FIRST, THANK YOU
Yesterday I wrote an article about the beautiful colonial home in Toowong (“Dovercourt”), originally thinking that the home and land had been purchased by developers and that the end position would be a beautiful home surrounded by units and townhouses. Not too long after hitting publish on that post, a follower messaged me with a Couriermail article which provided the much-loved news that the home had been purchased by a couple that were going to restore her and live in her.
It made my heart happy.
It’s a similar story with Warham, in Ipswich. A home with truly grand proportions (the room with the pool table, oh my gosh). Another follower messaged me – he had lived in the house during his childhood – and the people that had purchased the home were restoring it. I cheekily asked him if he would ask the new owners (his father is still in contact with them) if I could see Warham in person. I’ve still got my fingers and toes crossed that I will be able to do that.
And now, today, I’m sharing with you a Victorian-era house in Ipswich, known as “Elamang.” A truly incredible home that was lovingly restored.
Before we jump in and take a look at her, I wanted to reflect and to say thank you to all of the people that have taken these old homes, these pieces of history and restored them back (or almost) to their original state. The amount of time and effort to do this is substantial. These homes may be (SHOULD BE!) heritage listed, which makes the endeavour even more complicated and expensive. You need deep, deep pockets to do this.
So a huge thank you to everyone involved in these restorations. You are preserving our history and our stories for future generations. I cannot thank you enough.
ELAMANG – NOW AND THEN
Much of the information I’m sharing with you today about Elamang comes from the Ipswich Heritage Club and the previous owners, who painstakingly restored this incredible home. I love looking at the people on the verandah that are posing for the photograph and imagining what life was like back then. From left to right, there is a house keeper (or servant as they were known then), what looks like a mum with her child, a man dressed in a suit and, by the stairs, another man, maybe the “master” of the house.
Below is a photo of the house when she was listed for sale a few years ago (she sold by the way, this home is off the market). Magnificent.
Below is another old photo of her (from Ipswich Heritage Club). The photo is clearer and closer up, so we can really see the details of the home. What’s incredible (and a testament to the previous owners), is how similar the home looked in 2018 when it was sold.
THE EARLY HISTORY OF ELAMANG
The history books tell of a romantic start to Elamang, as she was built in 1895 for Richard Watson and his wife, Mrs Fox. Mrs Fox was a widower and mother of five children. The story goes that Richard Watson was so enamoured with his wife that he named the streets bordering the property for her – one bearing his name (Watson) and the other, her name (Fox).
Mr Watson established a butchery with his brothers and later served as the mayor of Ipswich.
Elamang sat on 22 acres and included stables and tennis courts. The home had 17 rooms, four Italian marble fireplaces and wide verandahs. The home was bought and sold a couple of times between 1924 and 1950, when it was purchased by Queensland Times, who converted the property into four flats to be used by their employees.
Below is the proposed conversion floor plan (source: Ipswich Heritage Club).
Here’s how she looked after being converted to four flats (source: Ipswich Heritage Club)
THE RE-MAKING OF ELAMANG
In 1984, Elamang was purchased by Ben and Valma Petersen. The Ipswich Heritage Club details how they converted the property back from flats into a six bedroom residence. They unveiled the previously enclosed verandahs and restored the cast iron lacework visible in early photographs. The roof was replaced and years of work with carpenters, painters and plumbers brought this beauty back to life.
Ipswich Heritage Club further explains…..Fortunately, when converting the property into flats, the original central hallway was preserved and enclosed, retaining the original cedar and allowing the Petersen’s to reveal the original floor plan. The property also retains the original four Italian marble back to back fireplaces (two of which have been converted to gas), which would have been shipped from Italy at great expense.
Outside, the original sweeping staircase leads to an outstanding central gable frontispiece with intricate fretwork with double post front and side. Elamang also retains the original cast iron crests, adoring the roof ridges, and the chimney.
Thank you to Ben and Valma Petersen.
Upon entry to the home, you are greeted with a long hallway, 16 metres long, three metres wide at its widest point.
The proportions of the arch is breathtaking and the front door is epic.
The dining room has epic proportions. The real estate listing provides: the hand carved marble provides the border for hand painted art nouveaux tiles, ornate, cast iron fireplace and exquisite tiles as the base.
The living space is incredible, the space! The ceilings are 13 ft, that’s almost four meters!
A new hoop pine kitchen was installed.
There are six bedrooms.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The home sits on 2500sqm, with an in ground pool.
Finally, here’s a photo from the Queensland Times, showing her in all her historical beauty; and the next photo shows her when she was sold in 2018, with all her historical beauty preserved.
Elamang is not for sale. She was last sold in 2018 for $895,000 by June Frank of Walkers Real Estate. The old listing is here.