This fine timber house was designed by architect James St. Clair Ferguson circa 1889 for banker James Congreve and provides evidence of the pattern of development in the Ascot area at the end of the nineteenth century. In the 1950s, the house was converted for use as flats but has since been restored as a house.
This nineteenth century house was built around 1889 for James Congreve, a banker and was designed by architect James St. Clair Ferguson.
In the 1880s Hamilton was characterised by the coexistence of large estates bearing fine homes, and large areas of undeveloped land held by speculators. This vacant land was steadily subdivided into suburban allotments. Later the grounds of some of the fine estates were subdivided as well, particularly after the arrival of the tram line through Hamilton to Ascot in 1899.
This house, like many other properties in Ascot, was built on land which was owned and sold by a succession of land speculators. Up to the 1880s, large sections of Allotment 1 changed hands several times. In 1888, James Congreve purchased 1rood and 25 perches of this land situated on Lancaster road. The house was built in 1890, and he resided there through to 1907. By this time the house had been named Wellington. The property was transferred to Congreve’s son, James junior, in 1905, though James senior continued to live there for two years.
The house was designed by architect James St. Clair Ferguson while he was working for the short lived architectural partnership, Nicholson and Wright. He was about 18 years of age at the time. Drawings he prepared for the house were later published in the Building and Engineering Journal, 1891-92. Ferguson specialised in country homesteads, even at this early age, and later designed the Gladstone Meatworks. He eventually became Principal Railway Architect for Queensland Railways.
The house was built at a time when Ascot and Hamilton were emerging as elite suburbs populated by the wealthy. The area offered several advantages. It was cooled by sea breezes and was sufficiently close to the city to make commuting to work a reality for professionals, public servants, and businessmen.
During the time he lived in Lancaster Road Congreve rose through the ranks of the Federal Bank and Building Society, eventually becoming manager by the turn of the century. In 1907 he departed to manage the Bank’s branch in Rockhampton. James Congreve junior lived at the house until 1917.
In the early 1950s the house was converted for use as flats, though it does not appear to be in use as such today. The house is presently very well maintained.
This high-set timber residence is of the Federation style with a symmetrical frontage and a separately roofed encircling verandah. The main roof is a transverse hipped-roof with two street facing gables projecting from either end of the hipped-roof. Two brick chimneys are symmetrically located along the transverse ridge.
Square timber posts with decorative brackets, capital and cast iron balustrading support the gently curved S-shaped verandah roof. A gabled pediment over the verandah entrance is supported by masonry pylons and highlighted with a decorative arched element in the entablature. The front garden is enclosed behind a timber picket fence and gate in front of a hedge. Style and type of the building indicates that it is from the 1890s-1915 period.
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 it demonstrates the historical pattern of the Hamilton/Ascot area during the last decades of the nineteenth century when the area was emerging as an elite suburb.
The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class or classes of cultural places
As a fine example of a timber Federation Bungalow.
The place is important because of its aesthetic significance
As a house of elegant proportions and pleasing symmetry featuring twinned gables and chimneys and a broad verandah.
The place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organization of importance in the city’s or local area’s history
As a house designed by James St. Clair Ferguson, who designed this house at an early stage of his career.
Citation prepared by — Brisbane City Council (page revised September 2020)