Government House


Fernberg, which is German for ‘distant mountain’ was aptly named by its first owner and resident in 1864, merchant and later MP Johann Heussler. Benjamin Backhouse was the architect commissioned to design this house on its hill on the outskirts of town and the Heussler family resided there happily until 1872 when a sugar downturn and escalating maintenance costs forced them to sell.

Its next owner John Stevenson MP had considerable extensions and renovations done by Richard Gailey, transforming it into a commanding palatial residence and one of the finest Victorian Italianate buildings in Queensland. However John also suffered from the next economic downturn in the 1890s and was also forced to sell.

In 1910 Governor Sir William MacGregor moved in temporarily after the acquisition of the original Government House by the fledgling University of Queensland. When plans to build a new Government House at Victoria Park were thwarted, the Government turned to Fernberg, which it purchased in 1911. At the time it was terribly rundown and neglected.

Renovations were carried out to bring it up to scratch but no further extensions were done until 1937 when a new wing was added and a new domestic servants quarters built.

Significant features in the grounds include the animal ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Woodland Walks’ created by Sir John and Lady Goodwin while outside the embankments along Fernberg Road are heritage listed.

Conjured up by the then landscape gardener of the Town Council Alexander Jolly in 1917, these stone and succulent plant embankments are part of several to be found around Paddington, Red Hill and Bardon and are rare examples of early 20th century public landscape and street beautification. The idea was basically to ‘decorate’ the dirt embankments in Ithaca Shire which were the result of roads being cut through hills and the distinctive ones of the inner west are made of rough cut stone with palms, shrubs and aloe plants sprinkled throughout.

Government House

Fernberg Rd



168 Fernberg Rd, Paddington QLD 4064 ‎

Top Things To Do In Brisbane This Week

Fans of Italian And Australian wines are invited to this wine tasting
Grab the picnic blanket and gather friends & family for a fab free night out
Celebrate the music of Barbra Streisand
Be transported to Spain with this vibrant & passionate performance
Intimate, harmonised storytelling, underpinned by intricate guitar
Take a Friday night deep dive into the world of sublime cocktails
Lennons Restaurant is celebrating Valentine's Day all week long
Celebrate the most romantic time of the year with a special Movie Date Night
Sip and paint in style at Treasury Brisbane


The revolution begins this week! Don't miss the multi-award-winning show as it raises the roof at QPAC

John Mulaney: From Scratch

The two-time Emmy and Writers Guild award-winning writer, actor, and comedian is bringing his hilarious From Scratch tour to Brisbane
John Mulaney: From Scratch

BrisAsia Festival 2023

Brisbane's biggest cultural festival returns with a stellar program of 27 unique events across 12 suburbs
BrisAsia Festival 2023

Top things to do Feb 3-5

From BrisAsia rooftop party and laneway tea parties to Meat Loaf and Barbra Streisand tribute concerts the top things to do this weekend
This Weekend Feb 5-7

What is on in Brisbane in February

From multi-award-winning HAMILTON, Big Band Cabaret & Lunar New Year to a Barbra Streisand tribute concert, the best of what is on in Brisbane in February
What is on in Brisbane in February

Valentine's Day in Brisbane

Your guide to Valentine's Day in Brisbane, from wining and dining to shows, movies and gifts
Valentine's Day in Brisbane 2023
HAMILTON arrives in Brisbane this January!