Aveo Retirement Living restores one of Brisbane’s oldest heritage homes in the heart of Albion
One of Brisbane’s original and most culturally significant homes, Highlands House, has been returned to its former grandeur following an extensive $1.5 million restoration project by leading retirement provider, Aveo.
Having once provided the source for extensive entertaining under the tenure of various prolific and influential owners, the affluent estate will once again become an active social hub for locals as the vibrant new Community Centre within Aveo Retirement Living’s flagship village, The Clayfield.
Left neglected for many years prior to Aveo’s acquisition of the site, the extent of the building’s colourful past remained relatively unknown until self-titled resident historian, Mr Robert Haynes, embarked on an independent, three-year research project to document its rich heritage.
Haynes said that he, along with fellow residents, developed an enduring appreciation for the heritage buildings at The Clayfield and often pondered what life might have been like in the place he now called home.
“I found that not a great deal had been previously published on Highlands House, and the few resources available were fragmented,” Mr Haynes said.
Painstakingly piecing together local newspaper archives, property sales announcements and birth and funeral notices to paint a complete timeline of events, Haynes’ intriguing findings will be published by Aveo to celebrate the re-opening of Highlands House.
“Some historical reports suggest that the construction of Highlands House commenced in the late 1860s, with a second stage established during the 1880s. However, my research suggests it was in fact constructed some years earlier,” he said.
“From its origins as a rural homestead with owners including parliamentary officials and an Archbishop, to its years as a private girls’ school – Highlands House’ fascinating history is reflective of a broader, developing Brisbane.”
The restoration of Highlands House was carefully conducted in conjunction with a dedicated heritage consultant to ensure the original architectural form and distinctive aesthetic of Highlands House remained intact.
Aveo CEO, Geoff Grady, said it had been a priority to restore Highlands House as part of the retirement provider’s extensive $30 million development of The Clayfield, which includes a new five story residential building to be launched in coming months.
“The Clayfield exemplifies Aveo’s modern approach to retirement living while also paying tribute to the area’s rich cultural heritage,” Mr Grady said.
“The magnificent restoration of Highlands House pays respect to the building’s original charm, whilst incorporating modern and elegant finishes to meet current and future resident needs.
“With the completion of Highlands House, The Clayfield now boasts two historically significant buildings, with Whytecliffe House circa 1875 also a much-loved feature of the village.
“Aveo prides its retirement communities on remaining connected to the broader community, and we are thrilled to be able to give our residents an iconic piece of Albion’s history to treasure for years to come.”