Heritage listed Ormiston House, overlooking Moreton Bay, is one of the finest examples of a colonial garden estate in Queensland as well as the bithplace of the Australian sugar industry.
One of the bayside’s most popular tourist attractions; this historic house is open to the public every Sunday from 12 to 4. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, take a tour of the house, have a picnic on the lawn or enjoy Devonshire Tea on the verandah.
The house and surrounding gardens – lush with camellias, azaleas, magnolias and hibiscus - have been restored by dedicated volunteers keen on preserving the history and beauty of Ormiston Estate.
Captain Louis Hope, who named Ormiston after a village on his family estate in Scotland, built Ormiston House during the 1860’s. Hope was the first to grow and mill commercially produced sugar in Queensland and Ormiston Estate is recognised as the birthplace of the Australian sugar industry.
The slab hut was the first building erected on the estate in the early 1850’s, to provide accommodation and kitchen for the workers. The main house was built in stages beginning in 1862. Simple yet elegant, the house boasts high ceilings, mahogany doors and cypress floors with wide verandahs. It was one of the first homes in Queensland to have a flushing toilet.
The drawing room, dining room, main bedroom, nursery, Mrs Hope’s morning room and Captain Hope’s study have been furnished to reflect the period. Some of the Hope’s personal belongings remain such as Mrs Hope’s tea kettle, Captain Hope’s brass telescope and ‘White Stockings’ the Hope children’s beloved rocking horse.
The Hope family sold the home in 1913 to John Arthur Macartney, an explorer and prominent pastoralist. He made many improvements to the house, including the decorative pressed metal ceilings. One of the rooms has been named the Macartney Room in his memory.
In 1959, the Carmelite Nuns purchased Ormiston Estate to build a monastery. By then, the house was run down and gardens overgrown. Recognising the historical value of the house, the nuns decided to build their monastery to the north.
Restorations commenced in 1967, by a volunteer committee, and the first rooms were opened in 1968. All restorations are funded by money raised by volunteers. This includes admission ($7 per adult/$2 per child*) and Devonshire Tea which includes a scone with jam and cream plus tea/coffee/or juice for $5.
Nice to know - Special events are held throughout the year including Mother’s Day High Tea and vintage car club days.
Need to know - Weekday tours are available to coach, school and other groups by appointment.
*Correct at time of writing in Mar 2019
By Deb Lidster
277 Wellington St
0457 675 137