Uncover the History of Dunaverty, One of Albion’s Iconic Houses

Photo credit: Shiftchange/Wikimedia Commons

If you are passing by Birkbeck Street or Hudson Road in Albion, this iconic landmark is quite hard to miss. The heritage-listed Dunaverty is one of the fine examples of a ‘boom era’ 1880s timber residence which features fine personalised detailing.

Dunaverty has been making a picturesque contribution to Albion’s streetscapes for over 130 years now. Apart from its beautiful details, the house also houses a great history as it is highly associated with one of Brisbane’s 1880s immigrant entrepreneurs, Archibald McNish Fraser.

History of Dunaverty

Decorative detailing on Dunaverty. Photo credit: Brisbane City Council

In 1885, builder and real estate entrepreneur Archibald McNish Fraser purchased the Dunaverty site from his father-in-law, John Barclay. After building Dunaverty in 1887, he formally launched his own real estate business called the Onward Real Property Mart.

One of the standout features of the house is the personalised detailing throughout that reflects Fraser’s Scottish background. Scottish motifs decorate Dunaverty’s window and entry brackets, verandah cast iron lacework, and the stair stonework.

Local Resources

Archibald McNish Fraser

Sketch of Fraser Archibald McNish. Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 167284

Fraser arrived in Brisbane from Argyllshire, Scotland in 1880. At the age of 22, he had already completed his building apprenticeship, but with little money. In his humble beginnings, he worked as a building contractor in Brisbane and Cleveland.

Fraser built up his business and by the mid-1880s, he began to move into real estate. He might have built Dunaverty to help showcase his business.

His real estate company was one of the most successful in Brisbane in the 1880s. In 1887, Fraser was described in the newspaper as owning “one of the largest real estate property businesses in the city, and a few more years’ prosperity at the present ratio of increase will probably make him a millionaire” (Queensland Figaro and Punch, 20 August 1887).

Fraser and his family lived in Dunaverty until the economic depression hit in 1893. The family had moved to West End to be nearer to his property developments.

Dunaverty’s Occupants

Dunaverty (2006); Photo credit: Heritage Branch staff/Queensland Heritage Register

After the Fraser family moved out of the residence, it has been occupied by new tenants almost every year.

In 1912, William McGregor bought the property. By then, the house was renamed “Carvarmore”. Dunaverty changed hands several times until the current owners bought it in 1998. Unfortunately, when the house was still vacant in the same year, some of its cedar joinery and ironmongery was stolen.

Dunaverty remains to be a significant landmark in the suburb. In fact, it is one of the stops of the Albion hertigae trail.