Visiting the Great Houses of Ipswich, is an invitation to step inside, experience and appreciate the magnificent heritage homes of Ipswich.
This was my second year enjoying the Great Houses of Ipswich, an event held twice a year in partnership with the National Trust of Australia, and I was looking forward to joining the bus tour conducted by the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre.
The houses open for viewing were Collingwood, The Duce House and Woodlands of Marburg.
The pleasure of having someone else take care of the day was wonderful, our coach ride was enjoyable and we were accompanied by two volunteer guides who shared their knowledge of Ipswich and the houses we were visiting, plus we were in for a treat with a delicious morning tea included in the Great Houses of Ipswich tour experience.
The first house of the tour was Collingwood, located at 15 Murphy St and constructed in 1860.
Built as a six room, two storey brick residence the site included a detached brick kitchen and a stable at the rear of the property.
It was built by William Hancock, who was also responsible for the construction of 11 and 13 Murphy St and whose initials have since been discovered on a joist under the upstairs floor.
The house changed hands a number of times until the present owners purchased Collingwood in 2010.
Collingwood is in excellent condition and an enclosed breezeway now connects the ground floor to the once detached kitchen with a scullery providing a link to the old stables, now a bathroom.
The current owners have maintained and decorated the house in a unique and stylish way, using their flair for decorating to imaginatively blend modern features with the heritage of the home. The garden is also a delight and a cool retreat from the intense Ipswich heat.
The next residence we visited was The Duce House, an iconic Ipswich residence, fronting Brisbane Rd, which lays claim to being the first Ipswich home to have a swimming pool.
While the architect is unknown it is believed that the house is modeled on a similar residence in Brisbane, the original owners Norm and Norma Duce purchased the land in 1949 and after the house was constructed it was referred to by locals as The Duce House.
The screened sunroom, patchwork concrete driveway, window flower box, retaining walls and pergola are all original features of the house.
Current owners reinstated the swimming pool and refurbished the kitchen for which they received an Ipswich City Council award for Best Maintained Heritage Property.
This iconic home sits proudly on Brisbane Rd, and greets visitors and residents as they drive into Ipswich.
While quite a small three bedroom house, it is beautifully maintained inside and out and the striking patchwork brickwork features prominently against the white exterior. With immaculate manicured gardens, the swimming pool and pergola provide an oasis during hot Ipswich summer days.
After visiting The Duce House it was time for morning tea back at the Ipswich Visitor Information Centre where we were treated to a selection of muffins, cakes and delicious scones topped with jam and cream served with tea or coffee on the verandah of the centre.
There was also time for a look inside the Visitor Information Centre and at locally made gifts for sale inside.
Our third and final house of the day was the magnificent, heritage listed Woodlands of Marburg.
Sitting graciously at the top of the estate, Woodlands of Marburg, is a grand two storey rendered brick residence, with wrap round
verandahs decorated with wrought iron lace and constructed between 1889 and 1891 for Thomas Lorimer Smith, his wife and 11 children.
Passed through a number of owners to the present day, the site is currently used as a function venue and today the extensive grounds feature a chapel, cemetery, cafe, art centre, accommodation and conference facilities.
Iʼd highly recommend a day out exploring the next Great Houses of Ipswich event.
Jump on board the bus tour organised by the Ipswich Visitor Centre, itʼs easy, convenient, enjoyable and all you need to do is relax, experience and appreciate the magnificent heritage homes of Ipswich.
- The 2020 Great Houses of Ipswich events have been cancelled but the National Trust of Australia hopes to hold the events again next year.