What it's like to live in one of Brisbane's most historically significant buildings




16 May 2018




This article was originally published by Domain — May 15, 2018

Kim Hill’s relationship with Yungaba House, a 130-year-old heritage-listed building on the river at Kangaroo Point, began as most great relationships do: with love at first sight.

Mrs Hill and her husband Jim, farmers from Gatton, were in Brisbane walking its suburban streets trying to discover which part of the river city they could see themselves retiring to when she spotted the historic building.

“As soon as I saw it, it got in my head,” Mrs Hill said. “I thought it was amazing and after we got home and discovered it was actually being restored and converted into apartments, it became a bit of an obsession.

“I couldn’t believe we might be able to live in a place like that.”

Migrants out the front of the historic Yungaba House, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane.

Migrants out the front of the historic Yungaba House, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane.

1888 / Architectural perspective of the Immigration Depot, Brisbane / Queensland State Archives / Digital ID 2580
September 1950 / Yungaba Immigration Centre / Queensland State Archives / Digital ID 1588
December 2016 / The Residences at Yungaba / Angus Martin Photographer for Hutchinson Builders

The Hills did indeed buy one of the 10 bespoke residences available and moved in not long after. Currently using it as their Brisbane base a few days a week, they plan to transition from life on their farm in Gatton to full retirement in their historic ground floor apartment.

“I get quite emotional talking about it,” Mrs Hill said. “Every single time I drive up to that gate and in the driveway, my heart nearly stops. It’s absolutely magical and everything we hoped it would be.

“We feel very blessed to be in a position to buy something like this. The fact that this property once welcomed new residents to Brisbane … there’s something very special about that. You cannot replicate the historical significance anywhere else.

“There’s no ghosts, just a beautiful sense of history right in the middle of the city. I don’t think the novelty of that will never wear off.”

Launched mid-last year, The Residences at Yungaba House represents Frasers Property Australia’s painstaking and elegant restoration of the 130-year-old landmark building fronting the Brisbane River at Kangaroo Point.

The Hills are one of six owners who have bought into the development so far, along with a Hong Kong-based ex-pilot who collects heritage properties around the world, a young family from Bulimba and a Brisbane-based couple who have renovated several homes and have another property in Sydney.

Cameron Leggatt of Frasers Property said while the purchasers in The Residences came from various backgrounds, they all shared a love of unique heritage property.

“They have in common the desire to own a piece of Brisbane’s history and we believe they are all likely to treasure their residence to be passed onto their future generations,” Mr Leggatt said.

“We are delighted to welcome buyers who appreciate the rare jewel that these homes represent in Brisbane’s property landscape. The remaining Residences are a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure a part of this exquisitely restored Brisbane landmark.”

One of the remaining residences for sale, Residence Four, is now open for viewing and has been furnished with hints of modern colour and styling while respecting the heritage features of the home.

The Residences at Yungaba House earned a nomination in the upcoming UDIA National Awards for Excellence after winning the Medium Density housing category of the UDIA (Qld) Awards in November.

The project is also a finalist in this year’s Property Council of Australia (Qld) Awards in the Heritage Development category.

Dating back to 1887, Yungaba House served as an immigration facility, army refuge, accommodation centre, war-time hospital, design studio and community group hub before its transformation into 10 residences facing east to the water, the three and four-bedroom homes have modern kitchens and amenities, complemented by high-tech security throughout.

Each private residence blends the elegance of history with modern amenities to deliver a rare offering that is destined to become Brisbane’s most exclusive residential address.

The homes overlook the 3000-square-metre, heritage-listed gardens and lush parklands that surround Yungaba House. The adjacent recreation centre provides residents-only access to a private gymnasium and 25-metre infinity edge pool. 

The remaining residences, priced from $2.85 million, are open for viewing each Saturday from 10am to 10.30am and 2pm to 2.30pm. See yungaba.com.au or domain.com.au/2014157147.