Queensland house spaces

Queensland houses are characterised by an open design and a blurring between inside and out.

Informal spaces

The raising of houses on stumps created valuable space beneath the house that was used for many varied purposes including drying the washing, accommodating animals and even housing an extended family.

The retreat from hot internal rooms to the verandah further reflects a less formal Queensland domestic lifestyle. A comfortable verandah allowed residents to spurn formal living rooms and upholstered chairs that enveloped hot bodies. However, in the postwar years, the verandah was enclosed to create more room.

Formal spaces

Despite the development of these informal spaces, in Victorian times the Queensland house was a highly structured space – papered, panelled and polished, furnished, ornamented and equipped. In times of prosperity and social mobility, it was a symbol of the success, respectability and social status. By the 1890s, Queensland houses exhibited many of the features of Victorian domestic ideals.

The drawing room was the most important room, where visitors gained an impression of the standing of the owner. During the 1880s, drawing rooms became more decorative and splendid. By contrast, the desired impression in the dining room was of formal dignity and even grandeur. This was the domain of the husband as host and man of the house.

Private and Utilitarian Spaces

The main bedroom was a private, predominantly feminine space, decorated in delicate pastels, with an emphasis on comfort and prettiness.

Service rooms, on the other hand, were severely practical in their presentation.

The kitchen was usually a simple undecorated room, while the bathroom was often no more than a built-in corner of the back verandah or beneath the house.

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