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Kilcoy Homestead

  • 600638
  • Kilcoy-Murgon Road, Kilcoy


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Pastoralism: Homestead
1.3 Peopling places: Encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples
2.1 Exploiting, utilising and transforming the land: Exploring, surveying and mapping the land
2.3 Exploiting, utilising and transforming the land: Pastoral activities
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
Construction periods
1844–1865, Brick Cottage Remnants (c1844-65)
1857–1863, Kilcoy Homestead Residence (c1857-63)
1913, Winya Railway Station Building (moved onto site c1958-67)
1953, Dairy (c1953)
unknown, Established Trees
Historical period
1840s–1860s Mid-19th century


Kilcoy-Murgon Road, Kilcoy
Somerset Regional Council
-26.92805433, 152.57242677


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

Kilcoy Homestead is significant to Queensland history because it is one of the oldest surviving homesteads in the Brisbane Valley, and in Queensland. Built c1857 for prominent Queensland pioneer, the Hon. Louis Hope, MLC, it has a close connection with 19th century Queensland pastoral development, and in particular with the growth of the pastoral industry in the Brisbane Valley.

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

Kilcoy Homestead is significant because it is a rare, well-preserved, substantial, late 1850s brick homestead, illustrating a class of buildings which were rare in Queensland at the time of construction, and are even more rare now.

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

(Criterion under review)

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

In its use of local hand-made bricks and timber from the property, Kilcoy Homestead is illustrative both of the contraints placed upon early Queensland pioneers in their attempts to 'civilise' their bush environment, and of the means and methods adopted to overcome these constraints.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Kilcoy Homestead, a fine example of an 1850s residence reflecting a strong Georgian design influence, together with its dramatic siting and stand of mature trees, imbues a sense of landmark in the surrounding landscape. The simple detailing and interior finishes of the homestead expresses quality of design and workmanship.

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.

Since 1922 it has been associated with the Kennedy family and their long-standing contribution to the Brisbane Valley community.


Kilcoy Homestead, a single-storeyed, substantial brick residence, was constructed c.1857, for the Hon. Louis Hope, British aristocrat and Queensland grazier, sugar plantation owner and politician. The remnants of the early brick cottage on the site, also erected for Hope, date to the mid-1860s.

The Kilcoy run had been taken up as a sheep station by brothers Evan and Colin Mackenzie, of Kilcoy, Scotland, who had started clearing the land and erecting huts by early July 1841. In October that year they secured the run officially, taking out the second pastoral licence issued for the Upper Brisbane. In the New South Wales Government Gazette of 11 May 1848, Kilcoy was described as comprising over 35,000 acres (14,000 hectares), bounded on the south by Frederic and Francis Bigge's Mt Brisbane Station, on the east by the Archers' Durundur Station, on the west by John Balfour's Colinton run, and to the north by the mountains separating Wide Bay from the Brisbane Valley. Establishment of Kilcoy station was resisted by the indigenous population, and the run is infamous for the mass poisoning of Aborigines that occurred there in February 1842.

As on most early stations, the first Kilcoy head station, erected in mid-1841, was a simple slab hut. In 1844 this was replaced by a brick dwelling, described in February 1845 as containing five rooms - one a large sitting room 20 feet by 20 feet and four bedrooms 10 by 10 feet opening from the parlour - with a verandah in front. The kitchen, which may have been the early slab dwelling, stood about 40 yards from the rear of the new residence, and was demolished c1928.

Although Colin Mackenzie remained in Moreton Bay and the Darling Downs until about 1857, Evan Mackenzie left Moreton Bay in mid-1845. Their Kilcoy run was transferred to Charles A Atherton in 1849, then to the Hon. Louis Hope and Robert Ramsay in 1853. Whether Ramsay ever worked the station is not clear; Hope was running it with the assistance of a superintendent by October 1857, when bricks were being fired on the property in preparation for the construction of his new residence, the present homestead. The 1844 residence was white-ant ridden, and is understood to have been demolished when the c.1857 house was completed. In 1863, Hope purchased Ramsey's interest in Kilcoy.

Hope had arrived in New South Wales in 1843, was an active participant in early Queensland economic and political life, and was instrumental in the development of the sugar industry in Queensland. In the 1850s he purchased and/or leased extensive landholdings in the Moreton region, including Kilcoy Station in 1853, Shafston House (QHR 600241) at Kangaroo Point in 1854, and land at Cleveland, 1852-55. Hope's Cleveland property, named Ormiston (QHR 600775), was being farmed by c1858, and in the early 1860s he experimented there first with cotton, then sugar cane, establishing at Ormiston Queensland's first sugar plantation. In 1864-65, Hope erected at Ormiston a substantial brick residence, not unlike the Kilcoy homestead, but more ornate. From this time the Hope family lived principally at Ormiston House, the homestead at Kilcoy became the manager's residence, and a brick cottage was built at Kilcoy for use by Louis Hope on his frequent visits to the property.

William Butler was appointed manager of Kilcoy in 1871, commencing an association with Kilcoy that lasted over 50 years. In 1882 the Hopes returned to England, leaving Kilcoy and Ormiston, which was rented out, under Butler's supervision. At Kilcoy, Butler established excellent relationships with local Aborigines, and after his death a Kilcoy street was named after him and a monument erected in his honour.

Louis Hope died in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1894, but Kilcoy Homestead remained the property of his heirs until 1908, when the house on 524 acres freehold was purchased by William Butler. Local grazier Jeremiah Kennedy of Monte Cassino, acquired the homestead in 1922. Kennedy was very involved in local government and like previous owners, committed to horseracing. Kilcoy Homestead remains the property of the Kennedy family, but a caretaker has been in residence for many years.


Kilcoy Homestead, a single-storeyed brick residence with a hipped corrugated iron roof, is located at the end of a ridge to the north of Kilcoy, overlooking Kilcoy Creek and surrounding farmland. The building, reflecting a strong Georgian influence in its design, is approached from the southwest via a driveway along the ridge top.

The building, L-shaped in plan, is constructed of English Bond brickwork and is surrounded by verandahs with the southern side being enclosed. French doors with shutters open onto verandahs which have unlined corrugated iron skillion roofs and timber posts. The main entry is positioned centrally on the northeast, with a set of brick steps accessing the verandah to a flat arched doorway with double cedar panelled doors with fanlight and sidelights opening to the entrance hall. A matching doorway accesses the entrance hall from the enclosed rear verandah.

The building's core is one room deep, with the northeast wing consisting of a central entry hall, a bedroom on the north, a living room on the south, store rooms at the southern end and brick lean-to store rooms at the rear. The rear wing has one large bedroom, an enclosed verandah on the south housing a kitchen and a brick lean-to at the rear housing a bathroom.

Internally, the walls are plastered, the ceilings are boarded and skirtings, doors and architraves are of cedar. The entry hall has unset sandstone flagging to the floor and other principal rooms have boarded floors. The two northeast rooms have fireplaces with timber surrounds. The kitchen and bathroom are later alterations. The southern store rooms have a loft space, and a basement wine cellar which is no longer accessible. The lean-to store rooms at the rear, one being the former lamp room, have concrete floors.

The homestead grounds include mature Bunya Pines, with other plantings of native and european trees. A terraced area to the northeast of the building may be the site of an early tennis court.

The remains of a brick shed is located to the southwest of the building. This consists of two side walls, the northern one housing a fireplace, with a freestanding gable roof supported on metal posts.

A former railway station building, titled WINYA and constructed of weatherboard with a corrugated iron gable roof, has been moved onto the site and is located between the homestead and the brick shed.

A dairy and stables, constructed of brick and timber with a corrugated iron gable roof, is located further to the southwest alongside the driveway.

Image gallery


Location of Kilcoy Homestead within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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