Timber and tin no more: Council loses bid to save historic New Farm house

Brisbane City Council has lost its bid to save a century-old “timber and tin” house in historic New Farm from demolition after a judge decided its traditional character had been destroyed by its conversion into a block of flats.

Sep 27, 2021, updated Sep 27, 2021

So-called “celebrity builders” Graya Developments want to knock down the the building, on ritzy Moray St, which sits on a 1000 square metre block in the heart of New Farm.

Teneriffe-based Graya, famous for its striking building design and high profile clients including footballer Darius Boyd and model Erin McNaught, took the council to the Planning and Environment Court to appeal its decision earlier this year to knock back its demolition application.

According to council documents, its decision to reject Graya’s application was because it “would result in the loss of a protected pre-1947 building under the Traditional building character overlay in Moray Street”.

However, Judge Richard Jones came down on the side of the developers, rejecting the council’s case that despite having several building alterations including fibro cladding and the installation of concrete besser blocks over the years, it retained its “timber and tin” character.

“But for the remaining tin roof, the “Queensland vernacular character” of the house has all but been destroyed.,” he said in his judgement.

“No doubt, the house could be restored to its former glory albeit at considerable cost, but that is not to the point.”

The court heard the house was most likely build around 1912 or 1913 as a bungalow with a U-shaped verandah but had been converted into flats in the 1950s.

Graya is yet to make a development application for the site but it has recently completed a five-level luxury apartment complex, called Maison, at 60 Moray Street.

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