Newstead House back on show after $6.6m refit

Newstead House in Brisbane
Newstead House has re-opened to the public after a major renovation. | Photo: Scott Brodie (iStock)

Brisbane’s oldest European residential property, Newstead House, has re-opened to the public following a $6.65 million renovation.

Now a living house museum and listed on the Queensland Heritage Register, the iconic river-front landmark, on Breakfast Creek Rd, in the city’s inner-north, has been part of the city’s social and cultural history for 178 years.

Newstead House Board of Trustees Chair Claire Moore said the three-year restoration included period decoration, furnishings and other elements to reflect when local businessman George Harris and his family were in residence from 1862 to 1889, the time when the house grew to its current size.

Ms Moore said evolving from a modest two-level Georgian cottage established in 1846 to the grand villa residence of today, Newstead House occupied an important place in the story of Brisbane’s evolution from the Moreton Bay penal settlement to a world-class city.

She said exterior and interior works included replacing roof tiles with Welsh slate shingles to match original materials, stone and brick conservation, repairing timber frames, flooring and screens, extensive drainage works and refinishing internal floors and walls.

“Extensive research, including a physical investigation ensured adherence to period style.”

Ms Moore said repainting the exterior of the main residence in a blue shade with stone-coloured details was done to reflect a colour scheme used by the Harris family, while the annexe was repainted using another colour scheme to highlight that it was erected in the decade after the Harris’ departure.

She said wallpaper remnants found on the walls in the house were used to recreate interior treatments with screen-printed patterns, while ceiling lighting was replaced with a museum-quality, floor-lit system.

“This labour of love has given this grand dame a much-needed facelift, well-deserved after 178 years and ensuring Newstead House is once again the life of the party.”