Brisbane Airport BNE Issue 5 - page 13

Hanworth House, East Brisbane
“This house has a goodness that you can feel when you walk through the
door,” says Marisa Vecchio, owner of Hanworth House in East Brisbane.
In 1913 philanthropist Mary Wienholt set up Hanworth House in
memory of her mother as a hospice for “impecunious gentlewomen”.
When Vecchio and her husband bought it, the residence needed
considerable restoration, which was just weeks away from completion
when a fire, lit by an arsonist, destroyed 70 per cent of it in March 2013.
It was finally finished in July this year.
The house (
pictured right
) was built in 1864, commissioned by George
Poynter Heath, Brisbane’s first portmaster who had nine children. Legend
has it that ghosts of the family remain, with haunting signs such as
hall bells that ring every now and then, despite not being connected to
electricity for more than 20 years. In 1995 the Anglican Church bought
the property and it became the Hanworth Home for the Aged until the
Vecchios bought it two years ago.
Each room is named after a woman connected with the house, such
as the laundry room called Joyce – its namesake was an illiterate laundry
woman so beloved by her mistress that she was allowed to remain in the
house even after her mistress died.
“Former residents and people who used to work here have happy
memories of the place,” says Vecchio. “I want to pay homage to
Hanworth’s sense of community. This time, in the corporate community.”
Now the home provides boutique accommodation for rural
professional women.
“When I came across Hanworth House I had recently lost my mother
to ovarian cancer. It was a sad time in my life but I think I was meant to
buy it and restore it in memory of her – just as Mary Wienholt did for her
mother exactly 100 years before.”
The Vecchios’ hard work was recognised when the estate received a gold
award from the Queensland Heritage Council and the National Trust’s
highest honour, the John Herbert Memorial Award, for most outstanding
nomination in the national awards this year.
Jacobi House, Indooroopilly
“We are fortunate to know the original owners who have been invaluable
in our restoration,” says Amanda Baxter of her 1957 property in
Indooroopilly. “Owners of older homes don’t have that luxury. We
are pleased to have gotten to know the Jacobi family and gained their
approval. I think they have enjoyed the restoration as much as we have.”
Jacobi House (
pictured left
) is thought to be the only one of its style in
Australia, as architect Campbell Scott applied modernist principles to
a traditional Queenslander. Painted white, black and pumpkin-orange,
the wooden home is compact with three glass sides linking the inside to
the outside environment. Its central chimney is the building’s supporting
structure and the roof is suspended under spectacular orange beams.
Built for practicality, it stands on stilts, with louvers in the chimney for
hot air to rise and escape, a sprinkler on the roof for cooling and a wrap-
around veranda.
“It is the polar opposite of most of the homes built in the post-war
period, which are fully enclosed,” says Amanda, who, with her partner
Ken, have become somewhat experts on 1950s architecture through
their ongoing renovation project, which they are doing with help from
Amanda’s father. It has taken seven years so far. They have linked up with
other lovers of modernist design in Australia and have even travelled to
Palm Springs in California, a mecca for homes of the period. They have
sourced authentic furniture from as far away as Germany.
“Houses of this era are worth preserving because they reflect a change in
society,” says Amanda. “After the war, homes became places to entertain;
people were prosperous and began to be open to ideas from outside of
Australia. Jacobi House is part of Australia’s architectural history.”
Open House weekend is on 11 and 12 October with free tours of
buildings, talks and guided walks. For the full list of buildings and
activities see
BNE October/November 2014 |
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