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Newstead House and Park

  • 600265
  • 199 Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead


Also known as
Newstead House; Newstead Park; Newstead Substation
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Residential: Detached house
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
7.2 Maintaining order: Government and public administration
Cowlishaw, James Percy Owen
Construction periods
1846–1867, Newstead House - Main house
1846–1950, Newstead House
1846–1950, Newstead House - Trees of social, historic or special significance
1891–1900, Newstead House - Service wing
1927–1928, Newstead House - Tramway substation
1927, Newstead House - Gate - entrance
1929, Newstead House - Draughtsboard
1952, Newstead House - Memorial - war
Historical period
1840s–1860s Mid-19th century


199 Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead
Brisbane City Council
-27.44252407, 153.04589498


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

Newstead House (1846), as the oldest surviving residence in Brisbane, is important in demonstrating the pattern of the early period of free settlement in Queensland. It served as the unofficial government house during Wickham's appointment as Government Resident between 1853 and 1859. The expansion of the house, financed through the business activities of George Harris, is evidence of the early growth of commerce in Queensland.

Newstead Park is important as the original garden setting for Newstead House. As an early public park from 1915, Newstead Park is important in demonstrating the world-wide influence of the town planning movement in encouraging town and city beautification schemes with the establishment of public parks. The Australian American Memorial located within the park, is the only American war memorial of its type in Queensland and the first of two such memorials in Australia. It is important as evidence of the Australian-USA alliance that was so vital in securing Allied victory in the South-West Pacific area during World War II.

Within an integrated suburban network of substations, the former Brisbane Tramways Substation No. 5 is important in demonstrating the pattern of Queensland's industrial development. In particular, the development of electricity generation and supply, the development of a public transport system and the subsequent suburban expansion of Brisbane in the 1920s and 1930s.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

The core of Newstead House is rare surviving evidence of an 1840s Queensland colonial residence.

Criterion CThe place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Queensland’s history.

Newstead House has the potential to yield information that will contribute to our understanding of Queensland's history. As the oldest surviving residence in Brisbane, it has the potential to provide information on the domestic lives of Queenslanders during the nineteenth century.

Newstead Park has the potential to reveal information on the development and design of the gardens of early residents of Newstead House, the early garden layouts of the public park, as well as the leisure activities of generations of Queenslanders. The park may also provide information on the residences which were removed in the 1920s.

Previous archaeological investigations at Newstead House have already demonstrated the potential of the site. Further investigation may reveal the foundations of the earlier servants' quarters (replaced by the current Annex between 1888 and 1896); ancillary buildings, underground services and domestic artefacts.

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

Newstead House demonstrates the principal characteristics of a large colonial residence of the mid-late 19th century in Queensland, with a formal entry vestibule, multiple living rooms and bedrooms, separate servants' quarters, and high quality joinery and fittings, including three marble mantelpieces. Generously-sized formal rooms, separated by folding and sliding doors, were designed to accommodate large social functions, and the encircling verandahs, which are an adaptation to the Queensland climate, are accessible from all rooms of the house.

The design and layout of Newstead Park demonstrates the evolution of landscape design from the early 20th century in Queensland. Designed by Harry Moore, the park includes his signature curved pathways radiating from access points, enhanced by avenues of palms, and designed to complement the sublimity of Newstead House and contribute to the distinctive tropical nature of Brisbane's open spaces.

The design of the Australian American Memorial, comprising a classical column surmounted by an eagle, is typical of such memorials throughout the world.

A carefully composed, small-scale, utilitarian building with a temple-like form, the former Tramways Substation is important as a fine example of the work of architect Roy Rusden Ogg, who employed neo-classical detailing to integrate these industrial buildings into their often residential settings. In its design, scale and materials the building displays the principal characteristics of a Brisbane tramways substation, including dark brickwork, classical design, large windows, high ceiling, ventilation panels, large entry doorway and gantry system.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Newstead House and Park have aesthetic qualities that have been admired and valued since the site of the original 1840s cottage was chosen to take advantage of stunning views of the Brisbane River. Positioned on a high ridge surrounded by open parkland, the house is a prominent and iconic landmark, highly visible from nearby suburbs, major roads and the river. The design of the house, with its wide verandahs and long, low form, directs attention towards the views, evoking a sense of tranquillity.

The park, laid out over a steeply undulating site with mature trees, open lawns, curving pathways and formal garden beds, provides an attractive and picturesque setting for the house, allowing it to be viewed from a variety of positions. The strong visual appeal of Newstead House and Park is evidenced by the extensive use of images of the place in publications and travel guides to promote Brisbane and Queensland over the decades.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

Newstead House and Park have had a special association with generations of Queenslanders as a place of historic importance and a place for family events, celebrations and rites of passage including weddings.

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.

Newstead House has a special association with its founder Patrick Leslie, a pioneer of the Darling Downs and the Queensland wool industry; with Captain John Clements Wickham, Government Resident of the Moreton Bay settlement; and with the family of entrepreneur and Member of the Legislative Council, George Harris.

Newstead House has had a special association with the Royal Historical Society of Queensland and the Queensland Women's Historical Society which based their activities in the house for 49 and 17 years respectively. Both organisations were advocates for the ongoing conservation of the property, and both have made substantial contributions to the study of history and heritage in Queensland.

Newstead Park is significant for its association with horticulturalists, landscape designers and Brisbane City Council Superintendents of Parks, Harry Moore and Harry Oakman, both of whom have made significant contributions to the development and design of parks in Brisbane and elsewhere in Australia.

The Australian American Memorial has special significance for veterans of the World War II South-West Pacific campaign and their descendants.


Newstead House is a large mid-nineteenth century house located on a ridge of parkland overlooking the Hamilton Reach of the Brisbane River at its confluence with Breakfast Creek, and is four kilometres north-east of the Brisbane Central Business District (CBD). The core of the house is the oldest known surviving residence in Brisbane, established by Patrick Leslie in 1846. The house has undergone numerous structural changes, particularly between 1846 and 1867. It was the first heritage property in Queensland to be protected by an Act of Parliament. Newstead Park was acquired by Brisbane City Council and formally opened in 1921. It was designed according to landscaping principles of the early 20th century and has retained the layout and plantings initiated by the Superintendent of Parks Harry Moore from 1915.

John Oxley explored the Brisbane River in 1823 and 1824 and recommended the area around the confluence with Breakfast Creek would be an ideal place to establish a settlement.[1] The local indigenous people had been given the name of the ‘Duke of York's Clan' by European residents and the area was known as ‘Booroodabin', meaning place of oaks.

Following the 1839 closure of the penal settlement, Brisbane town was surveyed and offered for sale from 1842. Land on the banks of the Brisbane River near Breakfast Creek was purchased by brothers-in-law Patrick Leslie and John Clements Wickham in April 1845. Leslie purchased Eastern Suburban Allotments (ESA) 63 and 64 (sold as ESA 13 at the time), while Wickham purchased ESA 62.[2]

Captain John Clements Wickham served in the Royal Navy under Philip Parker King (son of NSW Governor Philip Gidley King). He settled in New South Wales in 1841 where he married Anna, the daughter of Hannibal Macarthur, nephew of John Macarthur who had established a merino flock at Camden Park. Patrick Leslie had married another daughter of Hannibal's, Catherine (Kate) in 1840. Philip Gidley King (son of Philip Parker King) married another sister, Elizabeth Macarthur (his cousin) in 1843,[3] while George Leslie married a fourth sister, Emmeline Macarthur in 1848.[4] Wickham was appointed Police Magistrate for Moreton Bay in January 1843, living in the Commandant's Cottage in George Street.[5]

Patrick Leslie, the second son of William Leslie, ninth laird of Warthill and eighth of Folla in Scotland, came to Australia in 1834 to work on his uncle Walter Davidson's property Collaroi in the Upper Hunter.[6] To gain experience he went to work on John Macarthur's property at Camden,[7] and by 1839 moved to Philip Parker Kings' property Dunheved near Penrith.[8]

Explorer Allan Cunningham told him of the Darling Downs to the north that he had discovered in 1827. Patrick, his younger brothers George and Walter and their sheep, headed north in 1840 selecting runs which became Toolburra and Canning Downs Stations. Still financially indebted to his uncle, Leslie was eventually assisted by his father to clear some debts and purchased two parcels of Brisbane riverfront land in 1845 in his father's name.

By the end of 1845, Patrick Leslie was sourcing building materials for a house he was planning for himself and his wife Kate and son Willy. He named it ‘Newstead', and the family moved in between April and July 1846. Patrick Leslie wrote to his father providing a detailed description of the house, as well as floor plans and a site plan. Constructed from brick, stone and timber, the original house was two storeyed, with living rooms and bedrooms on the upper floor and servants' rooms, cellars and kitchen on the lower floor. A steep staircase in what is now the entry vestibule connected the two floors, and other utilitarian structures were located to the rear (western side) of the house. An 8ft (2.4m) wide verandah on the first floor eastern side, adjoining the sitting room and main bedroom, faced the best views of the river.

He wrote a lengthy description of the setting of the house and the plants grown in the garden, including Kate's garden on the southern side of the house. There was a well, milking yard and cow pen, and a road following a gully to the west. In the same letter, he told his father that he had purchased a run adjacent to Canning Downs in his son's name, and kept his stock on his brother's property. The family had barely settled into the house at Newstead when he decided to return to the Downs. The Leslies departed Newstead on 10 October 1846, leaving it under the management of two employees.[9]

In June 1847 Newstead House was sold to Captain John Clements Wickham for £1000, although not formally transferred by deed until 1 February 1854.[10] The sale was a mutually beneficial arrangement as John and Anna Wickham were about to build on their adjoining lot at Newstead.[11]

Wickham undertook extensions in late 1847 when they moved in. A sketch dated 1848 by Owen Stanley, shows the building was light in colour, (indicating it had been rendered) with verandahs extended to the north and south with the bedrooms extended onto the verandahs. [12]

In April 1853, Captain Wickham was appointed Government Resident for Moreton Bay, having served in the role since January that year. The house then became the unofficial government house. A servants' wing adjacent to the house is evident in a painting produced in July 1853.[13]

In April 1854 the Governor General, Sir Charles Fitz Roy, came to Moreton Bay on an official visit, staying at Newstead. Following a public dinner,[14] Wickham arranged for a meeting on the subject of separation from New South Wales, between the Governor General and key citizens.[15] While Wickham supported separation meetings, the actual event led to the abolition of his position. The new Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, arrived in Brisbane on 10 December 1859. Wickham left the new colony of Queensland in January 1860 and returned to England.[16]

Newstead House was offered for sale from September 1862,[17] having been occupied by the Attorney General, Ratcliffe Pring, from February 1860. By December 1862 George and Jane Harris advertised for servants for Newstead, presumably indicating their occupation of the house.[18] George Harris, a member of the Legislative Council of Queensland, had married Jane Thorn, daughter of Member of the Legislative Assembly and businessman George Thorn, in Ipswich in 1860. George Harris' brother John had initiated a mercantile and shipping business in Brisbane in the 1840s. George joined the business in 1848 and the firm J & G Harris was formed in April 1853, with John as an agent in London. The Harris brothers established a store in Short Street at North Quay and operated a fleet of ships, a fellmongery, tannery, and a boot and harness factory.[19] The town of Harrisville, south of Ipswich, evolved from J & G Harris's cotton plantation and gin.[20] George Harris commissioned architect James Cowlishaw to design Harris Terrace in George Street in 1865-67 (QHR 600121). He also called for tenders for repairs and additions to Newstead House in 1865 and 1867.[21]

George Harris had acquired the Newstead property (Lots 62, 63, and 65) in 1867, mortgaged for the sum of £4000 to the trustees of the estate of JC Wickham, having previously leased the property.[22] The repairs and additions undertaken by Cowlishaw in 1865 and 1867 led to a major re-design of the house, building four new rooms on both the northern and southern sides. Each of these extensions included new double fireplaces and chimneys. The staircase to the lower floor was removed and replaced by a trapdoor in the verandah floor. A new entrance was created by building a retaining wall which supported the extended front verandah. Fill was deposited to create a gently sloping lawn on the western side, taking water away from the basement structure. Sandstone steps were built, providing a new western entrance to the house. This made a basement of the ground floor of the Leslie structure. The verandahs were extended to 10 feet (3m) in width, provided with railings, new posts, gutters and rainwater heads. The roof shingles were replaced with slate, although sheet metal was used on the verandahs. A marble floor was installed in the entry foyer and marble mantelpieces built into the formal rooms. A substantial new kitchen and servants' quarters were also built during the Harris era.[23]

George Harris arranged for a new certificate of title under the Real Property Act in May 1874.[24] The property was then mortgaged for 10 years to James Taylor of Toowoomba for £10,000.[25] Further building work was required when the stables burnt down in November 1873.[26] Harris declared his business to be insolvent in August 1876 and both Newstead and Harris Terrace were transferred to James Taylor by December 1876.[27]

The Harris's continued to lease the property for many years. Their financial position may have been buoyed by the distribution of the estate of Jane's father, George Thorn, who died in April 1876, with extensive property interests including Claremont homestead (QHR 600589), land in Ipswich and Cleveland (Thornlands),[28] and Normanby Station (QHR 600737) which were offered for sale in 1878-9.[29] James Taylor subdivided much of the estate into housing lots, retaining 11 acres (4.5ha) on which Newstead House was located. The estate was advertised for sale in July 1878.[30]

A further lease for Newstead House was drawn up to George Harris in March 1887, which was surrendered in November the following year.[31] Liquidators were called in to wind-up the affairs of J and G Harris.[32] An attempt was made to sell the property, now reduced to 4.5 acres (8200m2) in December 1888. The newspaper advertisement referred to the main house as being built of stone and brick with a slate roof, comprising an extra large drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, principal bedroom, library, three bedrooms and bathroom with 10ft (3m) verandahs all round; a wooden wing with a slate roof comprising four large bedrooms, a workroom, two storerooms and bathroom; a kitchen wing built of brick with a slate roof incorporating a kitchen, pantry, large storeroom, two servants' rooms, scullery and man's room; and an outhouse consisting of a four stall stable, man's room, harness room, large coach house and laundry. Also on the property was another four stall stable, fowl house, landing jetty, boathouse, bathing house, two 20,000 gallon (90,000 litre) underground tanks and various other tanks; and a magnificent flower, fruit and vegetable garden.[33]

Further subdivision of the surrounding land into suburban lots occurred in 1888 and in 1890,[34] after it was transferred to the Federal Building Land and Investment Society Ltd.[35] An auction sale of all of the Harris's furnishings and belongings was held on 22 April 1890, and George and Jane departed the following day.[36]

Newstead House played host to numerous important visitors over the years, including high ranking members of the clergy,[37] [38] the Governor General, and royalty,[39] as well as hosting large events such as weddings, dinners, balls and boating events on the river, particularly during the occupation of the Harris's.[40] Daughter Evelyn Harris married RG Casey, manager of her grandfather George Thorn's former property, Normanby Station. The 1888 wedding was followed by a lavish reception at Newstead House.[41] Her son Richard, born in 1890, was Governor of Bengal from 1944-46 and in 1960 was appointed life peer to the House of Lords, the Upper House of the United Kingdom. Lord Casey became Governor General of Australia in 1965 to 1969.[42]

The departure of the Harris family was the end of an era for the house, in that no subsequent owners or tenants occupied the dwelling for any substantial length of time. The sale of furnishings of a tenant in March 1896 indicated that the substantial servants' quarters and kitchen of the Harris era had been replaced with the building now referred to as the Annex. It included a kitchen, pantry laundry and possibly one other servants' room.[43] The property was owned by Lysaght Brothers and Company for several years from August 1896. Lysaghts had plans for a wire netting and galvanised iron factory on the site that were never realised.[44] Newstead was briefly run as a boarding house in 1906.[45]

Newstead House was sold in October 1908 to Caroline Amelia Heaslop, wife of Thomas Heaslop, a wholesale grocery merchant, and by November 1909 a major refurbishment had been undertaken. The house continued to be leased to tenants. The Council of the City of Brisbane began negotiations with Mrs Heaslop to purchase the property in 1915[46] and it was formally acquired by the Council of the City of Brisbane in 1918.

The Council had been keen to acquire this prime riverfront site for parkland, and were influenced by the international town planning movement of the time. The Queensland Town Planning Association had formed in March 1915, advocating the need for more metropolitan parks, particularly along the river.[47] In 1918, the property that comprised most of the original ESA 63 including Newstead House was transferred to the Council. This was later devested to the Brisbane City Council (BCC) in 1933 under section 30 of The City of Brisbane Act 1924. A number of options for the use of the house were proposed, including availing the property to returned soldiers as a hostel.[48] Parks Superintendent Henry (Harry) Moore moved into Newstead House in late 1917 or early 1918.[49] The slate roof was replaced at this time, with red painted concrete tiles.[50]

Harry Moore was appointed as Superintendent of Parks in September 1912, initially based at Bowen Park which had recently been vacated by the Acclimatisation Society. From 1909 Moore had been curator of Canterbury Park in Eaglehawk, near Bendigo in Victoria.[51] He had a distinctive style of park layout with a preference for circular garden beds. He preferred the fluidity of gently curving walkways radiating from a few entrance points. His influence can be seen in one remnant section of Canterbury Park, as well as in his other works in Queensland including New Farm Park (QHR 602402), Bowen Park (QHR 601523) and Gympie Memorial Park (QHR 602729). He is also well known for using dry stone walls to create raised garden beds, examples of which can be found in Centenary Place (QHR 602442), Yeronga Memorial Park (QHR 602462), and in the streets of Kangaroo Point and Spring Hill. For shade trees, he favoured a bold mix of palms, pines and dramatic flowering species such as poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) and jacarandas (Jacaranda mimosifolia). [52]

Moore's appointment occurred during the time of the nascent town planning movement which, among other things, promoted the building of roads in relation to the contours of the land. This is evident in Moore's path layout in Newstead Park. His design included the removal of all riverbank vegetation and the creation of stone revetment walls, removal of old fences, construction of paths, path lighting, and planting additional trees in front of the house.[53] He planted about 150 trees, palms and shrubs initially and then prepared trenching and beds for 700 roses.[54] Newstead Park was officially opened in January 1921.[55]

In 1923, the centenary of the arrival of John Oxley was celebrated in Newstead Park with a band for entertainment.[56] The band rotunda appears to have evolved from a temporary platform provided in 1921, becoming a bandstand by 1925.[57] A World War I trophy cannon was unveiled in the park, near the rotunda, in November 1922.[58] In 1924 the Council announced further resumptions of contiguous land.[59] Twelve buildings were auctioned for removal, from Newstead Avenue, Breakfast Creek Road and Newstead Drive, in March 1926.[60] Stone entrance pillars with lamps mounted on top were built in November 1927.[61] The park also features a large draughts board installed in 1929.[62] A newspaper report in 1929 discussed Harry Moore's ten years of work in the park. Mature trees he retained included bunya pines, Moreton Bay ash, silky oaks, white Cyprus and the Flacourtia ramoutchi of East India. He also planted avenues of Queen Palms, here and in other parks and streets of Brisbane, and was responsible for introducing the distinctive tropical character to Brisbane's open spaces.[63] The large fig tree (Ficus infectoria) within the circular drive dates to the occupation by the Wickhams,[64] and appears to be the oldest tree remaining on the property. Moore and his family continued to live in Newstead House until late 1938.[65]

In 1927 the BCC Tramways Department announced plans to build a substation at Newstead Park.[66] Brisbane Tramways had evolved from a private company which established horse drawn trams in 1885 and a subsequent company delivering electric trams from 1895. The first power station for trams was built in Countess Street in 1897. Various arrangements with the City Electric Light Company continued to supply power until the Brisbane Tramways Trust was initiated by an Act of Parliament in 1922. After the establishment of Greater Brisbane City Council in 1925, which included the acquisition of the Brisbane Tramways Trust, there was an expansion of electricity supply and public transport.

Substation No. 5 in Newstead Park was designed by BCC architect and construction engineer Roy Rusden Ogg, and opened in June 1928. [67] Ogg designed at least 10 of the city's substations up until 1936, as well as the first two stages of the New Farm Powerhouse, which provided electricity to the city's tram network. A total of 10 tramways substations: Russell Street South Brisbane (1927); Ballow Street, Fortitude Valley (1928); Logan Road, Woolloongabba (1928); Petrie Terrace (1928); Windsor (1927, QHR 602492); Paddington (1930, QHR 601198); Norman Park (1935, QHR 602410); Kedron Park Road, Kedron (1935); and Ipswich Road, Annerley (1936), were built through to the mid-1930s, seven of which survive. Many had additions enabling equipment upgrades and a further 5 were built after World War II.[68] Only Newstead and Petrie Terrace substations retain the BT (Brisbane Tramways) logo.[69] To help integrate the industrial substation buildings into their often residential settings, Ogg used neo-classical detailing to ornament the facades.

By the late 1920s Brisbane City Council could not foresee a potential use for Newstead House except as a museum.[70] In September 1931 the Queensland Historical Society (founded 1913) approached the Lord Mayor, Alderman Greene, proposing that Newstead House be made available as an historical library and technological museum.[71] In May 1932, the Society was given use of 3 rooms,[72] although Harry Moore still occupied the house until late 1938. Between 1934 and 1938 a number of proposals were made in relation to the use of the house as a museum.[73] In March 1938 the Queensland Historical Society appointed a special committee to prepare a draft scheme for the creation of a Trust to control the proposed museum.[74]

In February 1939, the Finance Committee of BCC recommended that Newstead House be placed under trust for the use of the Historical Society of Queensland.[75] The Trust would administer the Newstead House Trust Fund and receive donations, bequests, legacies and grants.[76] The Newstead House Trust Act came into force on 1 March 1940, with the State Treasurer, Mr Cooper as chairman, and the Lord Mayor, Alderman Jones, and the President of the Historical Society, Mr Fergus McMaster, as trustees.[77] In preparation for its role as a museum, fire proofing of two rooms and repairs to the house were undertaken to the specification of architects R Coutts and Sons.[78]

From late 1942 through to the end of World War II, Newstead House was occupied by the Photographic Detachment of the 832nd Signal Service Company, Signal Section of the Unites States Army Services of Supply. The house was used as a barracks for the men, while nearby Cintra House housed the photographic laboratory. A gun emplacement was located on the riverfront beyond the bandstand.[79]

In 1950, the Annex was transferred to the Trust and a new certificate of title issued. These are now lots 1 & 2 on RP58673 (house and annex footprints).[80]

The Queensland Women's Historical Association, formed in April 1950, held its inaugural meeting at Newstead House. In late 1951 the Association was given use of the old Breakfast Room for housing records and equipment. It also involved itself with renovation of the house. The Association acquired its own quarters in 1966, purchasing a house known as ‘Beverly Wood' (later reverting to its original name ‘Miegunyah' (QHR 600055)) in 1967.[81]

From 1968 through to the early 1970s, a major renovation of Newstead House was managed by the State Works Department, facilitating its transformation into a house museum. The verandah timbers were taken up allowing the replacement of defective joists. Major earthworks were undertaken around the house at this time and the timber bathroom to the annex and the annex chimney were removed. Works on the basement included removal of plaster from brickwork, some re-pointing of brick walls, damp proofing and paving the floor. The house was opened to the public in February 1971. The works have been ongoing, including re-roofing with concrete tiles in 1977. [82]

David Gibson was appointed as curator in August 1974, a position he retained until 2011. He initiated the ‘Friends of Newstead' committee to assist in fundraising for the development and interpretation of the house.[83] The committee utilised the celebration of the house's 130th anniversary in 1976 to embark on a fundraising campaign to begin renovation and interpretation of the dining room and gentleman's library. Volunteers each devoted one Sunday a month, serving refreshments to visitors, and had raised $6500 by mid 1977.[84] The Royal Historical Society relocated to the former Commissariat Store (QHR 600176) in William Street in October 1981.

After the discontinuation of the Brisbane tramway system in 1969 the substation at Newstead Park, along with Brisbane's other tramway substations, became redundant to Council's needs. The substation was transferred to the Newstead House Board of Trustees in June 1977[85] and work commenced on its conversion into a resource centre. The first phase of the project included the removal of the electrical machinery, rewiring, re-design of the entry door, laying of new carpet and the repainting of the interior. Later a mezzanine level was installed to provide an office area.[86] The Newstead House Resource Centre officially opened in the former tramways substation on 29 September 1978.[87]

In August 1987 the Queensland Government proposed that Newstead House and Park be absorbed by the Queensland Museum[88] citing the advantages of placing the house and surrounding land under common control.[89] This proved to be a controversial proposal which never eventuated, although its administration was ultimately transferred from the Arts portfolio to that of the Department of Environment and Heritage in 1990. [90]

Newstead Park was managed by Harry Oakman, the new BCC Superintendent of Parks, from 1945. One of his first tasks was rejuvenating the many parks occupied by the military during the war years. He re-designed Newstead Park along Breakfast Creek following the realignment of the road for the 1959 construction of a new bridge. He designed and planted shrubberies on either side of the main drive, and filled in gaps in the line of palms with new palms of the same species as those flanking the Moore pathways.[91]

A number of structures and features have been added to the park over the years. A brick tool shed was built behind the substation in 1939. The American Memorial, a Helidon sandstone pillar (10.6m high) with an American eagle on top, was carved by sculptor Tom Farrell, of PJ Lowther and Sons. It was unveiled on 3 May 1952 by Governor Sir John Lavarack, marking the 10th anniversary of the American-Australian naval and air victory in the Coral Sea Battle.[92] The early band rotunda and World War I cannon were removed to allow for the new memorial. This was the first American war memorial in Australia. The second, similar in design, was opened in February 1954 by the Queen, in Kings Avenue Canberra.[93]

Another significant inclusion is the sandstone mounted tide gauge donated by the British India Steam Navigation Company to celebrate Queensland's Centenary in 1959. The stone housing was built by PJ Lowther and Son and the project unveiled in August 1961.[94]

A flagpole was donated to the Historical Society in August 1956 and it was erected near to the house in September, although taken down and reinstated during the renovations of the late 1960s.[95] It flies a replica of the Queensland Ensign which was first unfurled to honour the arrival of Governor Bowen in 1859. On the house wall outside the main bedroom is a plaque honouring Captain John Clements Wickham, donated by his grandson in 1933.

Near the American Memorial, is Lyndon B Johnson Place, unveiled during the American President's visit in 1966. A sundial was installed to the west of the front entry to the house, commemorating the generosity of the Rotary Club of Newstead in providing floodlighting to the river side of the house. It was relocated from a park in Holland Park to Newstead in 1977.[96] A memorial to the Australian Navy Corvettes was established in 1988, near Lyndon B Johnson Place. On the eastern side of the property, near to the site of the former Newstead Wharves, is the Oxley Memorial, constructed in 1983. There is a Service to Vietnam memorial, a Submariner's memorial, the Prisoners from Rakuyo Memorial and a memorial to Charles Willers, the founder of the first Rostrum Club. The park also contains a number of mature trees planted in honour of various people with links to the historical societies.[97]

Newstead Park and its facilities continue to be managed by Brisbane City Council. The lawn and carriageway providing access to the house was re-designed in 1987, initially paved in decomposed granite. The Friends funded paving to this area in 1987, due to damage to the floors from granite stones caught in visitor's shoes. A gazebo was built in 1984 near the site of the original band rotunda. A drinking fountain was donated in 1985 by the Brisbane Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson, who also organised for the relocation of a pissoir from Merthyr Road, New Farm, to a site between the house and the substation in 1987.

In 2006, the Friends of Newstead employed a conservation architect to refurbish the main bedroom of Newstead House. During the site works, the removal of non-significant elements such as the 1970s wallpaper and picture rail revealed: the outline of the 1865 wall that once divided the space into two rooms; fragments of early wallpaper; and the early ceiling which was sheeted over c.1940. The evidence gathered as part of the investigation informed the re-decoration of the room. The ceiling and rose were painted to approximate early colours found and the walls were papered from skirting to cornice with commercially available wallpaper similar to the original.[98]

Equitable access to the house was provided in 2013 with the installation of a disabled parking bay, and a lift and accessible toilets within the Annex, thereby ensuring the continued enjoyment of Newstead House by all Queenslanders. The property is valued for its historic significance as well as being a site for ritual events and celebrations, such as weddings. The house has appeared in numerous tourism promotions, travel guides and television programs over the decades, indicating its landmark status in Brisbane.


[1] Johnston, W Ross, Brisbane, the first 30 Years, Brisbane: Boolarong, 1988, pp. 12-16.

[2] Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April 1845, p.3; Survey Plan B12345; Application Package 3608, EHP.

[3] Shaw, AGL; King, Gidley (1758-1808); (no identified author) King, Philip Parker (1791-1856); O'Grady, Frank, King, Philip Gidley (1817-1904); Australian Dictionary of Biography, online, accessed 28 February 2013.

[4] Moreton Bay Courier, 8 January 1848, p.3.

[5] Fisher, Rod, The Best of Colonial Brisbane, Brisbane: Boolarong Press, 2012, p. 8.

[6] Diamond, Marion, ‘The Myth of Patrick Leslie' Queensland History Journal, vol 20 no 11 August 2009, p. 612.

[7] Onlsow, Sibella Macaruthur, Some Early Records of the Macarthurs of Camden, Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1914, p.

[8] Diamond, Marion, ‘The Myth of Patrick Leslie' Queensland History Journal, vol 20 no 11 August 2009, p. 613.

[9] Ballard and Roessler, ‘Conservation Study 1993, Newstead House 1846 and later', prepared for the Board of Trustees of Newstead House, submitted 11 March 1994, p. 23.

[10] Ballard and Roessler, p. 302 - referencing Package 3608 in old Titles System.

[11] Ballard and Roessler, p. 26-27.

[12] Ballard and Roessler, p.35-37 - referencing 1848 watercolour by Owen Stanley, State Library of New South Wales ZPXC281.

[13] Painting by Henry John Douglas Scott, held in the State Library of New South Wales DG SSv4/1 - Captain Wickham's Newstead Cottage Brisbane, July 1853.

[14] Illustrated Sydney News, 1 April 1854, p.5.

[15] Moreton Bay Courier, 15 April 1854, p.2-3.

[16] Moreton Bay Courier, 21 February 1860, p.2.

[17] The Courier, 23 September 1862, p.3.

[18] Courier Mail, 31 December 1862, p.3.

[19] Lack, Clem, ‘George Harris, 1831 - 1891) Australian Dictionary of Biography online accessed April 2013.

[20] Brisbane Courier, 6 December 1907, p. 10.

[21] Watson, Don and Judith Mackay, Queensland Architects of the 19th Century, Queensland Museum, 1994, p.p. 46-47.

[22] Titles Application Package 3608 - pre-Torrens system for Newstead House.

[23] Ballard and Roessler, p.132-133.

[24] Certificate of Title 10221052, EHP.

[25] Brisbane Courier, 28 October 1876, p. 6.

[26] Watson, Don and Judith Mackay, Queensland Architects of the 19th Century, Queensland Museum, 1994, p. 47; Brisbane Courier, 25 November 1873, p. 2.

[27] Certificate of Title 10221052, EHP; Ballard and Roessler, p. 67, refer to the transfer of Harris Terrace at the same time.

[28] Brisbane Courier, 23 October 1877, p.3.

[29] Brisbane Courier, 5 February 1878, p. 4; Brisbane Courier, 11 January 1879, p. 7.

[30] Brisbane Courier, 23 July 1878, p.4.

[31] Certificate of Title 10561170, EHP.

[32] Ballard and Roessler, p. 361; Certificate of Title 10561170.

[33] Brisbane Courier, 13 December 1888, p. 8.

[34] Survey Plans RP 9355, 9360, EHP.

[35] Certificate of Title, 10768037, EHP.

[36] Warwick Examiner and Times, 23 April 1890, p.2.

[37] Ballard and Roessler, p. 39-40, p. 307.

[38] Moreton Bay Courier, 8 July 1850, p.1.

[39] Queenslander, 29 February 1868, p.7.

[40] Ballard and Roessler, p. 59.

[41] Brisbane Courier, 24 May 1888, p.5.

[42] Casey, Richard, Gavin Gardiner (1890 - 1976), Australian Dictionary of Biography, online.

[43] Brisbane Courier, 25 March 1896, p. 8.

[44] Brisbane Courier, 20 October 1896, p.2;

[45] Brisbane Courier, 16 December 1905, p.2; Brisbane Courier 6 March 1906, p.8

[46] Brisbane City Council Minutes, 1916, 1917, 1918.

[47] McConville, Chris ‘Queensland's popular movement in planning 1914-1930: socialism, regularity and profit', p. 66, in Robert Freestone (ed), Cities, Citizens and Environmental Reform, histories of Australian Town Planning Associations Sydney University Press, 2009.

[48] Brisbane Courier, 1 March 1918, p. 6.

[49] Queensland Post Office Directory 1918; Wilson, Beth, Kay Cohen and Peter Marquis Kyle - Wilson Landscape Architects; ‘Conservation Study, 1996, Newstead Park, Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead', report prepared for Brisbane City Council Department of Recreation and Health, p.13.

[50] Ballard and Roessler, p. 135.

[51] Bendigo Advertiser 26 October 1909, p.4; Bendigonian, 13 January 1914, p.14.

[52] Sim, Jeannie, ‘Harry Moore, The First Superintendent in Brisbane paper produced from presentations to Brisbane History Group and Friends of Newstead House, 2000; Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, South Melbourne, Australian Garden History Society, 2002, p, 416.

[53] Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, South Melbourne, Australian Garden History Society, 2002, p, 440.

[54] Wilson, Beth, Kay Cohen and Peter Marquis Kyle - Wilson Landscape Architects; ‘Conservation Study, 1996, Newstead Park, Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead', report prepared for Brisbane City Council Department of Recreation and Health. p. 57.

[55] Brisbane Courier, 28 January 1921, p.6.

[56] Brisbane Courier, 30 November 1923, p.12.

[57] Ballard and Roessler, p.p.387 - 389.

[58] Brisbane Courier, 14 November 1922, p.4.

[59] Brisbane Courier, 30 April 1924, p.7.

[60] Brisbane Courier, 20 February 1926, p.13.

[61] Brisbane Courier, 12 November 1927, p. 7.

[62] Board of Trustees of Newstead House, Newstead House, self published, 1986 edition, p. 24; Brisbane Courier, 11 March 1933, p. 17.

[63] Sim, Jeannie, ‘Harry Moore, The First Parks Superintendent in Brisbane', paper produced from presentations to Brisbane History Group and Friends of Newstead House, 2000.

[64] Queenslander, 16 January 1930, p.50

[65] Courier Mail, 31 July 1934 P.11; Courier Mail, 9 November 1935, p. 22; Courier Mail, 17 December 1938, p.1.

[66] Brisbane Courier, 12 July 1927, p. 8.

[67] for a full description of the structure, see Brisbane Courier, 1 June 1928, p. 25.

[68] Brisbane Courier 1 June 1928, p. 25

[69] Substation information supplied by BCC archives in collaboration with Brisbane Tramway Museum.

[70] Brisbane Courier, 28 September 1927, p.14.

[71] Brisbane Courier, 17 September 1931, p. 10.

[72] Brisbane Courier, 21 May 1932, p .12.

[73] Newstead House Guide Book, n.d.; ‘Worth Preservation', newspaper clipping, 18 February 1938. Newstead House files, RHSQ.

[74] Newstead House Guide Book, n.d.

[75] Courier Mail, 25 February 1939, p. 7.

[76] Courier Mail, 23 November 1939, p. 7; Newstead House Trust Act 1939 Sections 7 & 10.

[77] Courier Mail, 23 February 1940, p. 14.

[78] Royal Historical Society of Queensland File 8634 - Newstead House repairs: Ballard and Roessler p.p. 396-400.

[79] Marks, Roger, and Peter, Dunn - Brisbane WW2 v Now, Book 1, Newstead House, self published July 2005.

[80] Certificate of Title No 192373 Volume 2577 Folio 5, EHP.

[81] Ballard and Roessler, Newstead House Conservation Study, pp. 404, 413, 420, 421

[82] Ballard and Roessler, p. 423-458; RHSQ File 8636.

[83] Ballard and Roessler, Newstead House Conservation Study, pp. 453-4.

[84] Australian Women's Weekly, 27 July 1977, p. 112.

[85] Certificate of title 15660142, EHP.

[86] Brisbane City Council Heritage Unit - Newstead House and Park file.

[87] Ballard and Roessler, Newstead House Conservation Study, p. 461.

[88] Board of Trustees minutes 27 August 1987, Board of Trustees Minute Book 13 July 1983-11 February 1993, NHA cited by Ballard and Roessler, Newstead House Conservation Study, p. 473.

[89] ‘State gets house: city keeps land', Courier Mail, 8 October 1987, Queensland Newspaper Library cited by Ballard and Roessler, Newstead House Conservation Study, p. 473.

[90] Courier Mail, 18 December 1990, Queensland Newspaper Library cited by Ballard and Roessler, Newstead House Conservation Study, p. 475.

[91] Council of the Heads of Australasian Herbaria, Australian National Herbarium _ Harry Oakman accessed 8 April 2013.

[92] Sunday Mail, 4 May 1952,p.3; Courier Mail 7 March 1952, p.3; see also oral history interview by Robyn Buchanan with Tom Farrell, Ipswich City Council library, online

[93] Canberra Times, 16 February 1954, p.6.

[94] Brisbane City Council, Heritage Unit file - Newstead House and Park.

[95] Ballard and Roessler p.p.410, 413, 429.

[96] Board of Trustees of Newstead House, Newstead House, self published, 1986 edition, p.26.

[97] Wilson, Beth, Kay Cohen and Peter Marquis Kyle - Wilson Landscape Architects; ‘Conservation Study, 1996, Newstead Park, Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead', report prepared for Brisbane City Council Department of Recreation and Health.

[98] Report of Margaret Lawrence-Drew, Master Bedroom Refurbishment report 2006.

[99] Room name allocations are consistent with those used in the Newstead House Conservation Study (1994, Ballard & Roessler)

[100] Not included within the heritage boundary

[101] Wilson, Beth, Kay Cohen and Peter Marquis Kyle - Wilson Landscape Architects; ‘Conservation Study, 1996, Newstead Park, Breakfast Creek Road, Newstead', report prepared for Brisbane City Council Department of Recreation and Health.


Newstead House stands prominently on a rise overlooking the confluence of Breakfast Creek and the Brisbane River in the Brisbane suburb of Newstead. Surrounded by the grounds of Newstead Park, the house is orientated with its long axis north-north-west and is situated approximately in the centre of the park. Sloping away from all sides of the house, the park comprises grassed lawns, pathways, garden beds and a variety of trees, some very mature. Breakfast Creek Road forms the western boundary of the park, while to the south is Newstead Avenue and private riverfront properties. The curving waterside edges of the park form a rounded promontory at the intersection of the creek and river. An entrance driveway ascends from the south-west corner of the park towards the house, culminating in a circular garden roundabout containing a giant fig tree. A secondary roadway continues past and around the house, exiting back on to Newstead Avenue. In addition to Newstead House and its adjacent Annex, the only other substantial building on the site is a former Brisbane Tramways electricity substation.

Newstead House

Newstead House is a long rectangular building with two levels. It comprises an upper level containing the principal rooms, and a lower level which is largely below ground. Constructed in stages, the walls and foundations of the house are a combination of stone and red-brown brick. The original 1846 central core has thicker walls than the rest of the house, with deep window and door reveals. External walls on the upper level are rendered and scribed to imitate stone blocks, while on the lower level the wall structure is largely exposed, revealing the different phases and methods of construction. The hipped roof is timber framed and clad in grey concrete tiles, with four brick chimneys protruding along the ridgeline.

The house has wide timber verandahs on all four sides. These have a corrugated metal sheeting roof, raked ceilings lined with timber v-jointed tongue and groove boards, timber posts with simple moulded capitals, and wide timber floorboards. The cross braced timber verandah balustrades with a central circle design are an iconic feature of the house. All timberwork is painted. The north and south verandahs are supported on brick piers with vertical timber batten screens between, and three bays of the southern verandah are in-filled with recent louvred panels.

Alteration to ground levels around Newstead House has resulted in the house appearing single storeyed from the east and west and double storeyed from the north and south. The ground level on the eastern side of the house is a few steps below verandah level, sloping steeply down towards the river, while on the western side a relatively flat formal landscaped courtyard area is seven steps below verandah level.

The western verandah entrance features a two-leaf louvred door with decorative louvred fanlight at the top of the sandstone entry steps, while entry to the eastern verandah is through two timber gates in the balustrade. A former trapdoor is still evident in the floorboards of the western verandah.

The main entrance in the centre of the western wall has a timber two-leaf door with decorative painted glass sidelights and transom. Windows along this side of the house are timber double-hung sashes, while the remaining three sides have glazed, low-waisted timber French doors with rectangular fanlights. Apart from the main entrance, all external openings are protected by louvred timber shutters.

The symmetrical plan of Newstead House is two rooms deep. On the upper floor, the larger public rooms and main bedroom are arranged along the eastern side overlooking the river, and smaller bedrooms and service rooms line the western side. There are no hallways, and rooms are accessed from the verandah or through adjoining rooms. Listed from north to south, room names[99] along the eastern side are the Library, Drawing Room, Dining Room and Master Bedroom. Those along the western side are the Breakfast Room, Girl's Bedroom, Sewing Room, Vestibule, Morning Room, Gentleman's Dressing Room and Bathroom. On the lower level, only the original core contains former rooms, the rest of the area remaining uninhabitable subfloor space. These rooms are named (clockwise from the northern corner) the North Cellar, South Cellar, Kitchen, Laundry and Servant's Quarters.

Floors on the upper level have wide polished timber floorboards, with a black and white marble tiled floor in the Vestibule. Walls are plastered, except the Bathroom which is lined with vertical beaded timber boards. All plaster walls are wallpapered up to picture rail height and painted above. Most ceilings throughout the house are replacement fibrous plaster sheeting, apart from four rooms on the western side which retain plaster ceilings. The only remaining early plaster ceiling rose is in the Master Bedroom.

Interior doors on the upper floor are four-panel cedar doors on brass hinges set within moulded cedar frames, most with glazed transom lights. The large rectangular opening between the Dining and Drawing rooms has folding timber doors, and pocket sliding doors occur between the Drawing Room and Library, and the Dining Room and Master Bedroom. A door at the southern end of the west wall of the Master Bedroom is inoperable, with no door opening behind it. Other joinery throughout the house is cedar, including deep skirtings and architraves.

There are three fireplace openings on the upper level, in the Drawing Room, Dining Room and Breakfast Room, all with marble mantelpieces, iron firebacks and decorative tile outer hearths. A timber mantelpiece with a concrete hearth in the Bathroom is located over a sealed fireplace opening.

On the lower level, the Kitchen, Laundry, Servant's Quarters and part of the passage under the western verandah have a brick paved floor, with possibly original stone flagging in the Laundry at the location of the original entry passage. The North and South cellars and the remainder of the western passage have a 1960s concrete floor. No doors remain in the three western rooms, however door openings have timber frames. Doorways through the central north-south wall to the Cellars have timber ledged and braced doors. This wall also has two small original openings with vertical iron bars which serve as gratings for ventilation purposes between the Kitchen and Servant's Quarters and the Cellars. Original ventilation openings also remain in the eastern wall of the Cellars. Two original brick fireplace openings, with arched openings and raised hearths, are in the Servants Quarters and Kitchen. A stone retaining wall runs along the outer edge of the western passage, supporting the verandah, with a fire escape doorway at the southern end.

The house contains a large collection of antique furniture, objects and paintings, displayed to recreate a house from the late 19th century. These are complimented by modern furnishings and fittings.

The Annex

Adjoining the north-west corner of the house is the Annex, a rectangular, freestanding, two-storeyed, rendered masonry building with a gabled hip roof, connected to the main house by a verandah along its southern wall.

The timber framed roof is clad in the same grey concrete tiles as the main house, and features timber louvres in the gables and the only surviving remnants of an early guttering system, in particular a decorative rainwater head at the south-west corner. The eaves have timber battening to the soffit to allow ventilation, and metal ventilation grilles are set into the masonry walls at various locations. Close inspection of variations in the wall render reveal the location of former openings. Original openings include two windows in the east wall, a doorway and one window in the north wall, and three windows in the western wall. Windows in the eastern and northern walls are timber double hung sashes, while those in the western wall are six-light timber casements. Windows on these three sides have timber louvred shutters matching those of the main house.

The verandah along the southern wall, a modern addition designed to match the main house, is supported by an original masonry wall and piers. A timber weatherboard enclosure at the western end of the verandah houses a lift. No original openings remain in the southern wall.

Apart from a central rendered masonry dividing wall running north-south through the Annex, all internal walls are later additions. The eastern end accommodates a stairwell with a 1960s timber and steel staircase. The first floor contains a modern kitchen, storage, and male and female toilets. The ground floor contains a shop and two bathrooms, one of them accessible. The floor levels of the ground floor concrete slab have been altered to allow for wheelchair access.

On the northern side of the Annex are a driveway and accessible car park, and a paved ramp leading to the entrance of the shop. Garden beds and low shrubs occupy the area between the Annex, the northern verandah of the main house, and a stone retaining wall supports the raised eastern lawn area.

The formal courtyard on the western side of Newstead House features a central circular fountain surrounded by a wide paved pathway that connects the house to the entrance drive, with formal garden beds and shrubs lining the edges of the area.

Former Tramways Substation

To the west of Newstead House is the former Brisbane City Council Tramways Substation No. 5. This masonry building faces west towards Breakfast Creek Road, standing among mature trees and garden beds. A pathway from the roundabout at the top of the Newstead Park entrance drive leads to the main entrance on the right-hand side of the north elevation. A tall, square, symmetrical building, the functional austerity of the substation's exterior is relieved by restrained classical detailing, and distinguished by elegant proportions and fine brickwork.

The pyramid roof is clad in metal roof sheeting with a ventilator at the apex. The undersides of the raked eaves are lined with timber boards and the roof has no guttering or downpipes. The walls are constructed from dark brown glazed bricks laid in an English bond pattern with four evenly spaced pilasters with moulded render capitals and cornice to each elevation. The base of the walls is a rendered concrete plinth, and all concrete surfaces are painted. Rectangular windows with multi-pane fixed lights, flush concrete lintels and brick sills are positioned between each pilaster. One window opening in the western wall has been filled with concrete. The main elevation features a central concrete panel with a logo of the letters B and T intertwined and the title ‘SUBSTATION No. 5' in raised lettering. Regularly spaced rectangular ventilation grilles pierce the base and top of all walls. High in the right hand corner of the southern wall eight circular ceramic insulators are set into the brickwork, formerly the outlets for the cables carrying power to the tram lines.

The main entrance is a single leaf door set within a timber and glass screen that encloses a tall opening once occupied by a roller door. A single door in the southern wall is a later addition, cut into the wall below an existing window.

Inside, the substation is a single large volume with a carpeted floor and painted brick walls. The ceiling is lined with flat plasterboard sheeting with cover strips and has a square ventilating panel in the centre. One vertical and several horizontal steel I-beams remain, with the horizontal beams supported on engaged brick piers or projecting brick corbels. A corbel in the eastern wall supports the cut-off end of a steel beam. An overhead gantry hoist remains attached to a beam running north-south.

A sunken area is located adjacent to the centre of the western wall, surrounded by a timber balustrade and accessed by a set of concrete steps. From this level a set of steep timber steps leads through an opening cut into the upper level slab to a compartment of the underfloor area. This small space has a very low ceiling height and is used for storage in 2013.

A timber staircase in the north-east corner leads to an enclosed mezzanine office, which has modern linings, a carpeted floor and painted brick walls. Three ventilation grilles have been converted into windows and two have been modified to house air-conditioning units.

A brick shed (1939) and other storage structures are located close to the substation on its eastern and northern sides, concealed from view from Newstead House by a timber lattice fence. The pissoir, a former public urinal composed of a curving metal screen, is located south-east of the substation.

Newstead Park

The high ridge of ground running south-west to north-east, with Newstead House at its peak, results in great variation of character and outlook for different sections of Newstead Park. South of the entrance drive is largely grassed lawns with views to the south-west towards Bowen Hills and Herston. The western side, along Breakfast Creek road, is gently sloping, with mature trees, grass lawns, pathways and formal garden beds, many the remnants of early park layouts and planting schemes. The northern park area, along Breakfast Creek, is predominantly open grassed lawns, sloping steeply near the house and becoming shallower closer to the water's edge. This part of the park is intersected by pathways lined with tall palms and a scattering of mature trees, and has sweeping views of the river and of Newstead House. Along the eastern park area, a steeply sloping garden bed separates the riverside pathway from the top of the ridge, curving around to the south of the substation. Land at the bottom of the steep slope is relatively flat and open, while the area adjacent to Newstead Avenue is sloping and heavily shaded by large trees.

The entrance drive is marked by two rough-faced sandstone lamp pillars at the corner of Newstead Avenue and Breakfast Creek Road, each topped with a decorative metal lantern stand and with metal lettering forming the words NEWSTEAD and PARK attached. The asphalt drive, lined with shrubs and palms, ascends in a north-easterly direction towards the house, terminating at the fig tree roundabout, which is edged by vertically placed tuff. The garden bed is equipped with a movement activated speaker which delivers a brief history of the tree and the property to passers-by, encouraging them to enter the house. To the south of the giant fig, near the former substation, is a flat-roofed, brick public toilet block.

Other large mature trees (including figs) are near the substation building, along Newstead Avenue, in the western park area, and in the north-east corner of the park. Avenues of palm trees along pedestrian paths throughout the park are remnant evidence of Harry Moore's original park design, as are many of the path locations. A walking path around the edge of the river and Breakfast Creek links to the New Farm-Newstead bikeway.

The north-west corner of the park, truncated by Breakfast Creek Road and Bridge (re-aligned 1959), contains early curving pathways lined with palm trees, which converge upon a pedestrian access point at the start of the bridge abutment. The southernmost pathway, heading in a south-east direction, is of a later date than the two other pathways. Concrete block walls defining the edge of the paths and garden beds in this area date from the 1959 realignment of Breakfast Creek Road, and a small area of remnant vegetation from the original park[100] remains on the other side of the road near the Breakfast Creek Wharf complex, which can be accessed via a pedestrian underpass.[101]

The majority of memorials and monuments, including the American memorial, Lyndon B Johnson Place, Oxley memorial and tide gauge, are located in the north-east area of the park. Other notable features include a gazebo (1984) and recent pontoon at the north-eastern promontory, and concrete draughts board (1929) and old drinking fountain, both located in the centre of the northern park area. Recent benches, picnic tables and light posts are distributed throughout the park.

Positioned on a high ridge surrounded by open parkland, Newstead House is a prominent and iconic landmark, highly visible from the Brisbane River, Breakfast Creek, and major roads Breakfast Creek Road, the Inner City Bypass and Kingsford Smith Drive. Distant views of the house and park are also had from the riverfront at Bulimba and the heights of Hamilton.

Image gallery


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