Looking Back to When People Came to See the Good Doctor at Clayfield House

Did you know that the heritage-listed Clayfield House along London Rd first belonged to Dr. Arthur CF Halford, an esteemed obstetrician who wanted a house with a combined surgery facility to serve his patients? 

In the early 1900s, it was common for doctors to manage a private hospital or clinic with surgery services from their homes, particularly for maternity cases. In keeping with the times, Dr Halford enlisted the help of Robin Dods, a prominent Brisbane architect, to design the residence/surgery building

Mr Dods was quite familiar with Dr Halford’s requirements. His stepfather and brother were also doctors who managed a residence/surgery facility from their homes. The architect designed a similar concept for his brother’s place on Wickham Terrace.

Who was Dr Arthur CF Halford?

From 1906 to 1920, Dr Arthur Charles Frederick Halford conducted his medical practice from Turrawan, the other name he had for Clayfield House. He also had a clinic at 157 Wickham Terrace. 

Dr Halford, the son of a professor, was born in Melbourne in 1869. Thirty years later, he was arranged to be married to Miss Nora Fitzgerald, whose family came from Cork, Ireland. The couple then settled in Rockhampton, Queensland after their wedding in 1899.

Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

By 1905, Dr Halford had bought an acre of land at the corner of Sandgate and London Rd to establish Clayfield House/Turrawan. The building’s original entrance faced Sandgate Rd for the residence whilst the surgery area was accessed via London Rd. Turrawan also had a tennis court at the back of the house.

In 1908, he was named the Honorary Assistant Physician at the Brisbane Hospital, where he pioneered a new method of treating burns and scalds by puncturing the blisters and cutting much of the affected skin. His method was adopted until the 1960s. 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What makes Clayfield House unique?

Clayfield House was built in a burgeoning prestigious residential area in North Brisbane. The design was efficiently thought out to separate the house from the surgery, with separate entrances and distinct room layouts. It became a shining example of the city’s medical practice development. 

The size and quality of the doctor’s residence and surgery were uncommon during this period, especially since it has survived over decades. Some alternations were made to the house yet a lot of its original layout, details and characteristics remain today. 

Photo Credit: Federationdetails.blogspot.com
Clayfield House
Photo Credit: Federationdetails.blogspot.com

Turrawan demonstrated the history and development of the Queensland house, associated with the well-designed ideas of a prominent and influential architect. 

Clayfield House in the Present

After 1920, Clayfield House was let to Alexander Murray for five years then Dr Neville Sutton used London Rd as his professional address. Mr Dods is known for integrating British architectural concepts into traditional Queensland designs and materials.

Photo Credit: Federationdetails.blogspot.com

When Dr Halford’s wife died in 1932, parts of Clayfield House were sold, including a portion of the tennis court. After Dr Halford’s death in 1945, Savoy Pictures Pty Limited, which has built a theatre next to the property, bought the site. 

Around 1960, Clayfield House was resurveyed and then subdivided into two blocks. BP Australia bought the first block on the corner and built a service station that operated for two decades. 

On the other hand, the second lot became the property of Rodney and Colleen Abbott, who built a boarding house. Today, the facility is still known as Clayfield House, providing assisted living and supported accommodation. 

Clayfield House: Then and Now

Did you know that Clayfield House was originally designed to be a doctor’s surgery and residence? Formerly called ‘Turrawan’, this heritage-listed home remains to be a significant part of the suburb in a way that may not be quite the same, but close enough.

History of Clayfield House

Robert Smith (Robin) Dods designed the home to be a combined residence and surgery, for Dr Arthur C F Halford in 1905.

Dods is popular for incorporating architectural design ideas from the United Kingdom with traditional Queensland forms and materials. His designs subsequently influenced Australian architecture.

Robert Smith Dods. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 107372

A home with a surgery is a form that Dods was familiar with because his stepfather and brother were also doctors. He also designed the same concept for his brother on Wickham Terrace.

Clayfield House was constructed in 1906 as ‘Turrawan’ with tennis courts built behind the house. At the time, the doctor’s residence was the only building between Wagner and London Roads.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, having a surgery in their home was not uncommon for doctors. In fact, a number of small private hospitals were also run from houses. This was especially common for maternity cases.

Photo of gardens and the entrance to Turrawan at Clayfield. Photo credit: Shiftchange/Wikimedia Commons

Dr Halford lived at ‘Turrawan’ in 1906, though by 1915 he was also practising from 157 Wickham Terrace. It is thought that he lived and worked from ‘Turrawan’ until 1920 when the place was let to Alexander Murray on a five-year lease.

In 1922 the 1,500 seat Savoy Picture Theatre was constructed next to the house on Sandgate Road. After the death of Dr Halford in 1945, the owners of the theatre acquired the property.

Clayfield House Now

Photo credit: www.clayfieldhouse.com.au

In 1960, the property was re-surveyed and subdivided into two blocks and an easement. BP Australia purchased Lot 1 and constructed a service station on the corner of Clayfield and London Roads. After it closed down in the early 1980s, the current garden nursery occupied the site.

Meanwhile, Rodney and Colleen Abbott purchased Lot 2 in 1984 and turned it into a boarding house. The current owner purchased the property in 1988 and since then it has provided supported accommodation facilities in the area.

Clayfield House is now one of the few surviving examples of Dods’ work. What was once a doctor’s home and place of work continues to touch many people’s lives as it provides a safe environment for people facing various challenges in life.

Rare 1930s Spanish Mission House in Clayfield Sells at Auction for $2.8 Million

A rare 1930s Spanish mission architectural masterpiece in Clayfield, which was sold for $2.8 million, became the highlight of what would have otherwise been a quiet auction week in Brisbane.

Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au

The auction week ending 6 July 2019 saw only 36 properties put out on the market but nevertheless a high clearance rate of 33 percent was registered, as well as some impressive results including the historic home at 117 Adelaide Street East in Clayfield which was sold for $2.8 million.

“Highgate” sits on a secluded 1,712sqm north east facing block of land and was tightly held for the past four decades. The stunning residence still has its original features well preserved including the hardwood floors, decorative horse-hair plaster ceilings, working fireplace, and french doors. 

Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au

Not to mention are the lead lighting, hand cut crystal chandeliers, and antique bronze light fittings which add to the beauty and grandeur of this historic six-bedroom home. 

Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au

The home also features two and a half bathrooms, an office as well as a separate office/studio with balcony, and overlooking the casual dining and living rooms is an open plan family sized kitchen. 

Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au

The living areas also include a billiard room and attic/rumpus. The north facing wide verandas overlooks the saltwater swimming pool, pergola, and large level garden and lawn.

Spanish mission house Clayfield
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au
Spanish mission house Clayfield
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au
Spanish mission house Clayfield
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au
Spanish mission house Clayfield
Photo credit: Domain Group / domain.com.au

After opening at $1 million, bidding quickly jumped into $500,000 increments and reached $2 million, the Domain report said. Proceedings then paused for negotiations upon hitting the $2.7 million mark, resuming twenty minutes later. The Richard Gailey designed home was ultimately sold to a prominent Queensland pastoralist.

Since it was built in the 1930s, only three families had owned Highgate and is only now sold after being held for the past 30 years by its current owner.