So you’re thinking of painting your heritage property?

Perhaps the most daunting task homeowners’ face is repainting their house. This is especially true for owners of historic homes.

Nearly everyone has driven by a house and said, “Oh my, what were they thinking?”

Colour selection for historic homes is a challenge. Consideration of so many architectural features such as porches and gables can make the task overwhelming and mistakes in colour can be expensive.

Queenslander in Thorn Street

Exterior house colour options changed throughout the 19th century in much the same way as fashions. Technological advancements and altered public taste helped foster an evolving colour landscape that went from soft, almost pastel colours in the 1840’s to dark, drab schemes in the 1880’s then to stronger colours with bright, white trim near the turn of the 20th century.

In the sixties, most older homes were painted solid while. This reflected the influences of modernism and its call for clean lines and monochromatic surfaces.

It is interesting to see the return of the ‘grey’ house in Ipswich. A grey exterior was very popular in the sixties, in particular the homes of railway employees, a striking similarity to the grey of railway carriages. An example, our home at 15 Rowland Terrace was painted grey most of its life until cladded in the seventies. When sold, the new owner removed the cladding and painted grey!

The first step in colour selection should be to determine what architectural style your house is (Gothic, Victorian, etc.) and approximate when it was built. This helps establish a historical time frame for possible colour palette options.

Once you have a sense of when your house was built and what period its architectural style is, you can begin looking at which colours were available at that time. The internet is a powerful tool as many scholarly and government agencies have posted information regarding period house colours.

With architectural style information and historic colour cards in hand, you can begin to consider colour options. This is a critical point in the process because it is here you have several paths you can take to achieve a stunning result.

Some homeowners will opt to copy another house’s colour scheme either locally, seen on a trip or in a book or magazine. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It should be noted that when following this path, what looks good on one house style may not be as appealing on yours. The amount of body colour and placement of architectural details varies greatly among house styles and these items have a huge effect on how a colour scheme will work out.

One important point to remember is that “there is no rule” that says you have to paint your house using only the colours that were available when it was built. Remember your home has existed through several historic colour periods and it was likely repainted in newer, more modern colours in each of them. It is perfectly fine to have a period home in today’s colours, if that is what suits you. After all, it is YOUR home.

~~ June Frank

This post first appeared as an article in the 2017 Summer edition of the QT Magazine, published 2nd December.

Thank you and Merry Christmas

Thank you so much for everyone’s support this year. Since our launch, we have come so far, but still have much more we wish to accomplish.

June Frank and James Sturges, Founders at the Ipswich Heritage Club Launch 2017

If you are a member or friend of the club, you may have already received a letter from us regarding our first meeting of 2018. This meeting will be held on Friday the 2nd of February at 6pm at Garowie, the home of our doyenne, June Frank. June last opened Garowie to the public in 2016, so this will be a rare opportunity to have a closer look.

Garowie, Breast Cancer Fundraiser, 2016

This meeting will be strictly members and invited guests only. The Club will be hosting special guests Fiona Gardiner, Director of Heritage, Environmental Policy and Planning, and Kathy Davis, a member of the Queensland Heritage Council. One of our aims here at the Ipswich Heritage Club is to advocate on behalf of heritage property owners and this meeting will provide us an opportunity to do just that. We encourage any of our members who would have concerns they would like raised with Ms Gardiner to contact us prior to the meeting.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank MP Jennifer Howard. Ms Howard has been a supporter and advocate for the Club since the beginning, in fact since before the Ipswich Heritage Club’s launch, and has been instrumental in arranging Ms Gardiner’s attendance.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to or 0434 345 871. The deadline to RSVP is Monday 29th January.

If you are not yet a member, but would like to attend, there is certainly time to join. For $150/annum, our members receive free access to all 10 meetings a year.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays. We will be sneaking around town in the lead up to Christmas snapping shots of some of Ipswich’s beautiful heritage houses dressed in their holiday best to post on our instagram and facebook page. Or, if you would like to share your own photos, please do!

November Meeting Announcement

We are very excited to be announcing that our next meeting will be held at 6pm on November 3rd at the Ipswich Antique Centre in East Street.

Our guest speaker for the evening will be Heather Mildwaters, one of the owners of the Antique Centre, who has generously agreed to share some of the journey of restoring the formerly neglected Queensland Heritage Registered Building with the assistance of architect, Peter Johnston of Tait, Morton and Johnston and builder, Rob Kurtz of Kurtz Constructions.

We would very much love for all our members and friends to join us on the night. Attendance for members is free and for non-members there will be a cover charge of $30pp, payable on the night.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP before Tuesday 31st October to or call 0434 345 871.

Highlights from our October Meeting

June and the administration team of the Ipswich Heritage Club would like to thank everyone who helped make our October meeting a success.

We were once again hosted by the Ipswich Club and owe a big thank you to Fenton and Lisa for the delicious catering and great service. We would also like to thank MP Jennifer Howard for attending, Michael Munt of Biztopia for sponsoring the evening and the Queensland Times, our media partner.

We were honoured to have Mayor Andrew Antoniolli attend and present our first awards. One of the Ipswich Heritage Club’s goals is to support our members throughout the process of restoring their heritage properties and one way we will be doing so is by acknowledging the restoration and renovation projects of members, large or small.

Doyenne June Frank with Val Petersen and Mayor Antoniolli

The first of our awards was granted to Val Petersen in acknowledgement of the restoration of Elamang in East Ipswich conducted by her and her late husband, Ben. When Val and Ben purchased Elamang, it was several flats, having been converted by the Queensland Times for use by it’s employees. Today, thanks to Val and Ben, Elamang is a stunning six bedroom, Victorian residence.

Elamang. Photo by Open2View Photography. 2016

The second award of the night was presented to Kathryn and Michael Simmons for their extensive restoration of Frampton Villa on Whitehill Road.

Mayor Antoniolli with Michael Simmons, Kathryn Simmons and June Frank

Since purchase in 2014, Kathryn and Michael have undertaken the monumental project of restoring Frampton Villa. Kathryn and Michael have completed much of the work themselves, all while working and raising two young children.

Frampton Villa on Whitehill Road – 2014 and 2017

Finally, the Ipswich Heritage Club presented an award to Dan and Edwina Ferrett of Tokal on Harlin Road. The new fence Dan and Edwina have erected enhances the property and frames the house beautifully in a way the former, wire fence failed to do.

Mayor Antoniolli, Edwina Ferrett, Dan Ferrett and June Frank
Tokal house on Harlin Road

The highlight of the night was Geoff Thompson’s presentation on “Bleak House – the house that moved twice”. We were very grateful to Geoff for presenting and sharing both his research into Bleak House and family memories.

We hope everyone had a great time. Our next meeting will be held at 6pm on November 3rd at the Ipswich Antique Centre. We would love to see you there.

In the meantime, we are still seeking photos and information on heritage properties which were turning into flats during wartime. If you have any such photos or information, would like to find out more about the Ipswich Heritage Club, or would like to share your story, please contact us at or 0434 345 871.

Announcing our October meeting with guest speaker Geoff Thompson


The Ipswich Heritage Club is very excited to confirm Geoff Thompson will be joining us at our October Meeting to present ‘Bleak House Ipswich – The house that moved twice’

Bleak House was originally a five-roomed cottage in Eastern Heights built in the 1860s. It was rebuilt by James Foote as a grand, two-storey mansion in the early 1890s, bought by his nephew Henry Smart Cribb after his death in 1895, before being partially demolished and moved in 1928 to make way for the Cribb Estate.

The lower story survived in South Street until 1985, when the house moved to Camp Mountain near Samford. There the new owners have restored it to its former glory.

Geoff Thompson is the great-grandson of Harry and Esther Cribb, through his late grandmother May Palmer and late mother Meg. He has had the benefit of access to his late cousin Viva Cribb’s research, along with access to family photographs, documents and stories.

Bleak House, Camp Mountain, SEQ.

Geoff has a background in entomology, scientific illustration and deep-focus digital photography. He has worked at the Queensland museum for 35 years, 30 years assisting curators of the insect collection and the last five as a Collection Imager.

In 2005, he was awarded a Queensland Smithsonian Fellowship to learn digital illustration techniques and assess digital imaging systems. He has been able to use his photographic and Photoshop skills to copy, restore and adjust many old family and Queensland Museum photographs.

We hope you can join us at The Ipswich Club on Friday 6th October from 6pm.

Tickets for non-members are $30 per person. Or become a member for $150 and attend 10 meetings as part of your membership.

RSVP to or phone 3202 4999


Built in 1895 for Richard Watson and his wife, Elamang, is a magnificent example of Victorian architecture. Located in East Ipswich, the property originally covered 22 acres, fronting Watson Street, Fox Street and Brisbane Road, and included stables and tennis courts.

Richard Watson, with his brothers and brother-in-law, establisted the successful Ipswich butchery firm, Messers Watson Bros and McLeod. Mr Watson served as Mayor of Ipswich (1911 -1912), Councillor to Bundamba Shire (1904 to 1910) and Brassall Shire (1914 – 1916), and Alderman (Ipswich City Council 1907 – 1920). On his death in 1928, an obituary in the Brisbane Time said  Mr Watson carried out his Mayoral duties with distinction.

Photo Elemang 1900 – 1910, Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich, Ipswich City Council

In 1924, Elamang was bought by Mr H. S Cribb’s son, Rex, and his wife. Although the Cribb family maintained the stables, the property’s size decreased from the original 22 acres to 3.

The property remained in the Cribb family until 1950, when it was sold to the Queensland Times, who converted the property to four flats for use by it’s employees.

Proposed Conversion of Residence into 4 flats for QLD Times Pty Ltd Brisbane Rd Booval

In 1965, Mr C W Gorbul purchased the property. The property was later purchased by the Pisasle family.

Elamang, as purchased by Mr and Ms Petersen

In 1984, the property was purchased by Ben and Valma Petersen.

In a huge undertaking, the Petersen’s converted the property back from flats into a six bedroom residence. They unveiled the previously enclosed verandahs and restored the cast iron lacework visible in early photographs. The roof was replaced and years of work with carpenters, painters and plumbers have brought this beauty back to life.

Despite the changes it has gone through over the years, Elamang has retained many of its original features.

Fortunately, when converting the property into flats, the original central hallway was preserved and enclosed, retaining the original cedar and allowing the Petersen’s to reveal the original floor plan.  The property also retains the original four Italian marble back to back fireplaces (two of which have been converted to gas), which would have been shipped from Italy at great expense.

Outside, the original sweeping staircase leads to an outstanding central gable frontispiece with intricate fretwork with double post front and side.  Elamang also retains the original cast iron crests, adoring the roof ridges, and the chimney.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication by Ben and Valma Petersen, Elamang today is a beautiful home.

Elamang 2016, photo by Shri Adigopula, Open2View

A tremendous thank you to the current owner of Elamang and Ipswich Heritage Club member, Val Petersen, for providing this information and many of the images included.

The Ipswich Heritage Club encourages all Ipswich Heritage property owners to share their experiences of our city’s heritage property. Please don’t hesitate to share your photos and stories to our facebook page

For more information about the Ipswich Heritage Club or to join call 0434 345 871 or email

Meet our first Members


Meet Michael and Kathryn Simmons. This passionate and energetic young couple are currently holding the heritage restoration flag high. So who are they? In their own words, “We are the crazy people who buy the houses that no one else wants because they are too much work! ”

So here’s a brief-ish outline…In 2007, both in their early twenties and still at university, they bought their first heritage property. A little, rundown workers cottage in North Ipswich. They have been slowly completing work over the years, having recently restumped and replaced the roof.

In 2008, they purchased Bowerlea at 2 South Street. “It was very run down but all of its beautiful original detailing had been retained.”   Michael and Kathryn graciously opened Bowerlea as part of the National Trust Great Houses of Ipswich in 2014. After spending 7 years restoring it to its original glory, and realising they had completed their journey with Bowerlea they decided to sell in 2015.

Later in 2015, Michael and Kathryn purchased Frampton Villa at 48 Whitehill Rd Eastern Heights. You would be excused for not knowing of or even noticing this residence as it had spent approximately 60 years as a hostel and rehabilitation centre.

When in fact this was originally a colonial home built in 1870-1890 as the ‘interim’ house for James Foote family while they built the ‘proper’ residence further down the road. The ‘proper’ residence has long since gone.

Michael and Kathryn having the vision of bringing this property back to life undertook this renovation with great gusto. “We spent 6 months undertaking extensive demolition and restoration of the front half of the house to make it habitable.”

To date they have opened the verandahs, reinstated most of the lacework and original style cedar doors and joinery, replaced verandah boards, reinstated window hoods, and landscaping!

All the while working full time and raising a family…..

“We still have a lot of work to go, including restoration of the semi-detached kitchen and original servant quarters…this will be another 5 years at least” Kathryn said… laughing.

You can follow their work via Michael’s Instagram account; @frampton_villa_restoration

Hello & Welcome!

Well, hello there and welcome to the Ipswich Heritage Club! It is so exciting to finally have a platform to celebrate and support the wonderful owners of Heritage property within Ipswich.

‘Notnel’ c1861 – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Owning a heritage property is an undertaking not many understand or appreciate unless you have walked the undulating path of restoration…it is relentless and sometimes may feel unrewarding. Especially if you happen to be the custodian of a National Heritage listed property…you my friends are the true champions.

The Ipswich Heritage Club is going to re-ignite your passion & provide support in every aspect of your journey. This will involve gathering on a regular basis, along with fine food and liquid refreshments…of course.

We will feature amazing homes and their owners on their journey, be it restoration, renovation or the ongoing maintenance of properties of all shapes and sizes.

There is still a lot of work for us to do before our launch but in the mean time, please call or email if you have any burning questions you need help with immediately.

e: /  ph: 0434 345 871