BRISBANE'S HIS- TORIC HOMES.
1.—Newstead. (See illustrations on page 39.)
By F. E. LORD.
SUPREME on its height to this day, its long, low build, reminiscent of "other days," stands this old house, erroneously spoken of sometimes as
"the first Government House." It was the home of Captain Wickham, the Government Resident of Brisbane, then Moreton Bay, who took the place of Lieutenant Owen Gorman, who had been commander of the penal settle- ment of Moreton Bay. Says Mr. H. Stuart Russell, in his "Genesis of Queensland": "In this year of 1845 the last vestiges of the old settlement regime were obliterated. (Moreton Bay had been proclaimed a free colony four years earlier.) Captain Wickham was welcomed, and soon worthily 'wor- shipped' as police magistrate of Bris- bane, and our old kindly host, the last of the commandants, disappeared in the steam of the Tamar." From Mr. Nehemiah Bartley we learn that Newstead was built on the same place as the original Canning Downs homestead, then the home of the Leslies. Captain Wickham had
married a Miss Macarthur, as had also Mr. Leslie. Continuing, Mr. Bartley says: "Captain Wickham gave good dinners and balls, and his household menage was methodical, and a caution to vermin," But, as the blacks were still dangerous, our grandmothers who attended the functions at Newstead were obliged to be escorted thither by soldiers. NEWSTEAD is still a delightful old home, although much in need of repair, looking down from its incom- parable position on to two waterways, the Brisbane River and Breakfast Creek. There are evidences that New- stead house is a superstructure, as underneath it can be seen stone walls, round cells or rooms, and the hill ap- pears to have been built up to the present building. This is of brick, plastered over to represent smoothed stone blocks. There are ten rooms in the main building—what are now the kitchen premises, attached to one end of the veranda, were added in later years, I understand—all fitted with cedar, and the mantelpieces 0ver the many fireplaces are of marble. After Captain Wickham's reign there it became the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Harris, who kept it up as a house of entertainment, they being well remembered for the gay times they gave to many. Since then it has passed through other hands, and is now the property of the Brisbane City Council.
Different stories are afloat as to what is to be done with this historic old building, so I may here state that I heard on good authority that it has been practically decided to renovate it and keep it in repair for its associa- tions. Mr. Moore, the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, is living there, and taking care of it at present. Conspicuous to all those passing along Breakfast Creek road is the magnificent Johnstone River fig tree, standing at the back of the old build- ing. It is now a parking site for motorcars. Underneath this, I believe, Captain Wickham's coachman, Mr. Lane (now deceased at a good old age),
used to wash the carriage or trap when used by him. He called at the old home within recent years, I am told, and requested that this tree, that had so many associations for him, should not be felled. Such an act, unless absolutely necessary, would be sacrilege. What memories it must recall to many who are alive in Bris- bane to-day. No doubt some can say: My heart goes back to a radiant morn. When some one waited and watched for me In the friendly shade, of that grand old tree. (To be continued.)
very graceful, an evening wrap of white crepe de Chine or velvet with a double flounce of white fringe.