Ipswich has many old homes filled with history, and one of the oldest will be auctioned later this month.
Shillito House, at 70 Chermside Rd, was built in the 1870s for one of the city’s founding members Samuel Shillito.
The late Victorian homestead, like many original homes which share the street, is steeped in history and identified in 1992 as a place of heritage significance by Ipswich City Council.
Owners Gayle and Daryl Ferguson have worked to preserve to three-bedroom dwelling’s heritage, raising their six children in the home.
Mrs Ferguson is led to believe the home was one of the first six homes built in Ipswich.
The property is bordered by the “12 Apostles” – 12 Bribie Island Cypress trees protected under conservation, which have stood as a landmark on Chermside Rd for more than a century.
We are told this is the second oldest home in Newtown,” Mrs Ferguson said.
“The home was built between 1873 and 1879. The exact date was written on one of the stumps, but we have never found it.”
It has been an ongoing investigation for the Ferguson family who have endeavoured to unearth more history about their home of 12 years.
The National Trust cited in the Ipswich Heritage Study of 1991 that 70 Chermside Rd “is possibly from the 1860s to 1870s” and noted the home’s unique “independent vaulted ceilings” in each room as significant. The veranda was remodelled in the 1930s and filled in at the rear to move the original kitchen from its former location underneath the home.
While low set to the front, Shillito House is deceivingly spread across two levels, which is considered rare for a home of this era.
The original fireplace climbs over two levels – with one in the original kitchen below and another the centrepiece of the formal sitting room.
The former kitchen has been retained by the Fergusons and is currently used as another bedroom in a flat built in underneath.
Samuel Shillito arrived in Ipswich from the Moreton Bay region in 1866. He was the founder of Shillito and Sons Engineering, a prominent foundry on Limestone St where Coles supermarket stands today.
Letters from his grand daughters Mari Johns and Olwen Kingsford, who were born at the home, reveal the house was built for Shillito and his wife Jane Morris in 1873. They claim the original shingle roof remains in tact under the present Colorbond, steep traverse hipped, roof.
Shillito’s efforts were mainly blacksmithing, the making of agricultural implements, and general engineering work. After 10 years in a Nicholas St factory, he bought the property on the corner of East and Limestone Sts.
History recorded by Ipswich City Council revealed it was here Shillito laid the foundation of the extensive engineering and foundry works, building Queensland’s first railway goods wagons before the railway workshops opened in 1903.
The original cast iron lace work on the verandas of Shillito House, and the house next door at number 72 which was built for Shillito’s son William, were made at his foundry.
Shillito was heralded in The Queensland Times for patenting the country’s first mangle – a mechanical laundry aid to wring water from wet laundry – for Ipswich Hospital in 1871.
“I hope someone from the community might know more about the house and its architectural history,” Mrs Ferguson said.
Shillito House will go to auction on March 28.
Original article published www.qt.com.au by Kiri Ten Dolle 12/3/ 2014