Uncovering Clovelly: A Journey through Time in Auchenflower

Clovelly is an early 20th century example of Queensland architecture, located on a ridge in the southeastern part of Auchenflower. Here’s a brief exploration of its past, revealing the stories and lives of those who called it home and chronicling the social evolution of the area from the early 20th century to the present time.

Facing Jones Street and shadowed by Dart Street, this house on 29 Kellett St represented the quintessential upper-middle-class residence of its era.

It has 11-ft, pressed-metal ceilings, spacious rooms, and wide verandas that characterise the architecture of its time. Its location on an elevated lot offers a glimpse into the societal stratification of the times, when larger homes enjoyed breezier, more scenic locations.

Early Twentieth Century: Virgin Land and Visionary Owners

The story of Clovelly’s land traces back to 1904 when Simon Edwin Munro bought it. Mr Munro became a part-owner of several large pastoral holdings. He also served as a Director of the Brisbane Gas Co and Telegraph Newspaper, and was a member of various clubs, including the Royal Queensland Golf Club and the Queensland and Brisbane Clubs. He mostly lived in Clayfield.

Clovelly Simon Edwin Munro
Photo Credit: Ehive

In 1910, Mr Munro subdivided the Auchenflower site and it was Willie Lane who developed Clovelly rapidly. The subsequent ownership by John McEwan Skirving, a Tasmanian-born miner turned successful Queensland property developer heralds a significant chapter in Clovelly’s history with his transformation of the land into a residential haven.

Skirving’s past as a miner at Cape York’s China camp adds an element of mystery to Clovelly’s history. His entrepreneurial spirit, demonstrated by his successful tin mining enterprises, enabled him to branch out into real estate development in Auchenflower. 

Clovelly the Cape York Miner
Photo Credit: Mark Austin/LinkedIn

Skirving directed the building of Clovelly and other nearby homes during the early 1910s, a significant turning point in the suburb.

From Social Hub to Family Homestead: Clovelly’s Evolving Role

The subsequent ownerships of Clovelly paint a vivid picture of Brisbane’s social evolution. From the widow Jessie Martin, who brought her societal influence to the residence, to the Blair family, who turned Clovelly into a hub of social gatherings and family life, each era reflected the changing dynamics of the Auchenflower community.

After her husband Sidney Martin’s death, Jessie moved to this house in 1920 and transferred the name “Clovelly” from their previous residence in Clayfield to her new home in Auchenflower. There is no earlier recorded name for the house before Jessie named it Clovelly.

Clovelly Jessie Martin
Photo Credit: John Oxley Library

Meanwhile, Betty Blair, with her forty-year connection to Clovelly, holds the record for the longest association with the house. She raised two daughters and pursued a career in journalism. 

Parties in Clovelly
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia
Parties in Clovelly
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

The mid-1900s saw Clovelly experiencing periods of vacancy and change. The Blairs’ tenure until the 1950s, followed by a phase of being boarded up, symbolised the shifting tides of time. Despite these changes, Clovelly retained its architectural integrity, escaping modern alterations that could have stripped away its historical essence.

The Boarding House Era and Beyond

The 1960s brought a new chapter with the transformation of Clovelly into a boarding house for students, reflecting the growing cosmopolitan nature of Auchenflower. This period, marked by the stewardship of a family committed to education and cultural exchange, added another layer to the house’s rich tapestry of stories.

In recent decades, Clovelly witnessed significant restorations, lovingly undertaken by private families passionate about preserving its historical charm. These renovations, respectful of the house’s heritage, ensured that Clovelly remained a beacon of Brisbane’s architectural history, even as it adapted to contemporary living standards.

Today, Clovelly stands not just as a structure of bricks and mortar but as a living chronicle of the people, events, and transformations that have shaped Auchenflower.

Information for this piece come from Trove, eHive, and an in-depth exploration of the history of Clovelly appearing on House Histories. Check out The Clovelly Story for more interesting details.

Published 11-Jan-2024

Popular Mannequin Nun on Milton Road Will Soon Say Goodbye

Sister Mary Angeline, the quirky mannequin nun that has captivated the hearts of Auchenflower locals, will soon be bidding Milton Road goodbye.

Affectionately named by her custodians Brad Ashwood and Simone De Haas, Sister Mary Angeline has been stationed behind a large glass window at 341 Milton Road since 2000.

Brad and Simone are theatre partners known for their creative flair. They initially set up the mannequin as a lighthearted way to brighten the daily routines of weary travellers.

Donning a range of hilarious costumes, the mannequin nun has become a familiar sight for commuters stuck in gridlocked traffic. Passersby have eagerly awaited each week’s ensemble, with the imaginative custodians dressing Sister Mary Angeline as everything from Batman to sporting team colours.

Amidst the many looks, the mannequin’s outfits that reflect on current events are the ones that have truly endeared her to the locals.

In 2011, as Milton Road experienced heavy flooding, Brad and Simone decided to give Sister Mary Angeline some floaties just in case the water levels rose to such heights. The floating nun adorned with her buoyant accessories quickly became a symbol of resilience and humour in the face of adversity.

Whenever something big happens in the news, you can bet your house on seeing the mannequin nun dressed up to match the occasion. She has been the barometer of what’s going on in this part of the world.

However, it appears that Sister Mary Angeline’s days on Milton Road are numbered. Brad and Simone have made the difficult decision to sell their house and embark on a sea- or tree-change of lifestyle. Nevertheless, they assure fans that the mannequin nun’s flamboyant costume-wearing antics will persist, no matter where they decide to call home next.

Published 25-June-2023 

Australian Unity Gets Approval For New $100M Retirement And Aged Care Village in Auchenflower

Australian Unity is now moving forward with the construction of a $100 million retirement and aged care village project in Auchenflower after getting a green light for the project.

Read: Retail and Commercial Tower on Lang Pde in Auchenflower Receives Preliminary Approval

Prior to Australian Unity’s acquisition of the site in 2021, previous owners received an approval to build a vertical retirement village and residential aged care precinct on the site, located at 9-17 Harriett Street, Auchenflower.

However, Australian Unity has appointed the award-winning Fender Katsalidis to redesign the building to make it more community-focused.

Artist’s impression for the Auchenflower retirement village (Photo credit: Fender Katsalidis)

This redesign aims to meet the increasing demand for aged care facilities in Queensland, providing high-quality accommodation and services that cater to the needs of the ageing population.


Photo credit: Fender Katsalidis

Jessica Lee, the Principal of Fender Katsalidis, has stated that the retirement and aged care village project in Auchenflower showcases the firm’s dedication to human-centric design that enhances the overall well-being of the residents. 

The project’s design is tailored to fit into the local neighborhood, offering a variety of high-quality accommodation options that promote well-being, a sense of belonging, and a strong community spirit.

The retirement village will include 87 independent living apartments and 108 residential aged care units. The latest plans show that there will be one less independent living apartment and two fewer residential aged care units than initially proposed.

Photo credit: Fender Katsalidis

Australian Unity’s retirement village in Auchenflower will occupy a 6897 sqm site and consist of three buildings with heights of three, seven, and ten storeys.

The communal space will expand to almost double its original size, increasing from 570 sqm to 1139 sqm. 

Read: Revisiting The Life of Thomas Mathewson and His Former Home In Auchenflower

Along with residential aged care units and independent living apartments, the village will also include a cafe, a hairdresser, a consultation room for medical practitioners, and a rehabilitation gym, ensuring that the residents have access to essential services and facilities.

The Holy Spirit Catholic Church on the subject site will be retained.

Published 14-April-2023

Moorlands: The Sad History of An Alleged Murderer’s House

Sitting in the Wesley Hospital complex in Auchenflower, Moorlands once belonged to Mary Mayne, the widow of Patrick Mayne, a prominent Brisbane resident who allegedly confessed to murder on his deathbed.

Following her husband’s death, Mary bought the Moorlands estate from John Markwell in the 1870s and moved in with her four children: James, William, Isaac and Mary Emelia. Her fifth and youngest child joined the Sisters of Mercy.

Photo Credit: Queensland Places

However, because of her husband’s reputation, neighbourhood kids were instructed to avoid walking past the Moorlands. The Maynes were essentially isolated from their community. 

What Did Patrick Mayne Do?

Patrick Mayne, originally from Ireland, migrated to Brisbane in the 1840s. He found work as a slaughterman but eventually established his own butcher shop. His business became a success, making Patrick one of the richest men in the city. In 1859, Patrick became an alderman at Brisbane’s first council.

However, Patrick died of an unknown illness in 1865. In the book, “The Mayne Inheritance,” he allegedly made a confession on his deathbed to murdering a man in Kangaroo Point in his early years in Brisbane because of a large amount of money.

Rebuilding the Moorlands

In 1892, the family redeveloped the existing timber residence with this magnificent home designed by Richard Gailey and built by Arthur Smith. It was understood that the Maynes kept a time capsule underneath the house’s foundation stone that contained newspaper clippings and the reason for rebuilding the house. 

Moorlands in the 1920s
Moorlands 1971
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

After their mother’s death in 1889, the children continued to live in the Moorlands and focused on atoning for their father’s crime. None of them had children to pass on to the family’s future generation.

James became a doctor and the superintendent at the Brisbane General Hospital (now Royal Brisbane Hospital). Mary donated to churches and causes while Isaac descended into a state of madness and lived in one of the boarded-up rooms until he was moved into an asylum after he was linked to the killing of a Japanese man at Milton Station.

Eventually, James and Mary decided to bequeath the Moorlands to the University of Queensland, but she was allowed to live in the house until her final days. During World War II, the Moorlands was occupied by the U.S. Army. After the war, it was made into a home for orphaned children.

In the 1970s, the Uniting Church bought the property and built the Wesley Hospital compound. The heritage-listed house became the administration’s building. 

Moorlands 1981
Photo Credit: QUT Digital Collections

No Compelling Evidence?

Since the publication of “The Mayne Inheritance,” arguments debunking the allegations of murder and questioning the validity of the claim of a deathbed confession in the book have been posited, specifically pointing out the absence of both direct or circumstantial evidence of murder.

All of these add to the irresistible story about Moorlands and the Mayne family history.

Published 9 April 2023

Revisiting The Life of Thomas Mathewson and His Former Home In Auchenflower

Thomas Mathewson’s historic home in Auchenflower has been given a new lease of life after current owners decided to restore the Queenslander rather than tearing it down, as a way of paying respect to the late photographer.

Read: Beloved Paediatrician from The Wesley Hospital Retires After 50 Years

Who Was Thomas Mathewson?

Thomas Mathewson was a well-known photographer who earned the title “Father of Photography in Queensland,” for starting the business in 1864, less than two decades after photography first arrived in Brisbane.

He was born in Helensburgh, Scotland and arrived in Australia in 1852 when he was only 11 years old. When both of his parents passed away, young Thomas was brought up by the Cribb and Foote families, who were among the wealthy families in Ipswich at the time.

Thomas Mathewson
Photo credit: State Library of Queensland

They were known for owning Cribb & Foote, a department store in Ipswich, which operated in the area for around 128 years. In 1971, Walter Reid & Co bought Crib & Foote and changed the store to Reids.

Thomas Mathewson
Photo credit: State Library of Queensland

Mr Mathewson got his knowledge in photography from amateur photographer Rev Beazley during his teenage years.

As a photographer, he was known for travelling with his photographic equipment. He also set up his studios at various locations, including Ipswich, Toowoomba, Dalby, Rockhampton, and Bowen.

Photo credit: State Library of Queensland

Mathewson’s Former Home

Photo credit: Mii and Co/Facebook

The historic Queenslander, also known as “Monterey” is located at 18 Aldridge St, Auchenflower. Built in 1912, the house has five bedrooms and three bathrooms. It has the characteristics of a typical Queenslander, with high ceilings, timber floors, and a front verandah with stunning views of the city.

Photo credit: Mii and Co/Facebook

The property was recently developed by Mii and Co, owned by Michelle Cao. The property has been subdivided, with the other half of the block to be the location of Ms Cao’s five apartment units, called The Rise.

Read: Striking Milton Residential Tower Looks Like a Paperbark Tree

Despite the extensive renovations needed for the house, Ms Cao decided to restore “Monterey” to its former glory in honour of its historic roots. 

Published 30-March-2023

Beloved Paediatrician from The Wesley Hospital Retires After 50 Years

Dr Bruce Lewis, beloved paediatrician, has cared for children at The Wesley Hospital for the last 50 years. Now it’s time to hang up his stethoscope for a much-deserved retirement.

The good doctor has been with The Wesley Hospital for 35 years but he started his career in Sydney in the 1970s after loving his paediatric work at the Blacktown Hospital. His distinguished career took him worldwide, including New Zealand and the United States where he completed his paediatric training. 

Before the birth of his second child, Dr Lewis returned to his hometown of Brisbane and set his sights on creating the Wesley Maternity Services and Special Care Unit. Since opening in January 1988, the world-class unit has welcomed tens of thousands of Brisbane babies into the world. 

“The unit has been designed with the utmost care for mothers and babies in mind, we have our Special Care Unit right next to the birth suites for babies born before term or those who need extra care,” Dr Lewis said.

“I am very proud of the service we have built, so much so we are seeing mothers who themselves were born here coming back to have their own babies.

“It’s been wonderful to watch the unit grow over 35 years and a joy and privilege to welcome babies into the world and see them grow over the years.” 

Dr Lewis said one of his fondest memories of the Wesley Maternity unit was seeing both his son and grandson born there. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

Mother, Nikki Rathbone welcomed triplets Tom, Isla and Louie on 13 July 2015 at just 32 weeks old, the babies stayed in the Special Care Unit under the watchful eye of Dr Lewis for seven weeks.

“The triplets are turning eight years old and absolutely thriving, I credit their good health to Dr Lewis who took such amazing care of them,” Nikki said.

Clinical Nurse Manager of The Wesley Hospital Paediatrics Ward Sonia Broadby said that Dr Lewis was like family and will be missed.

“He is an exceptional man who develops an instant rapport with children, you can see it in his face when he is interacting with a child, I believe this is what makes him an exceptional doctor,” Sonia said.

“We are very sad to see him go but we are so proud of the legacy he has left for our younger paediatricians to follow in.” 

Published 25 March 2023

Overhauled Peach Cafe in Auchenflower Bigger and Better Than Ever

After losing nearly everything after the flooding in Brisbane in 2022, Peach Cafe in Auchenflower has undergone and completed an overhaul that has made the charming neighbourhood favourite bigger and better than before.

The Instagrammable cafe, serving the most beautifully plated dishes and pastries, has more seats in its weather-proof and covered back area, where at least 60 to 80 guests can enjoy their brunch. The Scandinavian-inspired seats provide such a clean and cosy look, matched with picnic tables with cute peach-coloured umbrellas for more communal dining outdoors. 

Photo Credit: Peach Cafe/Facebook

Peach Cafe owner Nick Riccardo said that the overhaul was in the plan, prior to the destructive flood, to align the site’s aesthetics with its attractive and appealing food. 

However, Scarlett Spurr, who heads the kitchen, had to overhaul the menu as well to keep with the trends and also create a balance between flavour and comfort that sticks with their customer’s diet preferences. However, favourites like avocado on sourdough or eggs on toast remain on the menu.

Along with the changes, Peach Cafe also introduced a QR code ordering system that streamlines the menu with actual photos to make ordering a lot more convenient for their customers. 

Peach Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch from Monday to Sunday. Follow their Instagram page for more updates. 

“Fantastic cafe which was busy but still provided fast friendly service and excellent food. Great presentation.  And I don’t mind busy as it means the food is fresh. I can’t wait to go back!”

Alison Blythe

“My daughter just had her 15th birthday brunch at Peach Café. I have nothing but good things to say about the food, the atmosphere, the service which was second to none. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. I would like to thank everyone but especially Emily for personally attending to us. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re all fantastic.”

Nasrin Amin

“Really lovely Cafe, very pretty and clean. The food was delicious, I had the Auchenflower passionfruit granola, it was so good!  The coffee was great. The staff were friendly and welcoming. I will definitely be back soon. Vegetarian options: Great selection of vegetarian options – Kid-friendliness: Children’s play area – Parking: Parked on the street close to the cafe”

Raelene Pasfield

Published 19 March 2023

Compassionate Care Volunteers Needed For Vulnerable Patients at The Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower

The Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower has launched a Vulnerable In-patient (VIP) Service and needs more Compassionate Care volunteers for patients at risk of loneliness, anxiety or require companionship for social engagement due to special needs. 

As part of the Compassionate Care team, these volunteers will receive extensive training from both the hospital’s Pastoral Care and clinical teams to provide high-quality clinical care and support the patient’s social and emotional needs during their stay at The Wesley Hospital.

Research has demonstrated that social engagement while in hospital has many benefits for patients including reduced behaviours, decreased length of stay and faster recovery. The vulnerability may look different for each patient and could be caused by a long hospital stay, significant distance from home and support networks, impaired mobility or increased stress and anxiety.  

The activities volunteers can do with patients vary but could include, conversations over a cup of tea, going for a walk in the gardens, doing a jigsaw puzzle, playing a board game or sharing a meal together. 

“While routines in hospital are focused on providing high-quality clinical care this environment can at times be disruptive and stressful, especially when a patient does not have a support network close to them,” The Wesley Hospital Chaplain Leanne Duncan said.

“We know that social engagement has many benefits for patients and is demonstrated to support recovery and reduce the length of stay in hospital. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

“We identify our vulnerable patients as those who may be in hospital for a long period of time, those who come from regional/remote areas, those with no family or friends close by and those with mobility or cognitive impairments.”

The service has been trialled on Nurse Unit Manager Kerrie Blocksidge’s ward which is comprised mostly of older patients.

“We absolutely love the VIP service here and it has made such a positive impact not only with our patients but our nursing staff as well,” Kerrie said.

“You can’t measure happiness but we certainly notice a change in our patients after they have had a visit from a volunteer, I believe it’s a wonderful initiative and we would welcome more volunteers to our ward any day.”

VIP Service Compassionate Care Volunteer Pauline said she jumped at the opportunity to make such a meaningful impact on the patients.

“This feeds my heart, I really enjoy spending time with these people, they get the opportunity to take their minds off their hospital stay and talk about something different,” Pauline said.

“Some of the patients live regionally or remotely and have limited support networks here in Brisbane, having a friendly face to chat with makes a huge impact. I love seeing them at the end of my visit far more animated than when I first walked in, I feel like I made a difference.”

The Wesley Hospital is seeking expressions of interest for Compassionate Companion volunteers to work alongside clinical staff, in four-hour shifts. 10am -2pm in various wards across the hospital. 

Published 18 March 2023

Auchenflower Stadium Secures $1.34 Million Recovery Funding

A $1.34-million recovery funding agreement has moved Auchenflower Stadium one step closer to being rebuilt. The facility is one of 200 other disaster-affected sites that will benefit from a $75-million recovery and resilience program.

Queensland Sports Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said that the $1.34 million funding will be used to replace the indoor basketball courts of the Auchenflower Stadium, which were “warped beyond repair” because of the flooding in February 2022.

The venue is vital to the community, as more than 7,500 games are played at the Auchenflower Stadium every year. However, because of the flood damage, only 772 fewer games have been played year-round, impacting thousands of players, coaches and supporters.

“This funding will see two new timber courts laid by tradies to return the stadium to full playing capacity as soon as practical,” Mr Hinchcliffe said.     

“We know the last year has been heartbreaking for players, coaches and volunteers across many parts of Queensland.

“This year, more than 150 sites in 20 Queensland Local Government Areas have been assessed for damage to make sure recovery funding goes to where it’s needed most.

“Volunteers and council staff have worked incredibly hard to get sporting and council facilities back on their feet ahead of the roll out of major repairs and replacement infrastructure.

“It has been a tremendous effort that demonstrates the true resilience of Queenslanders.”

Auchenflower Station Upgrades to Affect Some Commuters

Photo Credit: Supplied/Queensland Rail

Commuters who regularly take the train at the Auchenflower station, take note! There will be changes to the service due to the closure of Platform 1 for ongoing upgrades.

From 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Monday, 31 October, to Friday, 4 November 2022, no outbound rail services heading towards the Ipswich/Rosewood stations or Springfield Central station will stop at the Auchenflower station. 

Instead, the public is advised to go to the Toowong station and change to any inbound service. Those leaving Auchenflower, on the other hand, are asked to travel inbound to the Milton station and then change to an outbound service. Other services in Auchenflower will not be affected.

Auchenflower Station
Photo Credit: Supplied/Queensland Rail

Riders to the trains should also be aware that the station footbridge Lang Parade entrance will be temporarily closed due to more flooring works. Commuters are asked to take the new footbridge between Ridley Street and Lang Parade. 

Photo Credit: Supplied/Queensland Rail
Photo Credit: Supplied/Queensland Rail

Meanwhile, full road closure near Auchenflower Terrace, between McIlwraith and Ridley streets, will last until Wednesday, 30 November 2022 because of the construction activities. Motorist traffic will be diverted to McIlwraith and Harriett streets whilst pedestrian access will be opened on the western side. 

The carpark at the Auchenflower station will still be closed for the rest of November. Motorists may look for on-street parking or park at the Toowong Station. 

Photo Credit: Supplied/Queensland Rail
Photo Credit: Supplied/Queensland Rail

For enquiries and comments about the upgrades and construction works, phone the Station Upgrade Project at 1800 722 203 or send an email to Queensland Rail at stationsupgrade@qr.com.au.