What is a Queenslander (house)?
Queenslanders are typical houses to the state of Queensland that were built at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century with the materials that were available locally, namely timber.The primary reason for their development was the climate and the long summer months. The areas such as the shaded verandahaccessed via French doors are semisemi-outdoor and suit the climate. The roof is iron and the pitch is steep.
The interior is spacious and often adorned with fretwork allowing more ventilation. Some house have pressed metal ceilings; others just timber tongue and groove ceilings; Eco Queenslander has plaster moulded ceilings. Windows often have leaded and stained glass.
More information on Queenslander houses on Wikipedia.
More information on Queenslander houses on the Queensland Museum website.
Maryborough has so many of these old Queenslanders, it is known as the 'Queenslander Capital' of Australia. People are putting a lot of efforts into restoring them, sometimes successfully to their former glory.
Ben is in love with a Queenslander; well, several of them actually…
Read what Ben Southall, winner of the Best Job in the World Campaign, thinks about Queenslander houses.
If you are interested in the Queensland architecture you will no doubt want to be in Maryborough for Maryborough OpenHouse, an event held over a weekend in September or October every year. About 20 heritage listed buildings open their doors to the public on that occasion, some of them exclusively for the event.
Why we like Queenslander houses so much
Queenslanders are our favourite homes! Not only do we find them very inviting, they are also beautiful to live in. The softness of the timber floor is gentle to the foot and the timber walls mellow the sounds. We don't mind leaving them for a short while but we soon miss them when staying in hard buildings made of bricks or concrete. The use of natural building material is no doubt a key feature to the element of comfort brought by these houses.
Eco Queenslander Holiday Home Project
Eco Queenslander is proof that old homes can be retrofitted to enhance their sustainabilityand provides a platform, to both home owners and businesses, that demonstrates that we can be gentler on our environment every day without compromising our comfort; and saving some money at the same time.
The house built in 1941 has stored carbon for over 70 years and with occupants' support will continue to do so. Nestled in a semi-tropical garden which also offsets the Eco Queenslander's carbon footprint, the home has been restored and refurbished with an eye to environmental friendliness.
Just like Shelley says in her poem below, Queenslander houses are naturally eco-friendly: high stumps letting the air pass under the house and providing respite from the heat of the day; high ceilings storing heat above occupants; awnings providing shade and helping to keep the house cool inside.
Song of the Queenslander
Poem written by one of my French students, Shelley Hansen, on Queenslander homes.
When you're travelling North of the Border
and you're passing through cities and towns,
keep an eye out – you're certain to notice
(from the Tropics right through to the Downs)
the “old Queenslander” – that's what they call me.
I am etched in this State's chequered past,
dating back to a time less oppressive
when the pace of life wasn't so fast.
When the white men first come to this country
from their homelands, their house plans they brought,
and created a copy of Europe –
to preserve their traditions, they sought.
But in Southern States, weather is cooler –
they don't have weeks of long summer days
when they coast is sweat-bathed from the ocean,
and the western plains bake to a gaze.
As necessity mothers invention,
so it was that my birth came to be,
when the settlements spread further northward,
very quickly the builders could see
that a new style of housing was needed –
raised on stumps, with a strong hardwood frame.
So for families living in Queensland,
soon the homestead of choice I became.
For my rooms were both airy and spacious,
and my large windows captured the breeze.
My verandah stood cool and inviting
in the shadow of large leafy trees.
But I'm sure I have rightly suspected
it was “under the house” they liked best –
where the kids scraped my dirt to play marbles,
and the old folk sat down for a rest.
I have housed both the rich and the famous,
generations of “working class” too;
and at times I have been out of fashion
when they wanted to find something new.
But opinions keep turning full circle
andI've come into favour again,
and I smile with a secret amusement
at the follies and foibles of men.
For they talk of the “Climate Smart Option”
to ensure that our footprint is “green”;
and it reads like a specification
of the things that I always have been.
So I still grace the streets of the suburbs,
and my grand design passes the test –
which just proves, though the fashions keep changing,
that the old ways are often to the best!
More poems written by Shelley.