Approved: 15-Storey Apartment Tower Next to Heritage-Listed Shafston House

A controversial 15-level luxury apartment tower next to the heritage-listed Shafston House has been approved after development plans were suitably revised.

The approval follows a State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) decision in January 2023, giving the proposed development the green light after the developer revised its plans. The Burgundy Group proposes a 15-storey tower comprising 37 luxury three- and four-bedroom apartment units on the grounds of the home at 23 Castlebar Street in Kangaroo Point.

Approved: 15-Storey Apartment Tower Next to Heritage-Listed Shafston House
Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council /

The State Assessment and Referral Agency initially told the developers to amend its original plans and reconsider the location, scale, bulk, form and architectural details of the proposed tower that they want to build next to the heritage house, among other reasons.

According to the revised plans, the proposed apartment building will be located further from the heritage-listed Shafston House and the height reduced by 5.3 metres as well as the use of a lighter colour scheme. 

The two riverside homes on the northern edge of the site have been scrapped whilst the two terrace homes on the southern edge have been reduced in scale.

Shafston House
Photo credit:  Brisbane City Council /

Shafston House

Initially built in 1851 by Rev Robert Creyke, the heritage-listed Shafston House is one of the oldest homes in Brisbane. From being a private residence, the site became an Anzac Hostel (1919-69) and also served as an accommodation for the Royal Australian Air Force (1969-87) before it was redeveloped as part of the Shafston International College (1995-96). The single-storey cottage had several owners and had also undergone several stages of construction, renovations and extension.  

The proposal attracted 200 submissions with a majority opposing the plans due to several issues including its impact on traffic, loss of community open green space, overshadowing of neighbouring buildings, and that it is undermining the heritage importance of Shafston House.

Published 28-March-2023

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

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?

Read: Work Begins On The Tallest Office Tower In Kangaroo Point

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.

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.

Read: Kangaroo Point Green Bridge Project Reaches Important Milestone

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

15-Storey Development Beside Shafston House Unpopular with Kangaroo Point Locals

Plans to develop a 15-storey residential development beside Shafston House, Brisbane’s third oldest heritage home, have become unpopular with Kangaroo Point locals.

The proposal for the revamp, from Burgundy Group Property Development Pty Ltd, was filed in January 2022 (DA A005933994) but has since been met with hundreds of submissions opposing the plans. The application is not subjected to a public notification since the location of Shafston House is code assessable.

However, residents, including members of the Kangaroo Point and Districts Historical Society have filed their comments in the said application. According to Christa Gerard from the heritage group, the 15-storey plan “would dwarf the beautiful historic house and dominate the site.”  

Burgundy Group Property Development Pty Ltd bought Shafston House in one of the biggest auctions in late 2020. The group said it will work with Council to restore the heritage-listed property to its former glory.

Photo Credit: Kangaroo Point and Districts Historical Society

Apart from the 15-storey residential tower, the developer has detailed future uses for the property:

  • Shaftson House proper as a luxury private residence
  • Orderlies building as communal recreation facilities
  • Wards building for residential dwellings
  • Postal Depot building as ancillary space for the residential dwellings in the estate
  • Northern riverhomes
  • Communal recreation area to the north-west of Shafston House proper

“The proposed development ruins the remarkable and historical property. It is hideous and will overshadow Shafston house. The property should not be zoned for development up to 15 stories. The land is heritage protected but the development makes a mockery of that. For one of the oldest and most significant houses in Brisbane to be developed into apartments is embarrassing,” one submission stated.

“Shaftson House is a much-respected and treasured piece of our colonial history. This development would be a shockingly distasteful and irreversible blight on an important landmark, and sets a precedent for more of our city’s heritage to be crammed away into the recesses between buildings such as the one described in this proposal,” another local said. 

On 11 April 2022, the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) notified the developer of a couple of preliminary approvals for Material Change of Use for future Multiple Dwelling on the site of a Heritage Place and Filling and/or Excavation within the Coastal hazard and the waterway corridor overlays.

However, SARA has extended the assessment period for May 2022 for the following requests: 

  • Building work for a Multiple dwelling on the site of a Heritage place and
  • within the Waterway corridor overlay
  • Multiple Dwelling on the site of a Heritage Place
  • Operational work on the site of a Heritage Place involving changes to
  • landscaping or natural features

Earlier, SARA has also notified the developer that it cannot support the future plans for  Shafston House as it “does not clearly articulate the intent or relevant impacts of these proposed uses on the significant natural and built elements across the Queensland heritage place.”

Have Your Say On The Proposed Shafston House Apartments

Act now. You can still have your say on the proposed development involving the heritage-listed Shafston House at 23 Castlebar Street, Kangaroo Point until November 30, 2021.

The Burgundy Group is fine-tuning its plans for the Shafston House at Kangaroo Point, before a formal proposal is submitted to the Brisbane City Council for approval. The Group has established a dedicated website for the proposed development and is currently seeking community feedback. Residents may fill out the form provided on the website. 

The proposal involves the restoration of the house as a residential dwelling, fulfilling their promise to bring the building back to its former glory, with the other buildings on the site converted for residential purposes as well. However, other added structures will be removed whilst an allowance will be provided to allow for a riverwalk connection to be constructed in the future.

Photo credit:  Shafston House Apartments /

“The proposed development concept is consistent with Council’s planning guidelines as set out in City Plan 2014 which identifies the entire nearly one hectare site in the High Density Residential (up to 15 storeys) Zone (HDR2) and within the Shafston Precinct of the Kangaroo Point Peninsula Neighbourhood Plan which anticipates as an acceptable outcome multiple dwelling development up to 15 storeys in height with a tower site cover of up to 45%,” the website said.

Photo credit:  Shafston House Apartments /

“The investigations and engagement completed to date has confirmed that multiple towers across the site would not be an appropriate outcome,” they added.

The Burgundy Group’s proposal consists of a single 15-storey residential tower, comprising 37 three- and four-bedroom apartments positioned towards the Thorn Street frontage. There will also be two luxury river terrace homes (1 – 2 storeys high) to be built on the eastern portion of the site. The formal lawn and significant view lines to Shafston House from the street, and to and from the Brisbane River, will be preserved.

About the Shafston House

Designed by Robin Dods, the single storey cottage was built in several stages between 1851 and 1904 and underwent renovations with extensions and new buildings adjacent to the house constructed until the 1930s. In 1996, a Shafston International College campus was also established on the site until it was closed in 2020.  

Shafston House | 23 Castlebar St, Kangaroo Point QLD 4169, Australia

Shafston House: Brisbane’s Third Oldest Estate Sold to a Developer

Shafston House, Brisbane’s third oldest estate, has been sold to a property developer who has expressed plans to undertake a full restoration of the heritage-listed site.

Kevin Pan of the Burgundy Group Property Development was named the new owner of the riverfront house on 23 Castlebar Street. His company has ongoing residential projects in Rochedale and North Lakes.  

In a statement, Mr Pan said that he intends to lodge a plan with Council to restore “Shafston House’s former glory.”

However, the building next to the heritage-listed site, which was the former Shafston International College, could be demolished. The developer might also add landscaping works whilst other plantings will be propagated in the property, consistent with the heritage restoration principles.

In response, Council said that development plans for the property, once submitted, will “undergo the usual rigorous assessment” as a protected State Government Heritage Unit before decisions can be made. 

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Mr Pan bought Shafston House for an undisclosed amount months after 300 antique, unique and collectible items from the house were put up for auction by its previous owner, Mr Keith Lloyd.  

Shafston House was built in several stages between 1851 to 1930s. Its original design was from architect Robin Dods, dubbed Brisbane’s “most sacred architect” because all of his designs were individualistic and unique, according to historian Dr Jack Ford.

For decades, Shafston House was used as a private dwelling until it became a hostel (from 1919 to 1969), a place of accommodation for the Royal Australian Air Force (from 1969 to 1987), and an international college established by Mr Lloyd in the 1990s.

Over 120,000 students attended the Shafston International College through the years, until its closure in November 2020.

Photo Credit: Queensland Heritage Register

In 2005, Shafston House was entered into the Queensland Heritage Register for its historical, cultural and aesthetic significance.