After ticking off quite a few historic houses in Sydney, it was time to tackle Brisbane. I feel like I was a totally different person when I last lived here in 2013 as I didn’t have as much interest in exploring them then. Now, however, I have a list! First up is historic Ormiston House — the birthplace of the Australian commercial sugar industry.
During every visit to Brisbane over the past couple of years, I’ve thought to visit here and for some reason or other, it’s not a Sunday or the house is closed so this visit has been long overdue. On a sticky Australian Day with nothing to do, it was the perfect opportunity to hunt down some tea and scones.
The house is run by volunteers. My favourite was the gentleman selling tickets as you drive in as he was eating the scones and recommending them. Excellent marketing.
Located in Ormiston, this heritage-listed plantation was built in the 1860s by Capt. Louis Hope. Hope planted 20 acres of sugar cane and in 1863 and his mill crushed the first commercially grown cane. By late 1864, the first crush produced 3 tons of sugar and 15cwt of molasses — the first time sugar was produced commercially in Queensland. This earned him the title ‘Father of the commercial sugar industry in Queensland‘.
With its large doors, fireplaces, highly decorated ceilings and wide verandahs, Ormiston house is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture in Queensland. It was even one of the first houses in Queensland to have a flushing toilet. What really stands out though is the scenery as the house is surrounded by 14 acres of gardens overlooking beautiful Moreton Bay .
Once you’re ready for refreshments, you can enjoy a Devonshire tea out on the verandah. For only $5, you get a pot of tea and a scone with homemade jam and cream. There’s also sandwiches if you fancy a light lunch, as well as biscuits and filtered coffee. If it’s a nice day, you’re welcome to bring along your own picnic and blanket and enjoy the beautiful grounds of the house.
Afterwards, take a minute to look at their little gift shop. We came home with some homemade jams (strawberry, plum & raisin and lemon curd), postcard and a pretty t-towel.
Throughout the year, Ormiston House has a varied calendar of events, including Mother’s Day High Tea, small concerts and craft stalls.
When: Every Sunday from 12 – 4pm
Where: 277 Wellington Street, Ormiston, Queensland, 4160
Price: Adults $7, concession $5 and children 5 – 12 years $2