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  • 600229
  • 203 Clarence Road, Indooroopilly


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
7 February 2005
Residential: Villa
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
7.6 Maintaining order: Defending the country
Stanley, Francis Drummond Greville
Construction period
1889, House
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


203 Clarence Road, Indooroopilly
Brisbane City Council
-27.50492175, 152.97603712


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Tighnabruaich is a large, two-storeyed timber residence constructed c1889 for HC Stanley, Chief Engineer for Railways in Queensland, to a design by his brother, former Colonial Architect FDG Stanley. The place is important in demonstrating the pattern of growth of Brisbane, specifically at Indooroopilly, where middle-class suburban residential development was attracted to the district after the opening of the Indooroopilly Railway Station in 1875. As one of a group of substantial, late 1880s residences constructed in Brisbane, Tighnabruaich also contributes to our understanding of the nature of the Queensland economic 'boom' of this period. The property is significant for its association with allied interrogation of prisoners of war during World War II and, during the second half of the 20th century, as the showcase residence of officers commanding the Australian Army in Queensland.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

The house in its garden setting remains comparatively intact and a good example of a well-designed 19th century middle-class villa. It is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of its class, including planning, use of materials, decorative detailing, riverside location and the retention and layout of the grounds (including early carriageway, tennis court and plantings). The building is a fine example of the mature domestic work of FDG Stanley and contributes to the body of knowledge about the work of this prolific and influential Queensland architect.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The building has aesthetic value as a well-composed, picturesque residence influenced by Gothic revival architecture popular during the second half of the 19th century. It contributes to the townscape of Indooroopilly and is a landmark along the Brisbane-Ipswich railway.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

Tighnabruaich has a special association with the Australian Army as the residence of the generals commanding the Army in Queensland for close to half a century. Trees planted by resident generals remain as evidence of that association.


Tighnabruaich, overlooking the Brisbane River at Indooroopilly, was constructed c1889 as the home of Henry Charles Stanley, Chief Engineer for Railways in Queensland. It was designed by his brother, the former Colonial Architect, Francis Drummond Greville Stanley.

Tighnabruaich is situated in central Indooroopilly. Despite having been surveyed into farm allotments in 1858, this area did not attract agricultural settlement to the same extent as the surrounding areas of Fig Tree Pocket, Long Pocket and St Lucia (originally known as Indooroopilly Pocket). Central Indooroopilly was steeply ridged and covered in dense scrub and the steep river banks did not provide ready access to river transport, the principal means of communication and trade with Brisbane and Ipswich in the mid-19th century.

Sections of central Indooroopilly remained undeveloped and isolated until construction of the Brisbane to Ipswich Railway through the district in the mid-1870s. Indooroopilly Railway Station was opened and named in 1875 and the first railway bridge across the Brisbane River at Indooroopilly was built in 1876, providing the impetus for closer suburban residential settlement in the district. A small township developed near the railway station, which by the late 1880s included a hotel, shops and a carpenter. In the last quarter of the 19th century a number of fine villas were erected on the banks of the Brisbane River at Indooroopilly, within reasonable proximity of the railway station.

The land on which Tighnabruaich is situated was part of a 42 acre block (portion 46, parish of Indooroopilly) with frontage to the Brisbane River, first sold at government auction on 27 September 1859 to James Henderson. There is little evidence to suggest that Henderson farmed or otherwise developed this land. In April 1873 the portion was transferred to Louis Stamm, a German-born Brisbane businessman who had had a varied career in Queensland since 1855 as a merchant, newspaper proprietor and brewery owner.

By October 1873 the Queensland government had determined that the Brisbane to Ipswich railway would cross the Brisbane River at Indooroopilly, that the rail corridor would pass through portion 46 and that a railway station would be established on part of this portion. In that month a road (Station Road/Indooroopilly Station Road) was surveyed from Moggill Road to the site of the proposed Indooroopilly Railway Station. The segmentation of portion 46 was formalized on a survey plan dated March 1875. The railway corridor and new road were transferred to the Queensland government the same year and Louis Stamm retained the remainder of portion 46 on 3 subdivisions. In April 1875 an extension of Indooroopilly Station Road (later known as Indooroopilly Road, then Lambert Road) was surveyed from the road to Long Pocket (Indooroopilly Road) to the government road along the eastern boundary of portion 46 (Musgrave Road - later Clarence Road). In June 1877 an extension of this new road was surveyed through portion 46 to the Indooroopilly Railway Station.

At some period prior to June 1891, Louis Stamm sold re-subdivision 3 of subdivision 1, a block of nearly 9½ acres bounded by the railway line on the west, the Brisbane River on the south, Musgrave Road on the east and Indooroopilly Station Road (Lambert Road) to the north, to Henry Charles Stanley. This was the future site of Tighnabruaich.

HC Stanley was born in Edinburgh in 1840. He studied engineering at Edinburgh University and subsequently worked as an engineer in Scotland before emigrating in the early 1860s to Queensland where he was employed as an assistant engineer on the construction of the colony's first railway (between Ipswich and Toowoomba). He was employed as a railway engineer by the Queensland government from 1 January 1866 and was appointed Chief Engineer for Railways in 1872, a position he held until 1901.

Tighnabruaich was designed by HC Stanley's elder brother, Francis Drummond Greville Stanley. Francis was born in Edinburgh in 1839 and trained in Scotland as an architect. He emigrated to Brisbane in 1862 and practised privately before gaining employment with the Queensland government in the office of the Colonial Architect, Charles Tiffin, in 1863. Following Tiffin's retirement FDG Stanley was appointed Colonial Architect from 1 January 1872, a position he held until 1881. Throughout this period of government employment he accepted a number of private commissions and continued in private practice in Brisbane, Maryborough and Toowoomba after he left the public service. Stanley was a prolific architect and his work is found throughout Queensland.

His design for Tighnabruaich was for a decorative, two-storeyed timber residence with a single-storeyed timber wing with basement. The roof comprised a number of steeply pitched gables and dormer windows (after domestic-scaled Gothic revival buildings) and was clad originally with timber shingles. It is thought that the house was erected c1889, as postal directories first record HC Stanley as resident at Indooroopilly in 1890. Prior to this he resided at Ascog in Church Street, Toowong.

The house was conceived as a villa in a park setting and about the time Tighnabruaich was constructed the property was cleared of vegetation, with the exception of a few specimen Eucalypt spp. A typical late 19th century garden was established in the immediate vicinity of the house, including the planting of an avenue of trees along a circular carriageway off Musgrave Road (later Clarence Road) and some Ficus spp.

In 1891 HC Stanley entered into a complicated financial arrangement with New South Wales grazier Solomon Wiseman, who held title to Tighnabruaich from June that year and who took out a substantial mortgage on the property from the Queensland Investment and Land Mortgage Company. The memorandum of transfer associated with this transaction also records that Stanley had purchased the land from Stamm for £3,100. Wiseman later subdivided the property and four subdivisions fronting Clarence Road were sold c1900. A Lambert Road subdivision was sold c1904. Following Wiseman's death in late 1901 the property became the responsibility of trustees. At this time HC Stanley and his family moved to Hamilton and Tighnabruaich was used briefly as a boarding house for the Bowen House boys' school in Ann Street, prior to the sale of the house on 8 acres 1 rood 7.2 perches (the total of subdivisions 1-2 and 8-14) to Herbert Brealey Hemming on 6 February 1904, for £2200.

Hemming was a solicitor with the distinguished Brisbane legal practice of Wilson, Newman Wilson and Hemming. He and his family resided at Tighnabruaich until c1915/16. During their occupancy tennis parties were regular events at Tighnabruaich. Dairy cattle were grazed on part of the land and part of the basement of the house was used as a dairy. From c1915/16 Hemming leased the house to Mrs Emma McGill, who operated it as a boarding house until the mid-1920s. The house appears to have remained vacant from the mid-1920s until requisitioned for use by the military during the World War II. One source suggests that a Dr Underwood occupied Tighnabruaich as a private hospital in the late 1930s, but this has yet to be confirmed.

An article written for the Queenslander in 1932 described various elements of the grounds of Tighnabruaich, including some 'fine old gum trees' in the cow paddock adjacent to the railway line; entrance gates to Clarence Street giving access to a drive lined by Camphor Laurels; a tennis court to the south east of the drive; hedging, steps to the lower grounds, accessed through a creeper-clad archway; and some 'fine Jacarandas and other flowering trees'.

Between 1916 and 1919 another house owned by Hemming, Witton Manor, was moved to the Tighnabruaich grounds from its original site further upstream at Indooroopilly (now occupied by the junior school of St Joseph's College Nudgee) and renamed Witton House. This was positioned in the south west corner of the grounds, facing the river, where it remained until its demolition in 1967. Hemming resided at Witton House from at least 1919 until c1938. Following Hemming's death on 8 March 1942 Tighnabruaich was administered by Queensland Trustees Limited on behalf of the Hemming estate.

The property was requisitioned from about October 1942 for use by a joint United States-Australian Intelligence Unit, the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) associated with the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre. These units directed the handling of captured Japanese prisoners and documents. During the war many huts and tents were assembled on the grounds for use by American soldiers; brick cell blocks were constructed in the center of the property, north west of the main house, to accommodate Japanese prisoners of war being held for interrogation; two interrogation rooms were erected to the immediate east of the main house; an Orderly's Office was established on the north west side of the main driveway off Clarence Road; a translation room was erected on the tennis court; Witton House functioned as the Sergeants' Mess; and Tighnabruaich was partitioned for office accommodation. The roof of the eastern verandah of Tighnabruaich was removed during this period.

Toward the end of the war the Australian Army decided to retain Tighnabruaich and the property was transferred to the Commonwealth on 13 June 1945. ATIS vacated Tighnabruaich about July 1945 and until July 1946 it functioned as a 7th Australian Women's Army Service barracks. During this period the main house was used as an officers' mess and Witton House accommodated non-commissioned officers. Other ranks occupied the huts and tents in the grounds. The property was then used solely for Army administrative purposes until 1949, when the main house was converted into two flats to accommodate senior Army officers. At this time the original eastern verandah was removed and a staircase to the upstairs flat was installed. By July 1951 the translators' room had been removed from the tennis court and in 1955 a small timber tennis shed or storeroom was erected adjacent to the court.

From January 1951 until mid-1998 Tighnabruaich functioned as the residence of the General of Command, Northern Command, Australian Army (later Commander 1st Division). The remainder of the site continued to be used for army purposes (Indooroopilly Barracks and Witton Barracks). After 1957 work to Tighnabruaich was carried out to restore it as a showplace and entertainment facility for the senior army officers who occupied the house as a family home. From this period many of the alterations made between 1942 and the 1950s were replaced with original or reconstructed fabric. A carport was added to the house in 1958 and a lavatory was installed on the ground floor under the main staircase in 1962. The staircase to the former upstairs flat was removed in 1966 and the eastern verandah was reconstructed.

Between January 1951 and March 1998, 20 senior army officers occupied Tighnabruaich as a family home. During this period a tradition was established whereby each resident general planted a tree on the property.

In 1998 the site was subdivided by the Commonwealth and Tighnabruaich house, on a reduced 1.19 hectares, was sold as freehold to private owners. The remainder of the property was retained by the Commonwealth. The grounds associated with Tighnabruiach house retained a river frontage, the early circular carriageway and the mature trees lining this drive, the tennis court and trees planted by resident army generals since 1951. Any other evidence of the military presence on the site has been removed. Tighnabruaich is occupied currently as a residence.


Tighnabruaich occupies a block of 1.19 hectares in central Indooroopilly, with frontages to the Brisbane River and to Clarence Road. The house is positioned overlooking the river to the south. Access to the house is via a circular driveway off Clarence Road.

Tighnabruaich is a timber framed house on brick piers. The main part of the residence is two-storeyed, with a single-storeyed, 'L'-shaped wing on the western side. The fall of the land towards the river provides space for a brick basement under the single-storeyed section. The whole has a corrugated iron clad roof comprising a series of gables and dormer windows. Single-storeyed verandahs are found on the northern and southern elevations of the building and along the length of the eastern elevation.

The house is asymmetrically arranged in both plan and elevation. The stud walls are clad with chamferboard externally and lath and plaster internally.

The principal entrance to the building is in the north elevation, where an elaborate covered porch provides shelter for the main entrance, which has a six-panelled cedar door with semi-circular fanlight and sidelights.

The ground floor contains a number of large public rooms with bay windows and french doors, arranged around a central stair hall. An entrance vestibule with a tessellated tiled floor leads to the stair hall through an arched opening filled with a carved timber screen. The central stair is an open well with half-turn timber stair with landings and has very fine cedar joinery including turned balusters, prominent newel posts and spandrel panelling.

Generally the interior of the house has plaster ceilings, timber boarded floors and very fine stained cedar joinery. Most doorways have operable fanlights above. Plaster archways provide access to the major rooms on the ground floor and these rooms have plaster ceiling roses and deep plaster cornices.

The upper floor of Tighnabruaich has a number of smaller rooms, again opening off the cental stair hall and off halls radiating from this. Some of the upper floor rooms have partially raked ceilings of plasterboard, following the line of the roof trusses.

The grounds include an early carriageway lined with mature trees; large areas of lawn to the north of the house; and a tennis court to the east of the drive. At the southern end of the site the ground slopes steeply to the river, the bank being heavily vegetated.

Image gallery


Location of Tighnabruaich within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022