23 Nov 2017

Renovations rescue our oldest surviving private residence

Eskgrove, 56 Laidlaw Pde, East Brisbane, built 1853

A LONG driveway from busy Lytton Rd at one time was the entry point to Eskgrove.

But the entrance was always facing the backstreet – Laidlaw Pde.

The home was built to face the Brisbane River.

Built in 1853, the sandstone building is the oldest surviving private residence in Brisbane.

Eskgrove was built by Scottish-born former Sydney bank manager Archibald Hutchinson.

The architecture is described as Indian Bungalow, believed to be influenced by Mr Hutchinson’s time growing up in India.

The extraordinary restoration of the home is the work of David and Arna Ringholt, who rescued the run-down cottage.

The sandstone exterior had been covered in a painted roughcast stony render and the back walls hidden by extensions.

“It was completely dilapidated and you couldn’t live in it,” Mrs Ringholt said.

“They had added a number of bathrooms and toilets when it was a nursing home.”

The original verandas we have reinstated and all of the courtyard had been enclosed with additions.

“There were concrete columns at the front.”

The couple’s renovation plan to remove the render was originally knocked back by the Heritage Protection Department, as they were concerned about the condition of the sandstone and potential for damage in the render’s removal.

“When we started work we had a section where the roughcast render fell away and we could see how beautiful the stonework was underneath,” Mrs Ringholt said.

“The heritage architect and EHP came back out and once they caught a glimpse of the stonework underneath they were really happy for us to go ahead.”

 

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