Basic Queenslander, largely symmetrical
Two elements best differentiated the Queenslanders from homes in Victoria and New South Wales: a] they had wide and long verandas, and large double doors which opened onto these verandas. And b] they were typically raised on vertical timber stumps. The use of timber stumps must have gone into disfavour in the post–WW2 era because any new stumps or any replacements for old stumps must now be steel or concrete. But one thing has remained the same, as fun and vjs has shown. Being built on stumps prevented the homes being inundated in flood prone areas, particularly in the older Brisbane suburbs.
In pre-air conditioning days, Queenslander Homes made the most of passive climate control. Any breeze that arrived in the summer evenings blew underneath the raised houses and increased the ventilation. Internally the large doors and windows were lined up internally, once again to increase any natural ventilation, and windows are often louvered to allow for air circulation.
The breezeway fretwork design, seen above the doorways in traditional domestic Queenslanders, allowed for moving breezes. But it was also seen as differentiating between private space for the family and the house’s reception areas. The bedroom and living areas were in any case often separated by a hallway.
Roofs were generally made of corrugated iron or tin, and external walls were clad with timber, often painted in gentle colours. The verandas were as wide as possible, to protect against the overhead summer sun and to increase shade. Very often subtropical trees were planted close to the outer walls. Trees may have increased the risk of possums driving the residents mad at night, but during the day their shade was invaluable. For the rest of the land, there were traditional types of plants and gardens which became associated with a Queenslander home, from settlement of the colony in Brisbane and right through the inter-war period. Oleander, citrus, mango, passion fruit, frangipani, jasmine, gerbera, daylily and hibiscus were much loved.
Pastel colours with contrasting handrail
Your Brisbane Past and Present mentioned a third element that was almost always found in Queenslanders. The space under the house, raised high on stumps, created a magical area that children could use on days when it was too rainy to go outside. This blogger had a swing to play on, cowboy games, marbles, hula-hoops, skipping ropes and hopscotch games under there.
The biggest building boom was after Queensland’s soldiers returned from WW1. By the time they had returned to civilian life in 1919, then entered studies and marriage, many new houses were needed throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. Families with more money built more extravagant Queenslanders, still with the wide verandas and under house playing space, but with gazebos, corner bays and exotic roof lines.
More elaborate Queenslander
Queenslander Houses were not identical in shape, especially after Federation. Asymmetry crept into the design and the gable could be placed to one side of the main roof. There were usually two verandas but they too could be asymmetrical; one was at the front of the home, of course, and the second ran down one side of the home.
Brissos blog is also in love with Queenslander homes. Brisbane Daily Photo has many delightful photos. This blog noted that “Queenslander houses, made mostly from wood, are about as fire-prone and termite-prone as houses can get, they're hot in the summer, chilly in the winter and have no soundproofing... but it doesn't stop Queenslander people being fiercely loyal to them”. Of course not. They are Queensland’s special contribution to the world of architecture AND they look splendid. In a bland world where one architectural style is accepted in every city of the known universe, it is lovely when specific regional styles retain their enthusiastic supporters.
fun and vjs blog was very helpful in recording the destruction of these gracious homes. “Brisbane's architectural history was very nearly destroyed in the 1980s with the outrageous demolition of important cultural buildings and the removal of about 1000 Queenslander homes per year”.
I wonder if there is any heritage overlay, these days, for surviving Queenslanders.
Shade trees close to the house