Milton House View Protection Snags Kings Row Approval

The ambitious four-tower Kings Row project proposed for the Milton riverfront has hit a roadblock over protecting sightlines to the heritage-listed Milton House. 

Read: Milton Residents Voice Concerns Over Billionaire Developer’s Ambitious Project

Developer Shayher Alliance seeks to transform the Coronation Drive site into a mixed urban village, but the plan’s scale has drawn scrutiny from state and local entities.

The State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) postponed its ruling on the 37-storey towers until April amidst worries of obstructed views of the Milton House from the Brisbane River. 

Milton House (Photo credit: Heritage Branch/Queensland Heritage Register)

Constructed from 1852-1853, Milton House served as the residence of pioneering Brisbane chemist Ambrose Eldridge and his politically active family until 1855. 

The landmark home located at McDougall St, was then sold to pastoralist John Frederick McDougall, who expanded the estate and leased it out to a series of prominent tenants, such as Arthur Manning, the Colonial Under-Secretary, Henry Walsh, MLC and speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and James Crombie.

Milton House, Milton, ca. 1870. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland 

SARA asked Shayher for more time to evaluate compliance with heritage codes safeguarding the colonial homestead’s visibility.

Meanwhile, Brisbane City Council has resumed discussions with Shayher after the company paused the development application process in late December. Over 120 public submissions objected to the proposal’s size, lack of greenspace, traffic impacts and interference with views.

Artist’s impression of heritage view from Coronation Drive (Photo credit: Urbis)

Greens MP Stephen Bates echoed similar community concerns, applauding council officers for highlighting issues like obscured sightlines to Mount Coot-tha. 

Residents also argued that the 30 to 37-storey height violates the City Plan and the Milton Neighbourhood Plan, conflicting with zoning intentions. 

Photo credit: Urbis

Responding to such objections, Urbis, on behalf of the developer, conceded exceeding area building limits but rationalised the towers as suitably bridging Brisbane’s CBD with outer regions amidst the city’s housing shortage.

Photo credit: Urbis

Shayher defended the project in the application as a landmark design suitably transitioning from Brisbane’s CBD whilst providing needed housing.

Read: Historic Homes in Brisbane: Milton House

The $300 million vision would transform 14,780 sqm into a retail plaza surrounded by 30-37 storey towers combining public riverfront access with units, sports facilities and shops. But unlocking Milton’s river edge hinges on satisfying worries about dwarfed heritage vistas. After almost a year in review, the future of the Kings Row project remains clouded by the past.

Published 12-February-2024 

Historic Milton Site to be Transformed into a Thriving Urban Village

A $300 Million “urban village” development plan to transform the historic Milton site into a vibrant community, featuring four towers and preserving the iconic Milton House has been revealed..

Shayher Group has recently submitted concept plans for an ambitious project in Milton. The planned structure would replace one of the city’s oldest homes with a large “urban village” on a riverfront site. 

In the mixed-use project, four structures with a total height of 30 to 37 stories will be included with an estimated cost exceeding $300 million.

Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council / 

The primary objective of the masterplan scheme is to create a residential-led development that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding area. The proposed towers will house a diverse range of amenities, including multiple homes, serviced apartments, short-term accommodation, vertical retirement living, and office spaces. 

Additionally, the project aims to incorporate a subtropical public plaza, an indoor sports facility, shops, and retirement living options within the vibrant community of Milton.

The site, which stretches along Coronation Drive and the Brisbane River, was reportedly acquired by Shayher Group for $94.9 million. Currently, it comprises four office buildings of varying heights and the historic Milton House.

Photo Credit:  Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1853 for Ambrose Eldridge, a retired Queen Street chemist, the heritage-listed Milton House is one of the oldest surviving pre-Separation houses in Brisbane. The developers plan to preserve and adaptively reuse this historical treasure, emphasising its cultural significance within the project.

A 5,000 square metre area of the property will be made accessible as part of the renovation. It aims to give locals and tourists a much-needed parkland. This inclusion not only enhances the livability of the urban village but also offers Milton House unprecedented river views after decades of seclusion.

The project will be executed in two stages. The first stage will focus on the preservation and renovation of Milton House and the establishment of the Heritage Square precinct, which will include one of the towers. 

Subsequently, the second stage will involve the development of the Village Square precinct and the construction of three additional towers. The maximum building height was originally intended to be 40 stories, but after discussions with the council, this was reduced to 37 stories. 

Despite the reduction, the project still exceeds the height of the existing preliminary approval for four 20-storey buildings. Therefore, the outcome will be evaluated based on performance criteria.

Published 3-July-2023

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. 

Historic Homes in Brisbane: Milton House

One of the oldest surviving houses in Brisbane, Milton House is arguably the most significant landmark in the suburb.

The heritage-listed residence has been home to prominent personalities in Milton over the years. The house is also particularly special since this is where the suburb got its name.

Milton House helps in telling the story of Queensland’s history because of its association with important early agricultural experimentation and the pastoral development of the western suburbs. In fact, Milton house is the first substantial house in the western suburbs.

Get to know the history of Milton House and the important personalities that helped shape the suburb.

History of Milton House

BRISBANE’S HISTORIC HOMES, XLV.—MILTON HOUSE, MILTON. (1931, January 8). The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), p. 37. Photo credit: National Library of Australia

Built around 1852 or 1853 for retired Queen Street chemist Ambrose Eldridge, Milton House was the first substantial house in the area. The remarkable residence instantly became a local landmark.

Milton House was the base for Eldridge’s experimental farming. At the time, Moreton Bay region was still struggling to establish itself. Later, the home became the centre for JF McDougall’s considerable pastoral holdings in the area.

Ambrose Eldridge

Panoramic view of Milton, showing Milton House in the middle distance, ca. 1874. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 66141.

Despite having little knowledge of farming, Eldridge bought over 30 acres of land along the northern bank of the Brisbane River in 1851. He then named it Milton Farm after his birthplace which was Greater Milton, near Oxford, England.

Eldridge experimented with cotton growing to prove that agriculture at Moreton Bay is both sustainable and profitable. He was initially one of the most successful cotton growers in the area.

In 1853, his cotton experiment was successful that his samples of cotton sent to Sydney in a government-sponsored competition won first prize. He also sent samples of the Milton cotton to the Paris Exhibition of 1855, where it was highly acclaimed.

With the hopes of expanding his efforts to promoting sustainable local farming in Brisbane, Eldridge took a lease of approximately 400 acres of land at Eagle Farm. He later sold the Milton Estate to pastoralist John Frederick McDougall in January 1856.

Unfortunately, Eldridge’s Eagle Farm experiment seems to have failed which forced him to go back to the chemist business in 1859. He sadly died a year after, leaving his family penniless.

Notable Residents of Milton House

Milton House, Milton, ca. 1870. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

After acquiring the land, JF McDougall, a member of the first Queensland Legislative Council, farmed the Milton Estate and enlarged the house considerably.

The McDougalls then lived at Rosalie Station and let Milton from 1864.

Well-known personalities that have lived in the house included Arthur Manning, the Colonial Under-Secretary; Henry Walsh, MLC and speaker of the Legislative Assembly; and James Crombie.

Milton house later gave its name to the local suburb, whilst neighbouring Rosalie took its name from McDougall’s Darling Downs property.

After a few years of tenancy, Milton Farm was sold to the Queensland Investment and Land Mortgage Co. Ltd in 1885. The estate was then subdivided for residential development at a time when the newly created streets of McDougall, Manning, Walsh, and Crombie were named after previous owners or occupiers of Milton House.

Side view of Milton House with the Manning family on the verandah, 1868. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image Number: 63477

Other owners and occupiers of the historic home include:

  • The Commissioner of Police, David Thompson Seymour (1887).
  • Dr Hugh Bell, a noted physician and consultant at the Brisbane General Hospital for forty years (1888).
  • Grain merchant William Siemon and his family, who bought the estate in 1904 and renovated the premises in 1922.

The Siemon family then gave the property to the Presbyterian Church in 1955. The church used the Milton House as a hostel for women college students until 1983.

The building subsequently became part of the Kings Row Corporate Park development, at which time it was refurbished to resemble its outward appearance of the 1860s.

Milton House Now

The Milton House in 2018. Photo credit: kgbo/Wikimedia Commons

Today, Milton House remains to be a significant landmark in the suburb. It is currently one of the sites of Brisbane City Council’s Milton Heritage Trail.

The home still stands out with its striking features of Colonial Georgian architecture. Despite the developments that currently surrounds the heritage-listed home, a glimpse at the historic home reminds locals of its rich and valuable history.