We do know that he was one of a group of people who, in 1888, petitioned to, and were successful in breaking away from the Shire of Bulimba to form the Shire of Coorparoo because they considered the Bulimba Shire administration to be too distant to property consider their concerns.
We have not yet been able to discover further information about him although our research is continuing and we will forward any additional facts that come to light.
We have also been unable to ascertain exactly when the house was built. The Post Office Directory of 1888 shows that J.F. Oberthur lived in Ashton House, Ashton Street, but it is not clear whether this is the same house. The title deed shows the next owner of subdivisions 14-17 to be Elizabeth Regina Macintosh, “a married woman”, surely one of few married women to own property in 1890. The Post Office Directory of 1892-93 lists Elizabeth McIntosh in the Oberthur Estate.
The first reference to the house as “Isleworth” and the first conclusive proof of its existence is in the Post Office Directory of 1901, which list the next owner, Alfred Everett, in Ashton St, Oberthur Estate.
Although the exact date of construction cannot be determined, it appears that “Isleworth” was built between 1888 and 1900 since it displays the architectural features of this Late Victorian Period. It has a hip roof with a separate section over the verandah which runs along three sides. The roof has a flat square piece on the very top with a decorative pressed metal ridge.
“Isleworth” was one of the first houses in the Camp Hill district. The Camp Hill State School’s Golden Jubilee edition of their magazine “Mirrabooka” (1976) mentions that until the First World War the Camp Hill area belonged entirely to the vineyards and dairy farms (p4). As late as 1901 there were only six residences other than “Isleworth” listed in the Post Office Directory for Ashton St.
A former local resident, Mr James Forster, has said that it was a magnificent home. As can been seen from the Brisbane City Council Water Supply and Sewerage Department Detail Plan no. 899, it was then the largest house in the street and one of a very few in the area to be named. It was obviously therefore one of the grander homes of the district, as well as one of the oldest.
The house has a basically square plan, with what was probably the kitchen at the rear. The fact that it is on very low stumps may indicate that it was built early in the period since this was the custom until perching houses on high stilts was developed as a solution to termite infestations. There were other outbuildings, perhaps stables, but these are no longer in existence.
According to local history, the area was settled by German migrants of whose number, or a descendant of whom, the original owner, J.F. Oberthur, may well have been. See Section 1 for further historical details.
“Isleworth” appears to have been built in the last years of the 19th century. It therefore displays an architectural style of which there are not many examples in the south eastern suburbs, since most of the houses were built at a later date. The Brisbane City Council Water Supply and Sewerage Department Detail Plan no. 899 shows one other home in Ashton St which appears to be of a similar style. This house has long since disappeared.
The house has certain characteristics which indicate that it was built in the period named:
- modified pyramid roof with flat section on top
- metal ridge decoration on roof
- basic square plan
- verandah on three sides
It has other features which distinguish it from the majority of these houses:
- a kitchen at the rear with a chimney
- an attic with two dormer windows
There are very few houses in Camp Hill with one of these features, let along both. See Section 1 for further architectural explanation.
Judy Rechner of the Coorparoo and Districts Heritage Group commented that there were no ordinary houses in the south eastern suburbs listed on the Queensland Heritage Register. The local community stands to lose this potentially attractive house and this example of an architectural style that is somewhat rare in the district.
National Trust of Queensland historian, Ray Sumner, in More Historic Homes of Brisbane (1982) mentions attics with dormer windows as a feature of cottages built before 1880. “Isleworth” has two dormer windows. She also describes a house at Eight Mile Plains (“Hughesville”), which, while on a somewhat grander scale, shares many architectural features with “Isleworth”. “Hughesville” was built in the late 1880s.