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Queensland Country Women's Association Girls' Hostel

  • 600558
  • 5 Brisbane Street, Ipswich


Also known as
Queensland Country Womens Association Hostel; QCWA Hostel; CWA Hostel
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Residential: Detached house
3.11 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Lodging people
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
8.3 Creating social and cultural institutions: Organisations and societies
Construction periods
1885–1911, Queensland Country Women's Association Girls' Hostel (1885c - 1911c)
1885, Queensland Country Women's Association Girls' Hostel - Main house (1885c -)
unknown, Queensland Country Women's Association Girls' Hostel - Trees/Plantings
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


5 Brisbane Street, Ipswich
Ipswich City Council
-27.61538639, 152.76578195


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

The place is important in demonstrating the tendency of early Queensland residents to enlarge and adapt existing buildings, having been converted from a single-storey house built c1885 to a two-storey house c1908.

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

The QCWA Girls' Hostel is a fine and rare example of a large two-storey timber residence.

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

The QCWA Girls' Hostel is a fine and rare example of a large two-storey timber residence.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

It exhibits aesthetic characteristics in its fine Federation detailing including elaborate flower patterned lacework and attractive timber decoration. Its architectural form, scale, siting, detailing and front garden plantings make a significant contribution to the streetscape of Ipswich.

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

It is closely associated with the work of the QCWA in providing supervised city accommodation for young country girls, particularly students.

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.

The place is associated with the life and work of an early telegraph operator Thomas Towell and a prominent early doctor and businessman Edward Elmslie Brown.


The building was constructed about 1885 as a single-storey timber house for Thomas Towell and his second wife Sarah. When Towell died about 1904, the property passed to his widow Sarah. The next significant owner was Dr Edward Elmslie Brown who bought it in 1908. Within the next three years, Brown added a second storey. Brown used the enlarged building as a residence and consulting rooms and built a timber hospital "Oakdale" adjacent with its entry facing Milford Street. He later added a second hospital building and a matron's residence. Brown died in 1941 and the house was bought by the QCWA in 1949 for use as a hostel for students and young women. A single-storey brick building containing several residential units for elderly women was built c1960 adjacent to the house (on the corner of Brisbane and Milford Streets) and is known as Melody Lodge. One of Dr Brown's hospital buildings in Milford St is now a QCWA hostel for aged people. The matron's quarters in Milford St is now a residence. The second hospital building was destroyed by fire in the late 1980s at which time it was a boarding house.


The building is a large two-storeyed timber structure with chamferboard external walls surrounded at both levels by elaborately decorated verandahs. A single storey laundry wing extends at the rear and is connected to the central hallway by an enclosed rear verandah. A skillion-roofed cement clad ablutions block, probably of c1950 construction, is connected to the north-west corner of the ground floor verandah. The front has plantings of palms and hedges, particularly the distinctive double palms each side of the main entry.

Image gallery


Location of Queensland Country Women's Association Girls' Hostel within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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