Toowoomba home with links to origins of iconic national property firm features on Heritage Bank calendar for 2022

25 November 2021

A Toowoomba home with links to the origins of an iconic national property firm will feature on Heritage Bank’s annual calendar in 2022. 

Historic “Claremont” is a magnificently restored example of late 1800s Queensland architecture, sitting on a large block on Campbell Street, one of Toowoomba’s most prestigious tree-lined avenues.

Claremont will be the 41st home featured in the Heritage Bank calendar series. 

In a much-loved tradition that began in 1982, each year Heritage selects a historically significant Queensland home to feature on its printed calendar.

An artist paints a portrait of the home, which then appears on the calendar, accompanied by a brief story on the home’s history and significance. All but two of the portraits have been painted by the same artist, Cliff Sheldrake.

The calendar also serves a charitable purpose, with people able to obtain a copy by making a gold coin donation. 

Altogether since 1982, these donations have raised around $350,000 for worthy charities.

Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock said the calendar was not only highly sought after by members but also played an important role in showcasing Queensland’s legacy of domestic architectural excellence.

“Queensland has a wonderful and unique style of domestic architecture, making up a catalogue of homes that’s definitely worthy of recognition,” he said.

“The calendar is a way of celebrating the importance of our homes and recognising the rich history behind them. 

“Our calendar series makes a really important contribution to chronicling the history of home architecture in Queensland.”

The 2020 calendar house Claremont dates back to 1896 and has numerous links to the history of Toowoomba. 

The first recorded owner of Claremont was Robert Wilcox, who came to Australia from England in his early twenties and originally lived in Ipswich and Stanthorpe, before he and brother Edmund began a grocery business in Toowoomba in the 1870s. 

Robert and his wife raised two daughters at Claremont – Lucy and Florence. Lucy later married Frederick Gould, and their extensive art collection is now housed in the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. 

Florence married Ray White of Crows Nest – the founder of the iconic Ray White real estate firm, which is now a household name around Australia. 

In another historical quirk, in 1906 Robert Wilcox purchased the wrought iron fence from the demolished former Toowoomba Town Hall and installed it at Claremont – a fence that still stands there today. 

The Wilcox family lived in Claremont until 1933, after which it was divided into flats and later used as a dental surgery. Today it is a private home again. 

Claremont is a wonderful example of combining the grandeur and elegance of its era, with renovations that cater for modern living. The home retains its pressed metal ceilings and panelling, hoop pine flooring, glass chandeliers, formal living and dining areas, and north-facing entertaining deck, as well as modern amenities.

Copies of the calendar are now available at any of Heritage’s branches for a gold coin donation.

The five charity groups that will benefit from the monies raised in 2022 are:

  • Sunshine Coast group Compass Institute which assists people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • Share the Dignity, a Queensland charity that provides essential items for women and girls experiencing homelessness and domestic violence.
  • Brave Companion Dog Rescue in the Lockyer Valley, which works to save and rehome dogs that are mistreated or unwanted.
  • Ipswich Food Barn, which provides vital food relief to Queenslanders in crisis.
  • Sydney-based charity Dignity which supports people experiencing homelessness.

PHOTO: Heritage Bank Chairman Kerry Betros, Claremont owner Liz Wagner and Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock.

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