St John's Wood and Service Wing | Environment, land and water | Queensland Government

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St John's Wood and Service Wing

  • 601506
  • 31-33 Piddington Street, Ashgrove


Also known as
Granite House; St Johns Wood
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
23 June 2000
Residential: Villa
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
Gailey, Richard
Construction periods
1864–1900, St John's Wood (1864 - c1900)
1864, St Johns Wood - Main house (1864 - 1864)
1877, St Johns Wood - Ballroom (1877 - 1877)
unknown, St Johns Wood - Trees/Plantings
Historical period
1840s–1860s Mid-19th century


31-33 Piddington Street, Ashgrove
Brisbane City Council
-27.44594537, 152.97233539


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

St John’s Wood (c.1865) and its Service Wing (c.1870s, built in two stages) are important in demonstrating the pattern of residential development in mid-19th century Queensland where substantial villa residences were built on elevated sites in the semi-rural fringes of urban centres. Built in the 1860s and 1870s, St John’s Wood and Service Wing is an early, rare, and representative example of this pattern.

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

St John's Wood and its Service Wing is a rare surviving intact example of a 1860s stone villa residence in Brisbane.

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

An early and rare example of its type, St John’s Wood and Service Wing is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a mid-19th century villa residence in Queensland.

The principal characteristics of this type include; a substantial villa in a prominent and elevated location; landscaped grounds of mature trees, lawns, and gardens; a formal floor plan layout with generous principal rooms, secondary rooms, with decorative detailing and finishes of high-quality design and execution. Its associated utilitarian Service Wing is comparatively modest.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

St John’s Wood has beautiful attributes due to its elegant symmetrical composition and high quality materials, details and finishes. Highly intact, it features Enoggera granite walls, cedar joinery, beech floors, pressed metal ceilings, a large roof lantern over the ballroom, and ornate marble fireplaces to its principal rooms.

The established grounds provide an attractive garden setting which includes an early camellia cultivar.

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.

St John’s Wood has a special association with Justice George Rogers Harding, Senior Puisne Judge of the Queensland Supreme Court (1879 – 1895), as his place of residence for 27 years from 1868 until his death in 1895.

Judge Harding, a noted bibliophile, contributed to the development of Queensland’s Supreme Court Library.  His substantial personal library, collected at St John’s Wood, augments the State Library of Queensland’s collection. Harding authored six books relating to aspects of Queensland law, and is a person of importance to Queensland history.


St John's Wood, is a single storey villa residence, primarily built of local granite. It was constructed in the mid-1860s for Daniel Rowntree Somerset in the locality of St John’s Wood; part of the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove, located approximately 6km northwest of the Brisbane CBD. In the 1870s, it was owned by Justice George Rogers (GR) Harding, who extended the house and grounds. Since the early 20th century, it has changed ownership a number of times and in 2018 remains a private residence in a garden setting.

On a separate adjacent land parcel to the west of St John’s Wood, stands a surviving portion of its Service Wing (c 1870s, built in two stages) which now forms part of a 1970s residence.

Brisbane, the traditional country of the Yuggera and Turrbal people, was progressively surveyed and offered for private sale from 1842. Early occupation was largely focussed on town land on opposite sides of the river at North Brisbane and South Brisbane, while suburban areas developed more slowly. [1]

From at least the 1850s, the land on which St John’s Wood is built was part of a large pastoral lease holding: The Gap Station. In August 1865, part of the land, Portions 164 and 165 comprising just under 82 acres (33ha), was purchased by Daniel Rowntree Somerset, Chief Clerk of Customs and Shipping Master of the Port of Brisbane.[2] In September 1867, he acquired the adjoining property to the west, Portion 381, comprising 15 acres (6ha). These three land parcels formed the core of his St John’s Wood estate. [3]

The first half of the 1860s was a period of strong growth for Brisbane in the newly established colony of Queensland. Immigration boosted the population dramatically (more than doubling between 1861 and 1864 to over 12,000) and many substantial public and private buildings were constructed during this time. Brisbane’s residential dwellings co-existed with industrial activity; characterised by congestion, noise, and poor sanitation.[4] During this period ‘villa estates’, located in the suburban periphery in then semi-rural settings, on elevated locations such as along ridgelines, some with river frontages, became an increasingly popular type of dwelling for Brisbane’s more affluent residents. This demographic included high ranking public servants, professionals and successful business people. The preference for residential villa estates by the well-to-do was an international development pattern during the Victorian-era. Key elements of villa estates included large and comfortable houses, associated outbuildings such as servant’s quarters and stabling, expansive garden settings, and a good road to town. [5]

In March 1865, the Brisbane Courier noted, ‘substantial brick villas, instead of wooden houses are on the increase’. A later article in September stated, ‘numerous villa residences have been erected during the past 12 months in the suburbs of the town…No greater proof of the prosperity of a city as a whole can be afforded than that derived from the disposition of its citizens to plant and build on its' environs, and to make it their home socially as well as professionally…Scarcely a day passes but our advertising columns invite tenders for the erection of villa residences…’. In 2018, villas from this era are rare, and of the nine identified 1860s stone residences on state and local heritage registers in Brisbane, only four have retained their service wings. [6]

Daniel Somerset initiated the construction of a residence in 1865, in the centre of a pocket of land within a loop of Enoggera Creek.  No designer or builder of the residence have been conclusively identified.[7] St John’s Wood, a single storey building with a formal ‘u-shaped’ symmetrical plan of seven rooms on an east-west axis with surrounding verandahs, features substantial walls constructed of Enoggera granite, quarried locally, with internal non-loadbearing walls of rendered brick. The house was located on the highest point of the land, affording views to and from the residence. Daniel Somerset and his wife Dora, occupied the house for only a short time. Dora Somerset died in February 1867. Her death notice indicated that the residence was known by this time as ‘St. John’s Wood’. The following month Daniel Somerset advertised the property for sale or let, describing the residence as ‘a substantial and well-finished Stone Dwelling House of eight rooms, and the necessary outbuildings, all in a state of thorough repair, and suitable for a respectable family’. The house had seven rooms and presumably the eighth was a kitchen. [8] Somerset remained at St John’s Wood until May 1868 when his eldest daughter Anna was married there. Shortly after, in June 1868, the house was leased to Justice George Rogers Harding. The lease agreement stipulated that no building work was to be done to the property. A photograph, possibly dating to 1868, shows a structure to the west of the house; the extent and function of which is not visible. [9]

George Rogers Harding was born in 1838 at Ash Priors near Taunton, Somerset, England and undertook his legal training prior to immigrating to Australia. Harding and his wife Emily (nee Morris) arrived in Brisbane in 1866 with their three daughters and servant. Harding was admitted to the Bar shortly after arrival, as the first equity counsel in the colony. In July 1879 he became Senior Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland. Over the course of his career, Harding was respected for his ‘scrupulously fair’ judgements, except when his harsh sentences for unionists convicted during the conspiracy trial after the 1891 shearer’s strike made him unpopular. Author of six legal books and a noted bibliophile, Harding played a large part in the development of the Supreme Court’s library. [10]

In January 1874, Harding became the owner of the property; his wife had delivered their ninth child in December 1873. This was six months prior to the expiration of his lease. The Harding family resided at St John’s Wood for another two decades. It was in 1874 that Ash-grove, the name of the future suburb, first appears as Harding’s address in the Post Office Directory. A keen property speculator, over time Harding acquired land from Glenquarie Place to Ashgrove Avenue on both sides of Waterworks Road. Harding donated two acres (0.81 hectares) of land on Waterworks Rd in 1876 to establish the Ashgrove State School [QHR 650058]. [11]

In June 1877 architect Richard Gailey called tenders for alterations and additions to Harding’s residence. Part of the additions are thought to have included a ballroom, created by infilling the space between the two wings of the house, including the installation of a roof lantern, and the replacement of the verandah roof and the pediment over the front entrance. The need for extra space at St John’s Wood was influenced by the size of the Harding family; they had five children when their lease began, and 11 by mid-1877 when extensions were undertaken. To the north of the main house, another large 10 room cedar house was constructed, with a shingled roof. The designer and date of construction of this building is unknown; the first evidence of its existence is a 1880s photograph of St John’s Wood. [12]

It is likely that the first phase of the service wing comprising two rooms (kitchen and laundry) either side of a brick chimney, was built in the 1870s, to the west of St John’s Wood. This wing was later extended to provide two servant’s bedrooms; referred to in the 1895 sale of the property. [13]

Over the course of the Harding family’s occupancy other improvements were made including an access road to the property and stabling. Part of the estate, on the other side of Waterworks Road, near the present Orchard Avenue, was the site of a citrus orchard. In 1877 Harding advertised for sale by auction the ‘Ashgrove Orangery’, a 37 ½ acre (15.18 ha) orchard featuring 900 citrus trees ‘just coming into fruit’. [14]

St John’s Wood became renowned for its gatherings, with Harding ‘having taken a leading part in the social life of Brisbane’. [15] Events were often reported in the social columns of Brisbane’s newspapers and according to Sir Charles Lilley, the house was ‘always a popular place with the younger folk in the ordinary rounds of social entertainment’. The marriages of daughter Flora to Ronald McDougall, (son of the original owner of the land at St John’s Wood), in January 1866 and her sister Ada to Barrister W F Wilson (son of The Hon Walter Horatio Wilson MLC) in December 1886, were both celebrated with wedding receptions at home, with the ballroom used as a formal dining area; attended by the social elite of Brisbane including the Premier and Mrs SW Griffith. [16]

Mrs Emily Harding died in May 1889, and Justice Harding remarried in December that year. Social events continued to be held at St John’s Wood, including an ‘At Home’ in 1892, when the ‘superb camellias’ growing in the garden were mentioned in a news article. [17]

George Harding died in August 1895 in his chambers at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. He died intestate and had amassed considerable debt through his property speculation. It appears the Harding family were forced to leave St John’s Wood. In the months after his death, the household furniture and effects of St John’s Wood were sold off, ‘the result of good taste and the accumulation of a lifetime’. An auction catalogue of Harding’s effects described St John’s Wood as containing a drawing room, dining room, large hall, smaller hall, library, ‘best’ bedroom, dressing room, bachelor’s room, seven other bedrooms, pantry, lumber room, two servants rooms, kitchen, laundry and stables. This extensive list suggests the adjacent cedar house and service wing were included in this description. Much of Harding’s extensive personal library was acquired by the Public Library (State Library of Queensland) including his handwritten catalogue. [18]

Subsequent to Harding’s death, St John’s Wood was advertised to let in June 1896, promoted as ‘one of the most complete and best appointed properties in the colony’. In 1898 ownership of the land passed from administrators of Harding’s estate, the Union Trustee Company of Australia, to the Queensland National Bank. [19]

Little is known about the occupancy of the place during the early 20th Century. Post Office Directories record James Pitkeathly at St John’s Wood from 1906 to 1910-11; operating a dairy. Francis Michael Anglim, who became owner of the property in 1917, was a thoroughbred horse breeder. [20]

In the 1920s, Ashgrove underwent rapid development. Until this time, the area was still sparsely developed but the extension of the tramline in 1924 led to subdivisions of large landholdings for housing. This included Glen Lyon Gardens, Oakleigh and Graham estates, and St John’s Wood. St John’s Wood was advertised by Anglim as a housing estate from 1924, ‘good enough for His Majesty the King’, and was promoted as the Switzerland of Queensland. With 244 lots subdivided by 1926, the area surrounding St John’s Wood was reduced to just over 1.25 acres (0.51 ha). The cedar house adjacent to the main house was relocated to a new site in nearby Buckingham Street in 1926 and was destroyed by fire before it was fully established on the new site. A tennis court was then built on its site adjacent to St John’s Wood. [21]

From August 1927, Anglim promoted a further subdivision sale which he named Royal Park Estate and St John’s Wood Extension. It was during this time that Anglim leased St John’s Wood to the Kennedy family. Local girl Nancy Winn worked as a servant (1929-1931) and later recalled preparing meals in the kitchen, and serving them in the dining area at the western end of the ballroom. Washing-up was done in the scullery to the side of the kitchen. The weekly laundry was done in the large boiler and rinsed in tubs, with water on tap from tanks on the south side of the laundry. The yardman cut wood for the kitchen and the laundry. Washing was hung out to dry on lines on the north side of the service wing and ironed in the kitchen. Anglim died in mid-1931 and the Kennedys left. His estate, including the contents of St John’s Wood was offered for sale in April 1932, followed by the sale of 43 allotments in the St John’s Wood estate. [22]  

In 1934, the property was transferred to grazier Edward Albert Hawkins, who leased the house and the service wing separately. Hawkins built a new kitchen, bathroom and laundry onto the side verandah of St John’s Wood and a new kitchen and laundry on the southwest corner of the service wing in 1935 - leaving the old kitchen untouched. The service wing had been allowed to decay and by 1937 was described as being old and derelict by tenant Betty Daniell. In October 1936, Hawkins relocated the old timber West End State School building onto the property, standing to the north of the St John’s Wood for use as a community hall (a private home in 2018). In the late 1930s, St John’s Wood was converted into two flats, both accessible from the central ‘ballroom’. [23]

Alterations to the service wing during the 1940s included upgrading the interior and constructing a lean-to garage on the western corner. The laundry was converted to a living room. Around 1949, the original kitchen was demolished, separating the service wing from the main house by removing the structure beyond the kitchen brick chimney wall face. [24]

Edward Hawkins died in 1956 and the property was transferred to his nephew Mervyn Hawkins. In 1958 the lot was further subdivided, which reoriented St John’s Wood frontage and access from Laird St to Piddington St (previously King Street – renamed in 1939). The subdivision led to the removal of all existing vegetation along Laird Street and the removal of the driveway. It created separate allotments for the service wing and the old school building. When Jules Guerassimoff purchased St John’s Wood in 1968, the verandah had been partially enclosed and the former ballroom was in use as a workshop. During his ownership some restoration work occurred at the house, which included returning the place to a single residence. He installed a small cellar in the southwestern corner of the ballroom. Eric and Katherine Victor purchased St John’s Wood in 1987 and have maintained and conserved the property as responsible custodians; including a new iron roof, internal repairs to the ballroom ceilings, and sympathetic additions to the site. [25]

The service wing was sold to George and Gertrude Smith in 1958, who leased the property until 1968, when Morris and Julia Moorhouse purchased it. After considering its poor condition, the service wing was converted into a house. This included: the retention of two original rooms as a living room (c1870s laundry, with a brick chimney and wall) and a dining room (pre-1895 servant’s bedroom); retention of the enclosed verandahs on the north and south sides; demolition of the western servant’s bedroom; and the construction of a two storey, brick and timber extension to the south and west sides. [27]

In 2018, a mature camellia in the garden on the south eastern side of St John’s Wood, was identified by expert Dr Stephen Utick as a Camellia japonica of an estimated age in excess of 140 years. Dr Utick indicated that it is a cultivar ‘Anemoniflora’, thought to have been propagated at Macarthur’s Nursery, Camden Park, and available from the Darling Nursery, later Shepherd’s, in colonial NSW as early as 1851. [26]

In 2018, St John’s Wood and its Service Wing remain private homes under separate ownership. [28]


St John’s Wood and Service Wing comprises a lowset, single storey, masonry main house (c1865) and a lowset, single storey, brick and timber-framed service wing (c1870s, with pre-1895 addition) located in the residential pocket of St John’s Wood, a locality in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove. The service wing is free-standing from the main house through the demolition of the former linking rooms, and both structures function as separate residences.

The main house, St John’s Wood (31 Piddington Street), faces east and stands on a 1432m2 lot at the highest point in the centre of a bend in Enoggera Creek. Access to the house is via Piddington Street to the south, and it is surrounded by residential properties to the east, north and west.

The Service Wing (33 Piddington Street) stands to the west of St John’s Wood on an adjacent 933m2 lot. It now forms part of a larger house, due to extensions constructed in 1976-77.

Both St John’s Wood and the Service Wing are set back from Piddington Street and fronted by gardens.

St John’s Wood (c1865)

St John's Wood comprises a symmetrical, U-shaped plan of seven rooms around a large ballroom. The house is encircled by verandahs, with doors opening onto the verandahs from all major rooms. From the main entrance door in the centre of the east facade, an entrance hall leads through an arched opening into the ballroom. On either side of the entrance hall are a living room (south) and a bedroom (north). Along the south side of the house are the dining room and the kitchen. Along the north side of the house are two more rooms, with a bathroom addition inserted into the large central room. 

The house features high-quality and finely-detailed materials and joinery.

Features of state-level cultural heritage significance also include:

  • Solid granite walls on stone foundations
  • Horizontal sandstone lintels to doors and windows; sandstone block arch over main entrance door
  • Brick internal walls
  • Brick west wall of the ballroom, with external rendered finish scored to resemble stonework
  • Hipped roof form, constructed from timber framework
  • Corrugated metal roof sheeting
  • Four brick chimneys with string courses and peaked brick caps
  • Stepped, skillion-roofed verandahs of timber construction, including stop-chamfered posts and beams, simple post ornamentation, raked ceilings lined with beaded boards, and gable entrance portico with timber ornamentation and supported by three posts each side.
  • Main entrance door - cedar double door with part-glazed sidelights and a semi-circular fanlight
  • Timber, part-glazed French doors with rectangular, centre-pivoting fanlights
  • A single, low-waisted, four-panel timber door in the west wall of the ballroom
    Timber-framed, three-light casement windows in the west wall
  • Polished, tongue and groove (T&G) beech floorboards
  • Wide timber skirtings
  • Timber door and window architraves
  • Rendered plaster walls
  • Timber picture rails
  • Pressed metal ceilings, cornices and ceiling roses to all rooms
  • Rectangular roof lantern over the ballroom
  • Stained, low-waisted, cedar doors with centre-pivoting fanlights
  • Original door and window hardware
  • Fireplaces, with marble mantelpieces to the main bedroom, living and dining rooms

Features not of state-level cultural heritage significance include: concrete verandah floors; lattice screens fixed to verandah posts; swimming pool between the north verandah space and northern boundary; ensuite addition between the northeastern verandah space and northeastern boundary; modern guttering and downpipes; kitchen and bathroom interiors; cork flooring; cellar below the ballroom; and all other buildings and structures.

St John’s Wood garden

Within the gardens of St John’s Wood are mature plantings, including a rare and very old specimen of camellia tree (Camellia japonica Anemonifloria), located near the southeast corner of the house.

Service Wing (c1870s, with pre-1895 extension)

The Service Wing forms the east end of the residence at 33 Piddington Street. It comprises two main rooms linked by enclosed verandahs on the north and south sides. It is timber-framed, with a thick brick wall and chimney forming the east end wall. The broken-back gable roof is clad in corrugated metal sheeting. 

The south verandah contains the main entrance to the residence and a store room at its east end. The east room (c1870s, former laundry) is used as a living room and features a fireplace in the brick east wall. The west room (pre-1895, former servants’ bedroom) is used as a dining room. The north verandah is divided by a timber partition aligned with the wall separating the living and dining rooms.

The Service Wing bears evidence of changes over time, due to the variety of materials and traces of additions and alterations. It is likely that original or early fabric is concealed beneath later wall and ceiling linings. It is possible that some fabric and/or joinery has been recycled from the demolition of other rooms of the wing.

Features of state-level cultural heritage significance also include:

  • Brick chimney stack with peaked brick caps
  • Stone hearth foundations protruding externally from the east wall
  • External oven and stove recesses with brick, arched lintels (openings currently filled-in or covered over)
  • Internal hearth and brick fireplace with arched lintel
  • Brick wall extending from the fireplace along part of the south living room wall
  • Vertical, timber T&G beaded boards cladding the exterior of the south verandah and the east wall of the north verandah
  • T&G beech floorboards
  • Hardwood timber flooring to the north verandah
  • Timber wall framing, with mortise and tenon joints to some sections
  • Original or early timber wall linings, including T&G beaded boards, and weatherboards  to the north verandah wall
  • Stop-chamfered verandah posts and beams to the north verandah (partly-exposed on the interior)
    Raked verandah ceilings
  • Bulkhead between c1870s and pre-1895 sections in south verandah
  • Timber-framed, double-hung, two-light sash windows (the window adjacent to the north living room door has been relocated from elsewhere)
  • Timber board doors, constructed from T&G beaded boards
  • Original door and window hardware
  • Wide timber skirtings
  • Original or early timber door and window architraves

Features not of state-level cultural heritage significance include: concrete floor stumps; modern guttering and downpipes; louvres and external cladding to the north verandah; plaster walls and ceilings; timber mantelpiece and hearth floor tiles in the living room; flat internal wall linings with cover strips; modern plasterboard wall and ceiling linings; and modern doors.


[1] Helen Gregory (ed) Arcadian Simplicity: JB Fewings Memoirs of Toowong, Boolarong Publications, Brisbane, 1990, p.25; Allom, Lovell & Associates Pty Ltd, Architects, Middenbury: An Historical Survey and Management Plan, A Report prepared for the Department of Housing and Construction, Queensland Region, 1984, p.6.

[2] Thom Blake and Michael Kennedy, 1998, Glenlyon Conservation Study, p.10; Dick Paten, 2010 ‘Glimpses of pre-separation Ashgrove: Landscape, land use, access’, in Barry Shaw (ed), Brisbane: People and Places of Ashgrove BHG Papers, no. 21, Brisbane History Group, Brisbane, pp.29-30; Paul Sayer, 2010, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, in Shaw, Brisbane: People and Places of Ashgrove, p.171; Certificate of Title:19509181, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland Government.

[3] Paul Sayer, 2010, ‘Daniel Rowntree Somerset: A scrupulously upright and conscientious gentleman', in Brisbane: People and Places of Ashgrove, pp.222-228; Moreton Bay Courier, 27 December 1859, p.2; Brisbane Courier, 17 August 1864, p.4, Queenslander, 17 April 1880, p.485 (DR Somerset obituary);Telegraph, 4 August 1937, p.7; Certificate of Titles 10047145 (Oakwal); 10066163, 10066164, 10119182 (Portions 164,165, 381 - St John’s Wood)

[4] Helen Gregory (ed) Arcadian Simplicity, p.29; Allom, Lovell & Associates Pty Ltd, Architects, Middenbury: An Historical Survey and Management Plan, p.7.

[5] Gregory, Arcadian Simplicity, pp.29-30; Allom Lovell & Associates Pty Ltd, Middenbury: An Historical Survey and Management Plan, p.7; Rod Fisher, ‘In Search of the Brisbane House’ in Rod Fisher and Ray Sumner, eds, in Brisbane: Housing, Health, The River and The Arts, Brisbane History Group, 1985, p.43.

[6] Brisbane Courier, 17 March 1865, p.2; 29 September 1865, p.2.

[7]. Richard Gailey (1834 -1924) may have been the architect. Like Somerset, he was Irish and was a Baptist and he had just established his own business at this time. Somerset was a foundation member of the Baptist Church in Brisbane and Gailey designed the new Baptist Chapel in Edward Street in 1865-66 (Watson and Mackay, ‘Queensland Architects of the 19th Century’ Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 1994, p.72-73); Gailey called for tenders for a stone and brick house near Brisbane in May 1865, the same day he advertised for the supply of 60,000 bricks. He is known to have designed extensions to the house in 1877; Paul Sayer, 2010, ‘Daniel Rowntree Somerset: A scrupulously upright and conscientious gentleman', pp.231-232; Queenslander 17 April 1880, p.485 (obituary Daniel Somerset); Richard Allom (1987, St John’s Wood: An Architectural Assessment, p.2) has noted the strong similarities between St John’s Wood and ‘Oakwal’ [QHR600345] in Windsor. It was designed by James Cowlishaw for Sir James Cockle and built in 1864 on property previously owned by Somerset; Richard Gailey, was engaged by Cowlishaw (designer of ‘Oakwal’) as supervisor for construction of the Bank of NSW in 1864; call for tenders Brisbane Courier, 29 May 1865, p.1; Brisbane Courier, 5 June, 1877, p.1; Courier Mail, 31 July 1934, p.16 – Somerset’s Great-Granddaughter Mrs D B Smith of Atherton, writing to the Courier Mail about the provenance of St John’s Wood.

[8] Brisbane Courier, 15 March, 1867, p.1.

[9] Sayer, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, p.171; Brisbane Courier, 15 February 1867, p.2; Queenslander 23 May 1868, p.1; Moorhouse 2016, p. 26. The Somerset’s three children were young adults by 1865; younger daughter Emily had married in October 1864 – so presumably did not live with her parents

[10] A.A Morrison, and M Carter, 1966, ‘George Rogers Harding’, Australian Dictionary of Biography. online version,, accessed 18 March 2013; George Rogers Harding, Wikipedia entry., accessed 18 March 2013; Supreme Court Library - accessed 6 September 2018

[11] Queensland Births Deaths and Marriage indexes: Gwendoline Harding, born 8 December 1873; Manfred Cross, 2010, ‘The making of Ashgrove’, in Brisbane: People and Places of Ashgrove, p.5; Queensland Post Office Directory, 1874, p.179; Queenslander, 5 February 1876, p.12; George Rogers Harding, Wikipedia entry, Certificate of Titles:10215077, 10215075, 10267076 Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland Government.

[12] Brisbane Courier, 5 June, 1877, p.1; Sayer, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, p.172, 174-176; It is however possible that Harding added the cedar house during his lease (1868-1874) with the potential to relocate it if he failed to purchase the property. George and Emily Harding eventually had 14 children; two dying in childhood.

[13] Sayer, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, p.173.

[14] Brisbane Courier, 25 May, 1877, p.4.

[15] Brisbane Courier, 17 October 1901, p.7.

[16] Brisbane Courier, 2 September 1895, p.5; Queensland Figaro and Punch, 9 January 1886 p. 34; Queenslander, 4 December 1886, p.899.

[17] Telegraph, 11 May 1889, p.3; Queenslander, 28 December 1889, p.1220; Telegraph, 9 July 1892, p.6; Daily Northern Argus, 13 September 1892, p.5; Telegraph, I October 1892, p.6; 24 September 1892, p.3.

[18] Brisbane Courier, 30 October 1895, p.8; Sayer, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, p.173; Brisbane Courier, 30 October 1895, p.8; Supreme Court Library accessed 6 September 2018; accessed 6 September 2018.

[19] The Week, 6 September 1895, p.8 (funeral of Mr Justice Harding); Brisbane Courier, 13 June 1896, p.2; 11 July 1896, p.2; Telegraph, 7 September 1896, p.8; Darling Downs Gazette, 30 April 1898 p.1; 11 February 1899, p.1, 22 July 1899, p.9; 8 April 1919, p.5; Sayer, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, p.179-181.

[20] Brisbane Courier, 13 January 1900, p.2, 3 November 1902, p.2, 26 January 1903, p.2; 22 October 1910, p.14, 4 March 1911, p.15,10 June 1912, p.12, 18 June 1914 p.10, 8 August 1914, p.9, 14 August 1914, p.10, 29 July 1915, p.8, 30 July 1915, p.11, 6 June 1931, p.12; Truth, 4 January 1925, p.4; Brisbane Courier, 2 August 1927, p.20,  24 December 1927, p.6; Certificate of Title:10215077. In 1914 Robert Murphy, a carpenter, and John Gormley, a labourer, appear on an electoral list with St John’s Wood as their address.

[21] Brisbane Courier, 16 August 1924, p.13; 10 October 1924, p.20, Blake and Kennedy, Glenlyon Conservation Study, p.10; Survey Plan RP42290 and Certificate of Title: 11650223.

[22] An oft repeated claim is that Prince Albert and Prince George (later George V) spent time at St John’s Wood in 1881, due to Harding’s friendship with the Prince of Wales, Edward II are refuted. Contemporary reports extensively covered their busy three day schedule, and while they did attend a ministerial picnic at the Enoggera Waterworks (and thus had an opportunity to visit riding there and back) there is no record of any time spent at St John’s Wood. A later visit by George V and his wife Mary in 1901 during their Federation tour is even more unlikely, as no Hardings resided at St John’s Wood by this time. The stories of the royal visits appear to have been a way of marketing the property when it was subdivided by subsequent owner Francis Anglim, as ‘high class suburb’ in the 1920s. (Queensland Figaro and Punch, 6 March 1886, pp.33-34; see Sayer, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, pp.174-176 for discussion of royal visits. In 1924, when house sites at St John’s Wood were first offered for sale, references to royal visits appear in advertisements –see Brisbane Centenary Official Historical Souvenir August 1924 p. iv; Brisbane Courier, 17 December 1924, p.13; 17 December 1924, p.13; Morris Moorhouse, ‘St John’s Wood, The Service Area’ – interview with Nancy Fursman, nee Winn – former servant at St Johns Wood, typescript, 2001, John Oxley Library; Sunday Mail, 10 October 1926, p.8.

[23] Certificate of Title: 11650223; Moorhouse, pp.29, 75; Courier Mail 19 April 1934, p.14; 29 October 1936, p.11.

[24] Moorhouse pp. 29-32, 38

[25] Sayer, ‘This other Eden: George Rogers Harding of St John’s Wood’, p.181; Courier-Mail, 19 December 1979; Certificate of Titles 11650223, 13170043; Survey Plan RP89985 (1958); BCC Archives - list of streets renamed 1939; Country Style Magazine, August 2000, pp. 26-30; Moorhouse p.11.

[26] Moorhouse, Morris – Our House, Ashgrove Historical Society, 2016.

[27] Letter from Dr Stephen Uticlk (Director for Australia International Camellia Society 2016-18), 29 September 2016, supplied by property owner Kathy Davis in 2018; revised identification by Dr Uticlk emailed 29 August 2018; ‘The legacy of the Darling Nursery and Shepherd and Co of Colonial Sydney’ – information provided by Dr Uticlk and Greg Johnson of the Australian Garden History Society. accessed 9 August 2018; published 28 July 2015, author Graham Ross for ‘Gardening Australia’.

 [28] 1860s stone houses with retained service areas: ‘Bardon House’ QHR 60053; ‘Old Government House’ QHR 600118; ‘Kedron Lodge’ QHR 600238; ‘Conon’ QHR 600346 – other stone houses listed without identified service areas: ‘Toorak House’ QHR 600286; ‘Craigerne’ QHR 600286; ‘Oakwal’ QHR 600345 has had its original service wing demolished and its functions incorporated into part of the house; BCC local heritage 1860s stone houses ‘Wunkoo’ and ‘Eldernell’ (Bishopsbourne) at Hamilton appear to have not retained service areas.

Image gallery


Location of St John's Wood and Service Wing within Queensland
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Last updated
20 January 2016
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