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

Thomas Mathewson
Photo credit: Google Street View

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.


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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.

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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.


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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