Milton House, One of Brisbane’s Oldest Homes, Undergoes Restoration Work

The historic Milton House, one of Brisbane’s oldest homes, is undergoing restoration work as part of a projected $350-million investment to transform Kings Row Office Park on McDougall Street as a mixed-use precinct.

Shayher Group, which owns Kings Row Office Park, has been granted approval in September 2021 (DA A005719414)  to carry out building work and reconfigurations that will see the site as a business centre with multiple unit dwellings, indoor sports facilities, restaurant, and community facilities. 

The revamp begins with Milton House, which has now been wrapped in scaffolding since mid-February 2022. 

The heritage-listed Milton House has largely been vacant but tenants of the neighbouring buildings occasionally use the property, which is next to the tennis court, as a meeting or workshop area. Its restoration will include improved interiors, kitchen, and new toilets for men and women. 

Photo Credit: Developmenti/BCC

Milton House was constructed between 1852 to 1853 as the home of Sydney chemist Ambrose Eldridge. It was one of the first significant residential landmarks in the early years of Brisbane’s growth as a city. A respected resident, Mr Eldrige was active in Brisbane’s political, civic, economic, and social scenes. 

His family resided in Milton House until 1855. Pastoralist John Frederick McDougall bought the mansion a year later as Mr Eldridge moved to Ipswich, where he died in 1860.

Mr McDougall, on the other hand, expanded Milton House’s estate and opened leaseholds for the property. Some of its tenants were Arthur Manning, the Colonial Under-Secretary, Henry Walsh, MLC and speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and James Crombie.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By 1885, the estate was sold to Queensland Investment and Land Mortgage Co. Ltd and its lands were subdivided for residential development. 

But the original Milton House stood the test of time and also housed The Commissioner of Police, David Thompson Seymour, noted Brisbane General Hospital physician Dr Hugh Bell, and grain merchant William Siemon.

The Siemon family donated the property to the Presbyterian Church in the 1950s and became a hostel for female students.

Eventually, the precinct was redeveloped as Kings Row Park, which Shayher Group group purchased for $98 million in 2016.