Colmslie House

Colmslie House

Stage Number: MBSH.03.03.02

Group: Southern

Local Study Area: Bulimba-Balmoral-Hawthorne-Morningside

Epoch: Late 19th Century

Street Address: Near the corner of Thynne and Lytton Roads

Latitude & Longitude: -27.44977778,153.08238889

Time Link: 1881

Map Link: 1884

Image Time Point: 1884

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This house was erected for the Cairncross family, who were one of the early European families to move into this quiet part of Brisbane during the 1850s. William Cairncross – the husband – was a baker and confectioner with a business in Queen Street. The ten-roomed house on 40 acres was named ‘Colmslie’, a name with an old association for the Cairncross family. It had an observatory, and Cairncross used it to report to the authorities on shipping and weather. He died in 1896, and four years later the remote Colmslie House and surrounding lands were bought by the colonial government for use as a plague hospital. It was described at the time as “quite a landmark, is a large wooden two-story structure, with wide verandas, high ceilings, and roomy apartments on the ground floor, though the rooms in the upper story are not very large. There are also a number of outbuildings. The grounds are fairly extensive… There is very little settlement for within a mile or so of the place, which is about a quarter of a mile from the road.” The land was eventually became the Colmslie Recreation Reserve and all the original buildings were demolished or removed.


Beryl Roberts, ‘Naming Brisbane’, Brisbane, B. Roberts, 2013, p. 27; The Week, 6 April 1900; Courier-Mail, 20 May 1939.

Image Citations

View across Hamilton Reach towards open spaces of Colmslie, ca. 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Record number: 158373.

Map References

QSA. QSA Series ID 2043 City of Brisbane and Suburbs Maps – A1A Series. 5 chains to the inch. City of Brisbane. 5 chains to the inch. Government Engraving, and Lithographic Office, Brisbane.. 634496