potential of the area and ensured that rental properties provided a sound investment. The numbers of residences constructed in this area in the late 1870s and 1880s are indicative of the rapid growth of population and the boom in the building at this time. In the twentieth century, industrial development encroached on the locale. While Norfolk Road remained relatively intact as a residential area, the cordial manufacturing works on the adjacent lot signalled the changing patterns of development.
One of the few surviving artisans’ residences from that early wave of residential building in the local area, it underscores the continued importance of the South Brisbane peninsula as a respectable residential area. Its extended use as an investment property, the long-term tenancies that it attracted, and subsequent ownership by Non-Anglo Australians also reflect changing patterns of settlement in the South Brisbane peninsular area.
This is a simple house with a gable roof-form incorporating an attic with a central narrow dormer window. The front verandah with its shallow hipped roof has been enclosed with a stuccoed fibre-cement and incorporates narrow openings for glass louvers. The central entry doorway has a projecting aluminium awning above it. The timber boarding of the sidewalls remains with a timber casement window to the attic in each gable end. Both the main roof and the verandah roof are sheeted in corrugated iron.
Statement of significance
Relevant assessment criteria
This is a place of local heritage significance and meets one or more of the local heritage criteria under the Heritage planning scheme policy of the Brisbane City Plan 2014. It is significant because:
The place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of the city's or local area’s history
as an artisan's residence built in the Norfolk Road after the 1885 Undue Subdivision of Land Prevention Act stopped small block housing in the South Brisbane peninsular area.
The place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of the city’s or local area’s cultural heritage
being an middle class 1880s timber and corrugated iron residence featuring an attic lit by a central narrow dormer window and inserted into a steeply pitched gable roof.
Titles Office Records
Post Office Directories, Titles Office Records
Greenwood and Laverty, Brisbane 1859 – 1959, p. 438
Citation prepared by — Brisbane City Council (page revised September 2020)