Saturday, 11 May 2013

Home to Hospice

Hi readers,  I missed my usual mid week post this week - I'm sorry - but I had a good excuse - look!

I know - it looks severe - ACL reconstruction.  And yes, pity is good. The more the better!  I am sore (and sorry) but it also serves me right for earlier this year having an altercation with a tree whilst skiing.

Don't let this picturesque shot of these snow capped trees fool you - these trees are dangerous!  Particularly when they get in the way of me skiing!  Anyway, all in all, I am on the road to recovery.

But the stay in hospital did actually provide a great segue for this post - because it made me want to write more about the HH history and the transition of our Green Lady from home to hospice.

You can just see from this shot how HH it must have looked during the years as this transition occurred.

But let's go back... remember I told you that the Heath family lived in HH until about 1890 - so for about 25 years it was their private home?  So thoughts I would return to complete the history lesson about our Green Lady.

TheHeaths decided to return to England around 1890 and, after they left, HH was apparently leased out for 22 years to bank manager, stock and share broker, Alexander Henry Hudson and his family.

They were, like the Heaths, very good entertainers.  Probably why they needed a housekeeper - there is an advertisement from around their time which very simply said:

HOUSEMAID wanted. Apply Mrs Hudson, Hanworth, Norman Creek

When the Hudsons left, the surrounding land was subdivided and Hanworth was put up for sale in 1909 but failed to sell.  Joseph Tritton later purchased the estate, subdivided the land into 60 allotments and auctioned them off. Look at this ad from the Brisbane Courier on 25th March 1912.

Today's real estate agents should note the colourful and alluring advertising -  "fronting the tram line" "close to the new East Brisbane steam ferry" and, the bit I love the most "most suitable for a private residence - medical man - private school". I laughed!

How ironic is it that the opening line in the ad was "Every one knows the Hanworth Estate" and yet, in 2013 before the fire (and 100 years later), hardly anyone knew it!

So I know you will be much relieved to hear there was good news after the auction - The auctioneers, Messrs. Cameron Bros.,  reported the successful sale and that every allotment, with the exception of the house, was disposed of for a total of £2807. The highest price reached was £163 and the best offer for the house was £1280, but the house was passed in at £1400. There was apparently a large attendance of buyers and spectators at the sale.

In even better news, a year later in July 1913 the house was sold to Mrs J D Wienholt. She purchased just over 3 roods (3040m2) and with Mrs Wienholt ended the home that was known as Hanworth House.

Coincidentally, this was exactly 100 years ago.  We don't know that much about our Mary except that Mary Marguerite Wienholt was described as a philanthropist. But, importantly, she took Hanworth House and established a home for elderly impoverished women.  And she did this in memory of her mother Anne Powell. I loved Mary the minute I learnt about her.   She changed the name of the house to The Hospice and apparently took a strong personal interest in its running.

Now this I just love - check out the listing at the Qld Post office Street Directory of 1931/1932 

"111 - Hospice (The), Mrs Weinholt's home for impecunious Gentlewomen" 

I looked "impecunious" up - it meant having little or no money (Miss HH remarked when I told her "like me" as I am sure most teenagers would!)

In 1918, under our Mary's stewardship, there was a major alteration in that a timber wing was added off the west wing - apparently  built on the site of the previous kitchen and was probably aligned with the need for more space as the hospice was created. There was also the interwar 2 storeyed brick addition at the southern end of the house.

Enclosed by these new buildings was a perfect courtyard in which a grove of mandarin trees was  established ( point to note - I am aiming to re-establish them again).  The grounds apparently contained mature pines. Roses and creeping plants climbed the ornamental iron verandah posts.

 I can just imagine the women who came to live here, being wheeled often up these corridors

or sitting on these verandahs

Apparently The Hospice was a wonderful place for the elderly.  As  was written in The Queensland (Thursday 22 May 1930 page 7) it was:

"admirably suited to this purpose, not only on account of its age and form, but on account of its aspect. As it faces almost due east, its residents, in the winter mornings, are able to bask in the warmth and comfort of the sun without leaving the verandas, and but three steps takes them down into the pleasant garden" 

Great news for me too as I recuperate from my ACL operation!

The article written about HH in 1930 was a classic so if you want to read more  Click here for full article

Mary, who we will label fondly as Benefactor HH, was a member of the Brisbane Theosophical Society (which was established in New York in 1976 with the aims of universal brotherhood and the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science) - not sure that I know exactly what that means, but you can't say I didn't tell you!

Mary was married to John D Weinhholt. John was a pastoralist at Saltern Creek, and later at Boonah and came from a family of pastoralists.  Mary was also interested in prevention of cruelty to animals and played a role in the establishment of the animal refuge at Yeronga.

Benefactor HH handed The Hospice over on 25 June 1927 to the Theosophical Society with the proviso that they continued to operate it as per her wishes - which they did for nearly 70 years.  And, in keeping with this intent, in 1995 The Anglican Church purchased it and renamed it again - this time "Hanworth House for the Aged". It continued to operate as a home for women  until the early 2000s when the Church tenanted it out.
After the death of her husband in 1936, Mary Weinholt lived in seclusion in Brisbane and Canberra.

As well as her philanthropic gift of Hanworth, she also established the John Wienholt Memorial Scholarship at the University of Queensland.  She died in Canberra on 14 February 1954 and is buried at Cleveland.

And so runs the full circle - do you remember that Hanworth's founder was the Portmaster and, as such, one of his navigational projects was the Cleveland Lighthouse? And, in a coincidence or not, my beautiful 98 year old grandmother (Mamma HH's mother) is still alive and lives at Cleveland, not far from the cemetery where Mary is buried.
Here is a recent visual of my 98 year old nonna - and yes, she is mowing her lawn!

And yes, she is well known to Cleveland residents as she rides a push bike regularly to get her groceries. She is truly one of a kind!
And so it came to pass that Hanworth House passed to me on 30 October 2012.  A wonderful history and heritage.

I read that the tenant Hudson wrote to Mrs Weinholt after learning she had purchased the house telling her that one of Captain Heath's daughters said that if her mother were alive "it would give her great pleasure to know to what use Hanworth had been put"

After the pivotal roles played by the women of HH - Mrs Elizabeth Heath and Mrs Mary Weinholt (and her mother Anne Powell), I hope that the Heath descendants would feel the same now as the heritage of the house is preserved in memory of my own mother Romana.  I hope I can continue the legacy - I certainly bought much more than a house. But I realised that only after the deal was well and truly done.
And if I had realised then what I realised now - I still would have done it.  But probably better I knew nothing then - or else I might have been too scared to try.

So now the history is told. But I am posting this interesting closing shot - I'd love to know what you think of this - I'll tell you what I think next time I write

Happy Mothers Day to all beautiful mums for tomorrow
especially those who are not here, but will always continue to have our hearts

x HH


  1. Wow! Excellent history - thanks for sharing.

    HH sure has an interesting past.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  2. Thanks ! The recovery has to be speedy as the work to be done at hh demands it!

  3. Thankyou for sharing your wonderful stories!
    I don't comment on blogs a whole lot...but I wanted to say Thankyou for sharing your story,it's so fascinating...a blog is such a wonderful way to keep a record & share a story,so glad you are doing this!
    You are so lucky to be in care of the beautiful HH,I've recently moved to an old Queenslander on the hill at Manly,we think she could be nearly 100years old...I'd love to know who's enjoyed these views over the years!
    My friend has a blog called Restoring the Old Girl,it's a wonderful story also of a beautiful old home in Brisbane!
    Best Wishes & keep writing-it's wonderful! X Anna

  4. thank you so much - I will call you "home on the hill" - I encourage you to seek out the story. You know, I knew not a fraction about HH when I bought her and the journey has been in that discovery. I'm off now to seek out your friend's blog - maybe you can start one too and we can be triplet bloggers! Love to hear what you find and thank you for your encouragement.

  5. Dear HH,
    Our old girl will be enjoying a big renovation in 5years!
    Until then I will continue to be a blog follower & enjoy others stories! I love the name Home On The will be the first to know when it's up&running HeHe!
    I got so engrossed in your historical stories I forgot to say Speedy Recovery to You!!!!!
    Also,your Gran is adorable.Have you taken her for Devonshire Teas at Ormiston House(built same era as HH I think?)My children treated me on Sunday,we sat in the sun sipping tea & devouring delicious scones...while admiring Moreton Bay's 5minutes fom Cleveland.$5 Devonshire Teas...Sweet!
    Ps With the Restoring The Old Girl story-you must go to beginning of blog to get the whole story,how they bought it & what treasures were inside!!!!!!
    Take care,Rest up & keep the stories coming!
    X Anna

    1. Good, hopefully I will be finished in 5 years so ready to live vicariously through someone else at that stage! I did read the beginning of the Restoring the Old Girl - I wrote to her too. What an amazing story. What a lovely idea re Ormiston House - my only problem is that my grandmother is so stubborn. She is annoyed she gets letters from the Cleveland Council each year to join them for their annual over 90s morning tea. She says they give instructions where to park wheelchairs, but no instructions on where to park her bicycle. What a hoot! I fear I will never get her to enjoy tea at OH although I would absolutely LOVE IT! Be warned, I am going to hold you to that blog promise in the future!

  6. Hi There, My friend Anna (who I see has commented above) has put me onto your blog. My condolensces on your leg (well wishes for a speedy recovery) and also the fire earlier this year. I drove past just after it had happened and was so devastated for you. I've admired this house from the road for as long as I can remember wishing I could sneak in behind the walls for a closer look and here we are. I'm thrilled to be able to follow the journey. What a magnificent road you have ahead.

    1. Hi EAP. Welcome. I love your blog too and am going to sign up. Thanks for your well wishes (I am eliciting the sympathy vote as long as possible as I know it won't last!) So glad to have you on my journey.I look forward to following yours too

  7. Oh my goodness!hilarious re Gran!Just had a visual!
    Well you must get down to OH for Dev Teas-lovely spot!
    EAP!Vintage Styling Queen!
    What did we ever do before blogs?!?!?!?
    Have a fantastic week HH,look forward to your next HH intriguing story!
    X Anna

  8. Gail Maree Costigan White2 October 2014 at 16:29

    Marisa, what a wonderful history the old home has! And what an amazing tribute to your beautiful Mother. She must be very proud! Looking forward to seeing HH very soon.
    x Gail

    1. thanks Gail. And I love your interest in HH - makes it all so worthwhile, x HH