Former Toowoomba boutique hotel features on Heritage Bank calendar

A heritage-listed former boutique hotel in Toowoomba with a 150-year history, which is now being converted back into a family home, will feature on Heritage Bank’s annual calendar in 2024.

24 November 2023

A heritage-listed former boutique hotel in Toowoomba with a 150-year history, which is now being converted back into a family home, will feature on Heritage Bank’s annual calendar in 2024.
Vacy Hall is a sprawling single-storied brick residence, wrapped by verandahs, with multiple ties to the early days of European settlement in Toowoomba.

Vacy Hall will be the 43rd 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 $390,000 for worthy charities.

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

“Magnificent homes like Vacy Hall are cultural treasures that reflect the history, craftsmanship and lifestyles of past era. In celebrating these homes, we ensure that important cultural heritage is preserved,” he said.

“Our calendar is a way of celebrating the importance of our homes, appreciating their architectural excellence and recognising the rich history behind them. 

“Our calendar series makes a really important contribution to chronicling the history of domestic architecture in Australia.

“Vacy Hall is a magnificent addition to the series.”

Vacy Hall has a history stretching back 150 years. A first home was built on the Russell Street site in Toowoomba in 1873 by early pastoralist and politician James Taylor, as a gift for his daughter Ann on her marriage to Gilbert Gostwyck Cory. Both Taylor and Cory served as Mayors of Toowoomba.  

After fire destroyed that first dwelling, it was rebuilt in 1899, designed by renowned Toowoomba architectural duo James Marks and his son Harry. The two were responsible for designing many of Toowoomba’s notable buildings from the colonial era. 

Gilbert Cory remained at Vacy Hall until his death in 1924. It stayed a private home until the 1950s but was then converted into apartments and later commercial offices. 

In 1986, Vacy Hall was transformed into a boutique hotel, offering upmarket accommodation in its 12 bedrooms. 

In October 2022, prominent Toowoomba business owners David and Kellie Russell purchased the home. The couple, who have five children, are converting Vacy Hall back into a private family residence.

Copies of the calendar featuring Vacy Hall 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 2024 are:

  • St Vincent's Hospital, Toowoomba  
  • East New Britain Queensland Community Inc  
  • Street Med, Parramatta
  • Tony's Kitchen, Toowoomba
  • Serving Our People (SOP), South East Queensland

Find out more about Calendar House.

PHOTO: Heritage and People’s Choice CEO Peter Lock, Vacy Hall owners Kellie and David Russell, and Heritage and People’s Choice Deputy Chairman Kerry Betros AM.


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