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Cremorne

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  • 600218
  • 34 Mullens Street, Hamilton

General

Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Residential: Villa
Theme
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
Architect
Eaton & Bates
Construction periods
1905–1906, House
1905–1960, Service wing
1930, Cremorne - Cutting
unknown, Cremorne - Gate - entrance pillars
unknown, Cremorne - Steps/stairway
unknown, Cremorne - Trees/plantings
unknown, Cremorne - Trellis
Historical period
1900–1914 Early 20th century
Style
Art Nouveau
Eclectic

Location

Address
34 Mullens Street, Hamilton
LGA
Brisbane City Council
Coordinates
-27.43912, 153.059377

Map

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Significance

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

Cremorne, a large, substantially intact timber residence constructed in 1905-06, is important in illustrating the continued development of Hamilton in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, as one of Brisbane's most prestigious suburbs.

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

The house is an outstanding example of Queensland federation-period domestic architecture, which, with its generous verandahs, distinctive rotundas, and attention to ventilation in the design, materials and details, addresses both aspect and climate in a creative and aesthetic manner.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Situated on a prominent riverside site, Cremorne and its grounds are significant for their landmark and aesthetic qualities.

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 house is important as the only identified Brisbane example of the domestic work of architects Eaton & Bates, who made a significant contribution to Queensland architecture in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

History

Cremorne is a substantial, single-storeyed, high-set timber residence erected c1905-06 for Brisbane publican James Denis O'Connor. It was designed by the firm of Eaton & Bates, Sydney-trained architects who built up a substantial Queensland practice from c1894-c1908.

JD O'Connor, born in Ireland c1860, had immigrated to South Australia in 1878, and was in business in Adelaide before moving north to Queensland, reputedly for health reasons, in 1889. His brother, Denis O'Connor, was already a well-known Brisbane publican, connected from at least 1884 with a number of Brisbane hotels, including the Globe, Dunmore Arms, O'Connor's Family Hotel [at Stones Corner], Oriental [later the Wickham] (QHR600213) from 1890, and later with the Prince Consort (QHR600212) in Fortitude Valley. JD O'Connor held the licence to the Stanley Hotel at the corner of Stanley Street and Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, 1890-96.

In Brisbane in 1895, JD O'Connor married Catherine Julia Graham, whose father, John Graham, was one of the earliest land holders at Moreton Bay, having purchased land at South Brisbane in 1842. Johnny Graham was a well-known Brisbane identity and property owner, and a keen sportsman. For 30 years, from 1866 to 1896, he held the licences to several South Brisbane hotels. He established Graham's Family Hotel in Stanley Street, South Brisbane in 1888, and held the licence until 1896, when it was transferred to his son-in-law, who changed the name to O'Connor's Hotel. JD O'Connor is understood to have sold O'Connor's Hotel c1909, and retired from the hotel business altogether c1913.

In 1904, JD O'Connor obtained title to nearly 1.5 acres of hillside land at Hamilton, formerly part of the Eldernell Estate and first subdivided in 1890. Here he erected a very fine timber residence which he named Cremorne. Although the JD O'Connor's had only one child, a daughter born in 1896, they erected a large house designed for entertaining, with generously proportioned rooms, and wide verandahs and verandah pavilions which took advantage of the magnificent views of the Brisbane river, southern suburbs and city. It was designed by one of the most fashionable architectural firms of the day, Messrs Eaton & Bates of Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville.

Sydney-trained architects George T Eaton and Albert E Bates had formed a partnership in Rockhampton c1894 and developed a successful Central Queensland practice in the late 19th century, with branch offices established at Mount Morgan and Longreach by 1898, Clermont in 1900, Gladstone in 1901, Maryborough in 1902, and Townsville by 1902. Arthur B Polin from Sydney joined the partnership in Townsville c1901; it becoming Eaton, Bates & Polin. After 1902 their head office was moved to Brisbane, with branches retained at Rockhampton and Townsville. A branch operated briefly at Toowoomba in the early 1900s. The practice undertook a wide variety of architectural work, from hotels and commercial buildings to residences, hospitals and masonic halls, and received a number of commissions from the Catholic Church, including churches, schools, convents and presbyteries. One of the practice’s most glamorous commissions was for the new Queen's Hotel [1901-04] (QHR 600936) at Townsville. Cremorne [1905-06] is one of their larger residential designs. Its style was eclectic, drawing upon both eastern and western classical traditions, with a particular emphasis on verandahs and pavilions - both as a decorative device and as appropriate to the Queensland climate.

Eaton & Bates called tenders for a large villa residence on the Eldernell Estate, Hamilton, in June 1905, and this is thought to refer to Cremorne. The O'Connor family was resident at Mullens Street, Hamilton, by 1907.

Three generations of the O'Connor family resided at the property for nearly 90 years, and retained ownership until the late 1990s. JD O'Connor had transferred title to his wife in 1916, prior to his death [at Cremorne] in 1919. Following Mrs O'Connor's death in 1952, Cremorne passed to their daughter, Lynette Mulcahy, who had married Thomas Edward Mulcahy in 1921. The Mulcahys had two children, a son and daughter, and Cremorne subsequently passed to their daughter, who subdivided the land, selling the house on a reduced site comprising two lots in 1998 and an access easement from Quarry Street to the east. Alterations and additions including an attached pavilion to the north-eastern corner of the house and a pool along the rear boundary were completed in 2008. In 2014, the southern allotment on Kingsford Smith Drive was subdivided into three. In 2015, roadwork has been undertaken to seal the easement and residences are being constructed on two of the three allotments.

Description

Cremorne is a large, imposing, single-storeyed timber residence, situated halfway up the steep slope of Eldernell/Hamilton Hill in Brisbane. It has expansive views of the Brisbane River and the city's south-eastern suburbs. and is a prominent landmark when viewed from the southern suburbs. It has a terraced front lawn, with a long, central flight of concrete steps leading to the lower terrace. A sealed driveway, accessed from Mullens Street through brick entrance pillars and a timber trellis, sweeps in front of the house and up around the eastern side of the property to a carport at the rear. This driveway is lined by an avenue of distinctive, mature Queen Palms [Arecastrum romanzoffianum].

The house is rectangular in plan, and has a corrugated iron-clad roof comprising a complex of hips, gables, ridges and pavilions, with decorative gablets and finials, and three brick chimney stacks. There are verandahs, with separate roofs, on all four sides. Several of these have been enclosed. The open verandahs all have simple timber balustrading and timber frieze, and ceilings of narrow tongue and groove boarding. Most of the walls are single-skin tongue and groove boarding, but where exposed to the weather, are clad externally with chamferboards.

Due to the natural slope of the ground toward the south, the house is high-set at the front facing south toward the river, but low-set at the rear, where there is a small, level backyard excavated from the hillside. The house mostly sits on timber stumps with concrete footings, but the perimeter stumps have been replaced by brick piers with arched timber battening between. A centrally positioned, divided brick stair, with a gabled portico above, gives access to the front verandah and front door.

The front elevation is dominated by a deep, open verandah with large rotundas or pavilions on the south-west and south-east corners, which take advantage of the views and river breezes. This verandah has simple timber valances, posts and balusters, and the rotundas have ogee-shaped cupolas above a frieze of pink and green glass panels. On the south-west corner of the house a large, faceted bay window projects onto the verandah from the main bedroom; this is mirrored on the south-east corner by another faceted bay projecting from the drawing room. Both bays are embellished with very fine Art Nouveau leadlights.There are similar leadlights around the front door. The front exterior wall has been lined with fibrous cement sheeting and timber battening at some time after construction.

On the western side of the house, the verandah outside the main and second bedrooms has been enclosed with casement windows and fibrous cement sheeting installed behind the timber balustrade. This area is separated from the south-west rotunda by large folding timber doors. The narrow, western verandah passageway outside the rear bedrooms and bathroom is only partly enclosed, with a timber frieze and timber lattice infill above the timber balustrade. Part of the eastern verandah, adjacent to the drawing room, is enclosed as a sunroom, with a single door opening onto the south-east corner rotunda. The rear verandah still functions as a passage, but is enclosed with chamferboards and sliding aluminium-framed windows.

Internally, the house retains the original configuration of rooms, with the private rooms on the western side separated by an entrance vestibule and north-south central hallway from the public rooms on the eastern side, and a service wing at the rear.

The private rooms comprise a master bedroom and second bedroom opening off the central hall, and a side passage leading west from the central hallway to the dressing room, bathroom, and another bedroom. A small bedroom at the north-west corner of the house is accessed from the now enclosed rear verandah. There is another room, possibly a former bedroom, which also opens off the back verandah, but it has been modified substantially.

Opening off the front vestibule to the east is the drawing room, which has a south-east bay with leadlight windows and french doors opening onto the front verandah. The dining room opens off the central hallway and has an eastern bay with leadlights and a large, step-out window opening onto the eastern verandah. The drawing and dining rooms are separated by a side passage which leads east off the central hallway to what is now the sunroom [formerly part of the eastern verandah]. The door opening from this hallway to the sunroom is an external door, with leadlight surrounds.

The service wing behind the dining room comprises servery, crockery room, kitchen [with a c1960 fit-out] and two servant's bedrooms, one of which has early linoleum flooring. A later bathroom and laundry are located on the enclosed verandah of the service wing.

The interior has early joinery throughout - including a decorative, arched timber divider between the entrance vestibule and central hallway, and timber arches to the side passageways - all of which has been painted. The drawing and dining rooms have fireplaces with early marbled timber fireplace surrounds, fireplace and hearth tiles, and metal grates and fenders. Most of the timber partition walls are clad with later fibrous cement sheeting with wallpaper and a later timber dado strip. Most of the rooms have later plaster ceilings, but the entrance vestibule and drawing room have early, decorative pressed metal ceilings. Floors throughout are of narrow hardwood.

The 2008 pavilion sited at the rear of the house in the north-western corner has a steeply pitched hipped roof and is clad in ribbed metal sheeting and weatherboards. A swimming pool and heavily landscaped gardens are located along the rear boundary.

Image gallery

Location

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