The home of a pioneering sawmiller who built his own private railway line north of Toowoomba will feature on the 2016 Heritage Bank calendar.
The magnificent home on this year’s calendar is “Bunya Park”, on Geoffrey Street in the Toowoomba suburb of Mt Lofty.
It was built by Duncan Munro around 1888, as a town residence for his family. Duncan and his brother Archibald established the Argyle Saw Mills near Geham Creek, north of Toowoomba, in the late 1800s. They were responsible for expanding the timber industry in the Perseverance, Ravensbourne and Cooyar areas.
The brothers built their own railway line, originally with timber rails, and extended it to Hampton in 1898. In 1903, they imported and reassembled a steam locomotive from the US to haul logs up the steep climbs to the mill.
Duncan went on to become Chairman of the then Highfields Shire Council, while Archibald became a Mayor of Toowoomba City Council
Bunya Park is the latest home to be showcased in the Heritage Bank calendar house series, a tradition much loved by Heritage customers and wider community members.
Each year for the past 34 years, a painting of a different historic home has featured on Heritage’s calendar, along with a brief history of the home. The aim is to recognise and celebrate the finest examples of excellence in Queensland’s domestic architecture.
Brisbane artist Cliff Sheldrake’s painting of Bunya Park adorns the calendar.
Thousands of the calendars are distributed across Queensland, with copies available to customers at Heritage branches for a gold coin donation.
Almost $30,000 will be donated to Queensland charities next year thanks to the monies raised by the calendar.
Heritage Bank Chairman Mr Kerry Betros said, “Bunya Park showcases Queensland’s late 19th century architecture, wonderfully preserved and modernised.
“The home features ornate high pressed-metal ceilings, leadlight fittings with timber fretwork features, tiled fireplaces, and gaslight ceiling and wall lamps in some areas.
“It has four bedrooms all with ensuites, a huge granite kitchen, a billiards room, a full-sized tennis court and magnificent landscaped gardens.
“The steeply pitched roof displays a possible Canadian influence that is also evident in two other homes Duncan Munro built in the area – ‘Argyle’ at Geham and ‘Haddington’ in Sinclair Street in Toowoomba.”
Interestingly, especially given his background in the timber industry, Duncan Munro also planted an avenue of pine trees that remain in Geoffrey Street to this day, lining what was once the driveway to the home from Curzon Street.
Munro and his wife Matilda had 10 children. One of those children, William, built the stately Toowoomba Home “Apsley” that featured on the 2013 Heritage Bank calendar.
Current owners Jeremy and Lucy Osborn have owned Bunya Park since 2013 and have recently completed renovations that included refurbishing two of the existing ensuite bathrooms, and the kitchen, as well as extending it to include an indoor-outdoor room to take advantage of the formal gardens and tennis court.
Mr Betros said Heritage Bank was delighted to support excellence in local domestic architecture, particularly in regional areas.
“We’re delighted to showcase the best in Queensland’s architectural heritage by featuring homes such as Bunya Park on our calendar,” he said.
“We’re also delighted that we can raise money for charity at the same time and give something back to the community, which is what Heritage is all about.”
Proceeds from this year’s calendar donations will be distributed to the Hummingbird House children’s hospice centre in Brisbane; Lighthouse Care food and groceries in Toowoomba; the Katie Rose Cottage, Sunshine Coast Community Hospice at Doonan; The Logan East Community Neighbourhood Centre; and the Second Chance Programme Fundraising Group for women’s homelessness.
The calendars are now available in Heritage branches for a gold coin donation.