Shafston House Could Be Restored To Its Former Glory As Residential Dwelling

Shafston House
Photo credit: Si Vi/Google Maps

Shafston House in Kangaroo Point has been many different things to many people — a family residence, a school, and a care facility after the war, among other uses. Did you know it could soon be restored to its former glory as a residential dwelling if plans push through?

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A proposed developed project, which has received hundreds of submissions from locals who mostly oppose the project, is now up for Council approval. 

The State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) has given its nod to the project, given that the developers will adhere to certain requirements, such as limiting its future use to single dwelling and keeping the grassed lawn area free from development. 

Burgundy Group, the developers behind the project, scrapped plans to build two two-storey homes on the northern edge of the site.

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In its website, developers highlighted that the formal lawn area between Shafston House and the river will be retained, protected and maintained to a higher standard.

Based on the planning documents, Burgundy is planning to build a single 15-storey residential apartment building on the site. If approved, it will feature 37 spacious three and four bedroom units.

“The proposed development concept ensures that significant view lines to Shafston House, to and from the Brisbane River will be retained, as will the formal lawn through the middle of the site,” Burgundy Group stated.

They said the planned development is in keeping with Council’s planning guidelines for the site and for Kangaroo Point as set out in the Brisbane City Plan 2014 planning scheme.

Further details about the proposed development can be viewed at Council’s PD Online with the reference A005933994.

History of Shafston House

Shafston House
Front of the residence, Shafston, built on the site of the original Shafston House, 1930 (Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Negative number: 65163)

Located at 23 Castlebar Street, Kangaroo Point, the single-storeyed residence, was originally built for Rev. Robert Creyke as ‘Ravenscot’ in 1851.

In 1852, Darling Downs pastoralist and politician Henry Stuart Russell acquired the property and renamed it Shaftson, taken from a place in Jamaica where his wife was born. 

Shafston House
Henry Stuart Russell (John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

By then, it was constructed of brick and stone, contained a drawing room and dining room separated by folding doors, five large bedrooms, closets and a roomy pantry.

After Mr Russell, the property had several owners including grazier and sugar-grower Louis Hope, pastoralist James Henry McConnel, and  Mary Jane Foster, wife of Charles Milne Foster of Brisbane ironmongers Foster and Kelk.

In 1915, it was leased to the Creche and Kindergarten Association as a teacher training centre.

Shafston House
Photo credit: National Library of Australia

However, it was acquired by the Commonwealth government who converted it into Anzac Hotel, a care and treatment facility for ex-servicemen in 1919 after the Great War. It underwent extensive alterations at the time.

The property was converted to freehold title between 1998 and 2002. Shafston House was entered on the Queensland Heritage Register on 7 February 2005.

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Burgundy Group Property Development, current owners of the property, reportedly acquired in 2020 for $15 million.