Being situated in mid-block position between Avoca and Feez Streets, the house was situated before roads were developed around it. As a consequence, Avoca Street was named after the house. This is confirmed by early street maps of the area. According to Mrs Murphy, the current owner, it was originally called ‘Avoca’ by Frederick Stewart Brown.
The area was characterised by prestigious homes on large blocks like this residence. It was most likely built in the mid 1880s for Frederick Stewart Brown, a Queen Street stockbroker. Land titles show that he had taken out a ₤900 mortgage with the Queensland Investment and Land Mortgage Company in 1885 which was released in 1889. He then took out a mortgage in the same year with the Royal Bank of Queensland for ₤2000. An Estate Map dated circa 1888, identified the house along with the residences of C H Buzacott, E G Scriven and A McNab.
Brown subsequently went into liquidation in 1892, a victim of Queensland’s 1890s Depression. The property was acquired by the Royal Bank of Queensland, a major financial institution involved in the development of colonial Queensland. The bank owned the property for about 27 years from 1892 until it was sold to Harry Green in 1919.
During the Bank of Queensland’s ownership of the property it was mostly occupied by Edward Denny Day, the bank’s General Manager from about 1896 onwards. Day was a well known local identity, being first president of the Yeronga Bowling Club in 1912. In 1913 he received an illustrated plaque from the Residents and Property Owners of Yeronga District. The plaque has a picture of ‘Avoca’ and an illuminated address expressing appreciation for services rendered by him to the Yeronga community.
‘Avoca’ was featured in an article in Queensland Country Life in May 1902. It was described as one of the leading residences in the area and the home of well known general manager of the Royal Bank of Queensland. The article described ‘Avoca’ as a ‘high-set’ residence with a ‘great verandah’ and views of the D’Aguilar Range.
Also described were the well laid out rose garden, avenue of deciduous trees, vegetable plot, profusion of pot plants on the south verandah, pagoda like canary house, bush house, summer house and well fitted workshop.
An article in the Brisbane Courier, 3 October 1931, noted some of the early dwellers living between the railway line and the river that played a prominent role in the community, including E Denny Day. Other local residents cited included Messrs William Douglas Grimes (‘Kadumba’), Charles Buzacott (‘Yeronga-lea’), Alex McNab (‘Blair Athol’), Adolph Feez (‘Astolat’) and William Williams (‘Rhyndarra’).
‘Avoca’ had a number of owners following Day’s occupancy. The property was transferred to Gregory Bernard Vincent Murphy and Mary Murphy in 1953. It was their family home from that time. Mary Murphy, the current owner, has occupied the house for over 50 years.