Ardencraig and the Stanley Family

by Leigh Chamberlain
“Ardencraig” was the residence of FDG Stanley (1838-1897), acclaimed 19th century Queensland architect, and was situated on Church (now Jephson) Street, Toowong. Fashionable Stanley followed the fashion of those who were notable in Brisbane Society by installing a telescope, in common with Toowong resident and architect Richard Gailey who had done likewise at “Glenolive” in Brisbane Street, Toowong. (“Glenolive” is now removed and the property is subdivided to form Sandford Street). As well as being used to observe, record, and develop theories to explain weather phenomenon, if positioned advantageously on hilltops, telescopes could also be used to watch in the comfort of one’s home the sailing events held on the St Lucia and Milton Reaches of the Brisbane River. There were two “Ardencraigs”, actually, as the house Stanley had built burnt down, and was replaced by a second residence. Upon that house also suffering a fire in the 1960s the then owners, feeling that they did not wish to take on the worry of repairing the damage, sold the property. The damaged building was subsequently sold for removal, and was replaced by the unit block which still stands here today. TDHS has been in touch with the current owners of Ardencraig 2, and they assure TDHS that the damage was limited and fixable. The house was restored to its former glory, and is located outside Brisbane.