Historic Houses of Brisbane…Newstead House

BRISBANE’S HISTORIC HOMES-NO. I., NEWSTEAD HOUSE.Newstead House, delightfully situated at the Junction of the Brisbane River and Breakfast Creek, was originally the resi-dence of the first Government Resident at Brisbane, Captain Wickham

Newstead House Brisbane…oldest house in Brisbane..

Newstead House is a heritage listed property operating as a  living museum. Considered one of the most significant properties in Brisbane and Queensland,  located just minutes from the CBD.

Discover the layers of Brisbane’s oldest surviving residence Newstead House, now part of the living history of Brisbane city, operating as a house museum for you to enjoy.
After the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement closed and land was subdivided and offered for sale, brothers-in-law Patrick Leslie and Captain John Clements Wickham purchased adjoining allotments on the riverbank overlooking Bulimba in April 1845. Leslie also purchased an adjoining lot to the west along Breakfast Creek. Leslie was in financial difficulties at this time and purchased his 34 acres in his father’s name; Scottish Laird William Leslie.
Patrick Leslie’s brothers George and Walter had already established grazing runs on the Darling Downs at ‘Toolburra’ and ‘Canning Downs’ in 1840. Patrick was the first European to bring flocks of sheep to the Downs following advice from Allan Cunningham of the potential of the region. Patrick Leslie was intent on establishing a small farm on his property on the Brisbane River which he named Newstead. He set about building a small two storey house, which was cut into the hill on the western side, but giving the appearance of a single storey house from the river. He and his wife Kate and son moved into the house in mid-1846.


Brisbane’s earliest surviving home, Newstead House dates from 1846 when it was built as a simple single storey dwelling for pastoralist Patrick Leslie who had pioneered settlement in the Darling Downs region.

Leslie only lasted there a year, selling it in 1847 to his brother-in-law Captain John Wickham, one time officer of the Royal Navy and senior government official of Moreton Bay. During his time with the Navy he was part of the ship’s crew of HMS Beagle, the vessel that took Charles Darwin on the investigative trip whose outcome would rock the world of religion. Subsequently a faithful model of the ‘Beagle’ is on display at the house that Darwin himself has been a guest in.

It was during Wickham’s residency that the house was added to substantially, with extra rooms and a wraparound verandah, as well as becoming a social hub in its capacity as a kind of unofficial government house. Yet it was not to be a happy house – Wickham’s wife died in 1851 and he spent 6 years as a widower there before remarrying in 1857 with the expectation that he would be the first Governor of Queensland. When George Bowen was chosen instead, overcome with bitterness Wickham packed up and returned with his wife and family to England.

Newstead House in 1948


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