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  • 600599
  • 59 Whitehill Road, Eastern Heights


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Residential: Villa
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
Shenton, Samuel
Wilson, Robert & Co
Construction periods
1888, Main House (c1888)
1888, Perimeter Fence (c1888)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


59 Whitehill Road, Eastern Heights
Ipswich City Council
-27.6216698, 152.77172572


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

Garowie is important in demonstrating the pattern of affluent residential development in Ipswich in the latter nineteenth century by influential members of the local community made successful by the strength of Ipswich's industry and commerce.

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

Garowie is also a good example of a late Victorian Queensland mansion with evidence of its extensive original grounds marked out by the masonry fence line along the frontage of Whitehill Road.

The house has special association as an example of the work of Ipswich builder and architect Samuel Shenton, who was one of the earliest prominent architects in Ipswich.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Garowie is a striking grand residence with important streetscape value particularly for its established gardens and decorative two storey façade with iron-lace balustrading and scalloped timber battens and gabled portico. It's prominent position and scale make it a city landmark.

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.

It has special association with the Cribb family, built as their family home, in particular its first owner James Clarke Cribb, who served in local and state government. The Cribbs have been a prominent family in Ipswich since its early settlement involved in business, politics and education in the city and in Queensland. They are most notable for the long running department store, Cribb & Foote.


"Garowie", a grand two-storey residence, was one of several mansions built on the Limestone Hill ridge. It was built by Mesrs Robt. Wilson and Co for James Clarke Cribb, the son of Benjamin Cribb who founded the Cribb and Foote business, and his wife Alice nee Browne. The house was designed by Ipswich builder and architect, Samuel Shenton, and was completed in 1888. It is said to have been modelled on the Denmark Hill home of Benjamin Cribb, "Gooloowan" (QHR 600593).

The architect Samuel Shenton, arrived in Ipswich in March 1851 and began work as a carpenter and building contractor. Among his early contracts were Dr Challinor's house and shop in Brisbane Street and fitting out the first Presbyterian Church (1853). Shenton made some significant improvements to central Ipswich in the 1860s with the School of Arts and the Lands Office. During this time he was preparing plans, specifications and quantities and in 1879 his contracting business was taken over by Worley and Whitehead (Ipswich Girls' Grammar School). Shenton practised as an architect from 1879 until 1889 when his practice was taken over by employee George Brockwell Gill. Shenton subsequently became heavily involved in community and business ventures as well as local politics. He was an alderman for many years and the Mayor of Ipswich from 1871-1872 and 1889. He died in Ipswich on 3 July 1893. Some of his other more notable and extant works are the Congregational Church Manse (QHR 600594) (1882-83) in Quarry Street, and Faerieknowe (QHR 600600) for E.W. Hargraves.

James Cribb served the family company until 1904, when he was elected to the Bundamba Shire Council. He was the Member for Rosewood and the Member for Bundamba (which later became the seat of Bremer), serving a total of 19 years as a state parliamentarian. Cribb was also a member of the Ipswich Hospital Board, a director of the Ipswich Gas and Coke Company and the Queensland Woollen Mills, a trustee of the Ipswich superintendent of the Congregational Sunday School.

After James Cribb died in May 1926, his brother Harry bought the house. Harry Cribb was a state level champion tennis player. Garowie once had a tennis court in the grounds on the southern side of the house which was converted into a bowling green during the mid 1920s. This portion of the grounds as well as the portion to the north of the house were subdivided and separate residences were built although the original fence still remains. Henry Cribb died in July 1944, and the house was sold to K V Mc Donnell. During World War II the house had been converted into flats.

In 1970 the house was bought by Dr and Mrs J Thomas, who began restoring it. The residence was originally brick, and was rendered after 1919. The billiard room, on the southern side, has been relocated. The original fretwork on the front portico is missing, the current fretwork being copied from another residence, "Lakemba", at 14 Chelmsford Avenue, Ipswich.

The name Garowie is supposedly an Aboriginal word for 'Fig Tree Camp'.


The house is situated on the western side of Whitehill Road with an easterly frontage to the street. The house has a cement rendered, brick core, which is surrounded by verandahs at both levels. The lower level verandah features paired support columns and has no balustrades. A scalloped fringe of timber battens extends between the support columns, just beneath the upper level's balustrades. At the upper level, the paired supports are spanned by intricate, cast iron lace balustrading. The house has a corrugated iron, hipped roof with stepped down and slightly convex roofing over its upper level verandah. Its entry, facing east, is defined by a central gabled portico, with a fretwork pediment. A decorative, masonry fence and mature plantings, many along the property's front boundary, screen the house.

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Location of Garowie within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 January 2016
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