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Queensland House Designs, 1887 - 1920

If you live in a home built between the late 1800s and 1960 then you may well find it, or at least something very similar to it, in one of the catalogues embedded below and in the following pages. The publications contain several hundred building plans including external elevations, floor layouts and in some cases details on hardware, materials, finishes and estimated construction costs. They are obviously of great value to house renovators, history researchers and anyone curious about what their home may have looked like when new. The publications are listed in chronological order with some commentary on the evolution of architectural styles.


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I do not own the copyright to these publications. Most of the documents have been sourced from on-line repositories and are freely available in the public domain. They are published here solely to benefit local historical research and promote the conservation of our built heritage.

Queensland Deposit Bank and Building Society, 1887

This catalogue, issued by a leading mortgage provider during the heady days of the late 1880's land and construction boom, contains ten patterns ranging from two-room cottages to commodious two-floor villas. The typical late Victorian designs are set on stumps with generous verandahs and contemporary features such as one or more brick chimneys, externally cross-braced VJ walls and, for the grander homes, elaborate ornamentation incorporating iron lacework.


A copy of this document is held by the Queesland State Library.

Worker's Homes Type A-T, Publisher Unknown, 1911

This catalogue pre-dates the State Advances Corporation of 1916 and was probably published by its predecessor, the Worker's Dwelling Board. It contains 20 plans for basic workers cottages, mainly consisting of symmetrical and gabled bunglows with a few early porch-and-gable designs. All of the houses are high-set. Note the detached kitchen on plan F, a popular colonial feature carried into the new century with this pattern. Chimneys are entirely absent and replaced by stove alcoves.


A copy of this document is held by the Queensland State Archives.

Cottage Designs Regional, Publisher Unknown, 1914

A collection of seven patterns for cottages erected in Rockhampton and Bundaberg, dated 1914. Publisher is unknown, possibly the Worker's Dwelling Board. Most of the designs appear to be throw-backs to the late 1800s with square foot prints under pyramid roofs, stepped veranda roofs and for pattern no. 7 a detached bathroom and kitchen. Further research on the named owners may shed some light on this mysterious folio.

The plans were generously shared from the private collection of John Stevens.

Newstead Homes, 1918

The building materials merchant Brown & Broad launched the "Newstead Homes" range of ready-to-erect timber homes in 1915, deploying the latest advancements in integrated supply chain, mechanised timber milling, inventory management and motor transport. Customers all over Queensland could select from one of the in-house developed designs and receive a rail or barge delivery of all the materials, fittings and finishes required to complete the job. The ready-to-erect products were not offered for Brisbane suburbs but many local houses were undubtedly built to the same standard designs. This catalogue from 1918 contains a great range of classic "Queenslander" designs, pre-dating the multi-gabled styles of the 20s. The timber houses are high-set with bungalow tin roofs and generous verandahs. Stove alcoves have replaced the brick chimneys. The plans also include a garage and a small retail shop.


A copy of this document is held by the Queensland State Library.

For the authoritative overview of the evolution of Queenland worker's dwellings I highly recommend Judy Gale Rechner's seminal work "Brisbane House Styles 1880 to 1940, a Guide to the Affordable Home", 1998. The book is available from the Brisbane History Group at

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