The history behind Toowong’s iconic ‘Foley House’

Dating back to the late colonial period, the land upon which ‘Foley House’ rests was owned by Elizabeth Hockings and her husband Albert Hockings. A mover and shaker in political circles, Albert was a Queensland politician, Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly and an alderman of the Brisbane Town Council. He was the fifth mayor of Brisbane for the first term in 1865, and returned in 1867 as the seventh mayor to serve for the second term.

Extending his interests to real estate, Albert subdivided a portion of the acreage and named it ‘The Terraces, Toowong.’ Toowong was already recognised for its fashionable villa estates, desired by the elite, so he seized the opportunity between 1870 and 1900 to sell these residential lots.

In 1903 an electric tram service was introduced and the journey from Milton Road to the terminus travelled along Woodstock Road. The route was aptly termed ‘The Terraces’.

Foley House taken in 1920

Standing proudly on a picturesque 1,465sqm corner allotment, historic ‘Foley House’ boldly reflects the grandeur of the Federation era. Built circa 1910, only three families have resided in this stately residence. The second in the line of ownership was Clare Bridget Foley. Born 1913, Clare was the daughter of an Ipswich lawyer and in 1939 she was the fourth woman to be admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland.

‘Foley House’ was home to Clare, her husband Thomas Michael Foley and their children. One can imagine the status of this magnificent home and the affluent lifestyle that it afforded. Toowong was a suburb known for its wealthy upper middle class citizens, who worked in the city and socialised together. No exception, the Foley’s were entrenched in the St Ignatius Toowong parish and widely respected in the business community. With Clare’s lineage deeply ingrained in law, they were well established in Brisbane’s exclusive cliques.

Through adversity and prosperity, it was a joyous, yet ambitious life for Clare. Her contribution to the legal system, which continued well into the 1990s, is documented in numerous university and law publications.

With everyone pursuing their vocation, and her husband Thomas long gone after passing away in 1983, Clare faced life on her own from 1992. Seeking company, she threw open the doors of her home to the Sisters of Mercy, while their convent ‘Goldicott House’ was undergoing renovation. She appreciated their companionship and the opportunity to provide comfortable lodgings for the nuns.

Sadly after her death in 1998, Clare’s sons declined the offer to inherit the house and it sat empty. In the year 2000, it was eventually sold with the stipulation that the purchaser had to be a St Ignatius Toowong family. Not wasting any time, a buyer met the criteria and the transaction was executed off market.

Enamoured by its beauty, the current owners restored and further enhanced ‘Foley House.’ Engaging the services of architect Andrew Gildea, under his guidance it was redesigned with careful consideration and planning to ensure that the traditional features were preserved. Excavating under the house created an entire floor of additional living, which sympathetically blends with the original structure and complements the period.

Captivating from the outset, with its manicured gardens and splendid street presence, it is evident that this property is an extraordinary example of Queensland’s distinctive architecture.

Beyond the charming verandah, a wide hallway leads to a distinguished formal lounge and dining room set under soaring pressed metal ceilings. Intricate details include exquisite leadlight glass, ornate fretwork, wide polished floorboards and decorative timber archways. French doors unveil the way to a radiant sunroom with banks of glistening windows bathing interiors in ambient light. The vast floorplan encompasses a casual living/meals space that opens onto a breezy deck with a classic rotunda to entertain guests, while taking in the city skyline views.

The magnificent grounds boast a swimming pool, lawn tennis court, an automated watering system and secure areas for children to safely play. Established tall hedges, age old trees and high fences add to the sense of privacy.

On the lower floor is a generous rumpus with integrated study facilities and a series of comfortable bedrooms for teenagers, guests or relatives to utilise. For those who love to entertain, a kitchenette enjoys direct access to undercover and open-air terraces to serve guests.

Noteworthy highlights comprise a well equipped kitchen, two offices, spacious sleeping quarters and practical bathrooms on both levels. Reflecting attention to detail, there is a BOSE surround sound system, ZIP taps, copious storage options and multiple garages to accommodate up to four cars.

The vendors have treasured memories of raising their four children in this unique lifestyle property. It has been the scene of many birthdays, celebrations, Christmases and social gatherings. Diverse events have included grand gala dinners, glamorous themed events, as well as a visiting animal petting farm for the kids.

Thoroughly thought out, the highly liveable layout provides excellent separation, abundant catering options and has the functionality to bring everyone together in comfort. From intimate soirées to enviable extravaganzas, it is a dream haven for entertaining, as well as raising a family of all ages.

Wonderfully peaceful, ‘Foley House’ is in a sought-after enclave, yet close to every amenity. It is moments to St Ignatius School Toowong, Brisbane Boys’ College and The Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology. The convenient locale is minutes to Toowong Village and four kilometres to the CBD.

75 Woodstock Road will be going to auction on Saturday 24th November at 2pm. The auction will be held on-site and we would love to see you there.


Free Local Market Report | 2018

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Complimentary Local Market Report | 2018

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