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Stonehouse Welcomes Travellers

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New Stonehouse owners Loretta and John Eastwood chatted with Out There Cycling’s Josie and David Sheehan after Saturday’s Stonehouse inspection tours, which drew a much bigger crowd than anyone had anticipated

July 24, 2019

More than 450 people from all over south-east Queensland travelled to Moore on Saturday for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see one of the region’s oldest buildings up close.

The attraction was the Stonehouse, a Heritage-listed former homestead and inn built in several stages between 1874 and 1888 by stonemason Charles Williams and his nephew Frank Williams, who added a store and butcher’s shop to the complex.

The Stonehouse used to service coaches travelling from the Brisbane Valley to the South Burnett.

It was one of four coach stops – the others were at Esk, Cressbrook and Colinton – and traded until the early 1900s when Moore was established and the Brisbane Valley railway line arrived in the area.

The Stonehouse was extensively refurbished around that time, but at some point during the World War I the first house on the property was demolished and the stables collapsed.

More changes came between 1948 and 1960 when the buggy shed, workshop, hayshed, poultry run, slaughterhouse and barn were also demolished.

And in 1967, after a storm removed the front verandah roof on the main building, a section of the house was demolished as well.

During the past 145 years the Stonehouse property has changed hands several times, and new owners Loretta and John Eastwood are now keen to restore what now remains of the complex.

So on Saturday – for the first time in 45 years – they opened it to the general public in conjunction with Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails (BVHT), a community group dedicated to recording and preserving the history of the Brisbane Valley.

Because there is no off-road parking at the Stonehouse, Out There Cycling ran hourly buses from Moore Hall to the Stonehouse and back again from 9:00am on Saturday.

Many visitors were so keen to inspect the historic complex up close that they patiently waited up to 90 minutes to secure a bus seat in a queue that stretched from the hall to the D’Aguilar Highway.

“The most extraordinary thing was that no one complained,” BVHT assistant secretary Kate Dohle said.

“While we knew the Stonehouse would be popular, we had no idea just how important these beautiful old buildings are to the greater population.”

Kate said she heard that one woman who took the tour was holding a framed photograph of a bullock team, and said her mother had been born in the Stonehouse.

“She was moved to tears as she touched the stone and said Saturday’s tour was the first time she’d ever been allowed to see the house,” Kate said.

“What a truly special day for her!”

Since then, Kate said, BVHT’s Facebook page had received had hundreds of likes and positive comments on the day, with many people asking for a future re-run.

Kate said the success of the day was due to many people.

These included Elizabeth DeLacy and Kerry Wyvill who guided visitors around the Stonehouse; the Moore Hall Committee; Craig, Sue, Charlotte and Tahlia from Heartland Heavy Horses who ran carriage rides on the day; entertainer Tony Foran; and Barry Green and Somerset Councillor Cheryl Gaedtke, who acted as coach captains.

She also thanked South Burnett artist Lyn Felsman who donated a painting of the Stonehouse as a raffle prize; and members of the Kilcoy District Historical Society, Toogoolawah History Group, Roy Emerson Museum, Yarraman History Museum and Nanango History Room for supporting the event.

She also paid tribute to Out There Cycling owners Josie and David Sheehan, who donated the proceeds of the day’s bus trips to the Friends of Stonehouse, a subgroup of BVHT, so the funds can be used to assist restoration efforts.

Footnote: The Stonehouse was immortalised in the song “Brisbane Ladies”, which is believed to have been written by Saul Mendelsohn, a Nanango storekeeper who died in 1879. The tune and lyrics of this song have been preserved online

[Photos: Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails]

Lyn Felsman’s painting of the Stonehouse is now owned by raffle winner by Penne Smith. from Toowoomba

Heartland Heavy Horses offered carriage rides to the hundreds of visitors patiently queueing for a bus at Moore Memorial Hall

How Stonehouse’s main building looks today

Stonehouse’s combined inn, shop and butchery is the only other building in the former
complex still standing

The Stonehouse was originally developed to service coaches plying the Brisbane Valley route to the South Burnett … this photo is believed to show Ned MacDonald’s coach, which carried travellers from Esk to Nanango in the 1870s

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3 Responses to Stonehouse Welcomes Travellers

  1. What memories. Yes, the Stonehouse has been something special even as late as the 1950s during a period when a sections of the road from Moore to Toogoolawah had much-travelled dirt sections.

    As a member of the Cycle Club (then known as the Kingaroy Amateur Wheelers), a group of us often rode to Blackbutt and Moore as part of winter road training which saw us stop regularly at the Stonehouse as something of a halfway mark.

    On one occasion a group of us travelled by an open truck to an Ipswich track cycling carnival, then the following day made the individual cycle trip from Ipswich back to Kingaroy, stopping again at the Stonehouse before the assault on the Blackbutt Range.

    Of course, in those years, everyone was relatively fit and it was the only mode of individual transport as the purchase of a motor vehicle was always too expensive plus a driver’s licence was only available in your late teens and drinking alcohol was banned until the age of 21. It was a period when some 90 per cent of teenagers were involved in sport and for entertainment attended regular dances and balls plus the weekend picture theatres.

  2. Julie Thomson

    Back in the good old days, Keith Kratzmann.

  3. Jan Sked

    The book, “Williams of Stonehouse” by Jan Sked is no longer in print, but may be obtained on a CD from Jan Sked.

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