Do you remember Huntingtower?

The John Oxley Library recently received a donation of three beautiful photographs of the Annerley residence, Huntingtower.  This was a significant acquisition as the only other photograph of the house which we hold is of very poor quality and taken from a distance.  The new photographs clearly show the front of the house in great detail as well as the view over the suburbs from the back of the residence.  The gentleman standing on the front steps of the house appears to be William Walter Hood, an early owner.

View of Huntingtower at Annerley.

View of Huntingtower at Annerley.

Huntingtower at Annerley

Huntingtower at Annerley

View from the back of Huntingtower.

View from the back of Huntingtower.

Huntingtower was located in Dudley Street, Annerley.  One of the early owners was James Campbell Moffatt, a chemist, who occupied the house in the early 1890s up until his death in 1905.  His funeral procession left his residence, Huntingtower, at the Ipswich Road Junction.  The house was later owned by William Walter Hood who had possession of the property until his death in 1920.  Hood was born in Scotland in 1844 and migrated to Victoria in 1853 with his parents.  He attended the Geelong Grammar School.  He eventually became a station manager and moved to Queensland in 1880 where he took up the position of General Manager of the Western Queensland Pastoral Co.  For fifteen years he lived at Burenda Station, in the Augathella district,  before moving to Brisbane due to ill health.  In Brisbane he became a director of the Brisbane firm Birt & Co. Ltd., shipping agents.  He was active in public life and in 1898 was elected member for Warrego in the Queenland Parliament.  In his younger days he was a noted amateur rider and participated in the first polo match played in Australia.

William Walter Hood, Negative No. 16372

William Walter Hood, Negative No. 16372

After Hood’s death Huntingtower was sold and for many years was the home of Sarah Ann Jenyns, a surgical corset manufacturer, who lived there until her death in 1958.  An advertisement for the house in 1920 (Brisbane Courier, 9/10/1920, p.10) describes Huntingtower as a charming residential property with magnificent views of the Brisbane River, containing ten rooms, including a large billiard room, and good garages.  The grounds are described as tastefully laid out with fruit and flower gardens.

Advertisement for the sale of Huntingtower.

Advertisement for the sale of Huntingtower.

In 1960 Huntingtower was once again in the news when the owners, the Mesh family, discovered “buried treasure” in the form of money buried in two tins in a section of the overgrown garden.

Newspaper clipping from 1960.

Newspaper clipping from 1960.

Courier Mail, 13 April 1960.

Courier Mail, 13 April 1960.

It would be interesting to know what eventually happened to the beautiful old house as it no longer exists on the Huntingtower site.  The land was eventually used as a nursing home and today appears to be the location of the Westminster House Retirement Village.  We would love to hear from anyone who has more information about this magnificent house.

Lynn Meyers – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland