Brisbane home features on Heritage Bank calendar for 2023

1 December 2022

A magnificent 140-year-old home on arguably Brisbane’s most picturesque street will feature on Heritage Bank’s annual calendar in 2023.

Located on renowned Laurel Avenue in the beautiful suburb of Chelmer, The Laurels is a striking example of classic colonial architecture.

The Laurels was built in the 1880s and was originally located on eight hectares of farmland along the Brisbane River. The home was approached along an avenue of camphor laurels, many of which remain today.

Formerly known as Doonholm, The Laurels was originally the home of pioneering merchant pioneer John Brown, who ran Thomas Brown and Sons Ltd, a major importer of drapery, ironmongery, groceries, wines, and spirits.

The Laurels will be the 42nd home featured in the Heritage Bank calendar series.

In a much-loved tradition that began in 1982, each year Heritage selects an 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 $370,000 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 Laurels was sold to the Grieve family in 1908, who occupied it 65 years until 1973. It was then purchased by Reg and Raye Kingsford, who undertook a meticulous restoration.

The original property has been subdivided over time and The Laurels now sits on a 1187m2 holding. The six-bedroom home features high ceilings, full-length sash windows and wide verandahs, detailed with wrought iron lace work imported from England and made by John Crase in 1883, and a grand central hallway.

The Laurels has been renovated and extended over the years. It now features a modern kitchen multiple formal and informal living rooms and other spaces including a study and a media/gym room, a lockable cellar, and a swimming pool with waterfall and sandstone surrounds.

The sensitive renovations have ensured that The Laurels retains its essential charm and elegance, and stands proud as one of Brisbane’s finest examples of colonial domestic architecture.

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

The six charity groups that will benefit from the monies raised in 2023 are:

  • Victory Care Services from Gympie, which provides food hampers for people struggling financially.
  • Toowoomba-based Hope Horizon Wellness Centre, which provides free allied health services to people living with cancer
  • Touch of Hope in Loganholme, which supports people experiencing homelessness, especially those leaving domestic violence situations.
  • Heart Kids, the national not-for-profit supporting all people affected by childhood heart disease
  • Riding for the Disabled in Sydney, which provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to enjoy safe, healthy, therapeutic, horse-related activities.
  • RSPCA Queensland, which cares for sick, injured and displaced domestic animals and wildlife.

PHOTO: Handing over a copy of the painting of The Laurels to the home owners Ben and Julia O’Rourke are (far left) Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock and (far right) Chairman Kerry Betros AM.

2023 Heritage Bank Calendar house - The Laurels

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