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Newstead House A Guide to Brisbane’s Oldest Residence

Newstead House: A Guide to Brisbane’s Oldest Residence

Please Note: As of writing, the Newstead House is temporarily closed to make way for renovations and refurbishments. You can still check out our guide for other great things to do nearby. 

Ever wondered what it’s like to step inside the oldest surviving home in Brisbane? Built in 1846, the Newstead House is a living museum that stood witness to the city’s change and progress through the centuries. 

More than a lavish residence, this beautiful piece of Brisbane’s history is surely a must-visit! Our ultimate guide to Newstead House gives you all the things you need to know before your visit! 


Newstead House is located on the northern bank of the Brisbane River at Newstead Park corner Breakfast Creek Road and Newstead Ave, QLD 4006. 

The home is perched on a hill within Newstead Park overlooking the Brisbane River. 

How to Get to Newstead House

The easiest way to get to the Newstead House is via bus as there are several bus stops nearby. You can take the 300, 306, or 60 buses and get off at Breakfast Creek Road Stop 12 or at Riverpark Stop which are both a 5-minute walk from the Newstead House. 

You can take the ferry as well and hop off at Teneriffe Ferry Terminal. The walk would be around 15 minutes from the terminal. 

When taking the train, you can get off at Bowen Hills Station and walk 8 minutes from there. 

You can plan your journey through the Translink website

Opening Hours and Admission

The Newstead House is open to the public every Friday, 10am – 4pm, Saturday, 10am – 2pm, and Sunday, 10am – 4pm. 

Take note that there’s an entrance fee of $12 for adults, $9 for concession charges, while entrance is free for kids who are accompanied by a paying adult. 

You can book your tickets online or onsite. For group bookings, we recommend booking online to secure your slots. 



The name of the Newstead House was said to have originated from Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England. It was formerly an Augustinian priory and became the family home of the Byrons. 

The Newstead House in Brisbane was originally built for a Scottish settler, Patrick Leslie. It was designed and built in 1846 by fellow Scottish, Andrew Petrie, Brisbane’s first architect and builder. 

The house was soon bought by Captain John Wickham, then was leased to Attorney-General Ratcliffe Pring. 

Later on, the house served as the home of a merchant and Queensland Legislative Council Member, George Harris and his wife for 27 years. 

During that time, the residence was renowned for hosting lavish gatherings and held a prominent status as the center of Brisbane’s social scene. The property changed ownership multiple times, witnessing the growth and development of Brisbane.

During World War II, Newstead House played a role in the war effort, serving as a base for the United States Navy. The house accommodated American servicemen and played a part in the defense strategy for the Pacific.

In 1918, the property was acquired by the Brisbane City Council and became the residence of the council parks superintendent. 

The Queensland Parliament created a Trust in 1939 and the ownership of the property was transferred to the Newstead House Trust. That same year, it opened its doors to the public as a museum. 

Since then, Newstead House has been meticulously preserved and restored to showcase its historical significance. Visitors can explore its well-preserved rooms, gardens, and artifacts, gaining insight into the early colonial history of Brisbane.

Today, Newstead House stands as Queensland’s oldest surviving residence and a living testament to the cultural and architectural heritage of the region. 



The Newstead House is one of the most prominent homes in the history of Queensland, from its premiere location to its stunning architecture. The historic home sits on top of a hill overlooking the Brisbane River. 

It was originally built in the Colonial Georgian cottage style and underwent several structural changes over the years. Today, the house is painted and adorned in the late Victorian motif. 

It also has a whole basement level underground which was dug up and constructed for service areas such as a kitchen, laundry, cellar, as well as servants’ quarters. 

On the main level’s eastern side, you can find the dining room, drawing room, master bedroom, library, and drawing room. While on the western side, there’s the breakfast room, sewing room, vestibule, girl’s bedroom, and gentleman’s dressing room. 

Notably, the house has no hallways and rooms can be accessed through adjoining rooms or from the veranda. 

Things to Do at Newstead House

Take a Self-guided Tour

Visitors are encouraged to explore the home on their own and at their own pace. If you need any assistance, museum staff are just around the area to help. 

Just make sure to follow museum etiquette such as: no touching of the collections and fabric, no smoking, no food and drinks, no flash photography, etc. 

Join a Guided Tour

Joining a guided tour is a great way to learn more about the history of Newstead House and Brisbane. They offer tours at 11:30am during open days where you can learn about the history of the people who inhabited the home, their collections, and more.

The guided tours are already included in the entrance fee. If you have any special requests, we recommend calling them ahead of your visit at 07 3216 1846, so they can accommodate any of the visitor’s needs. 

Catch Events and Performances

Apart from its regular open days, the Newstead House also holds different cultural events, exhibits, special tours, and performances.

They hold events for kids as well, such as the Young Historians Festival, which is a whole day event featuring heritage games, crafts, music, food trucks, and more! 

For schools, they can also accommodate bespoke programs that can suit the learning requirements of students. 

In addition, the Newstead House is open for reservations for private events such as cocktail parties, weddings, and photoshoots. 

You can check out their latest events here or visit their Facebook page for updates. 

Things to Do Nearby

There are lots of other interesting places in Newstead which are just a quick walk or drive from the house. After your short history lesson, you can visit other iconic destinations, as well as do fun activities with family and friends. 


Location: 2 Kingsford Smith Dr, Albion QLD 4010

The Breakfast Creek Hotel is just a quick stroll from Newstead House and is one of the most well-loved watering holes in Queensland. 

It’s another heritage-listed landmark that was built in 1889 in the French Renaissance style that was a popular architectural theme during that era. 

Within the hotel, there are restaurants, a cafe, and bars. This includes the Spanish Garden, Beer Garden, Creek Cafe, Substation No. 41, Staghorn Bar, Private Bar, Public Bar, and Beer Off the Wood. 

There are lots of dining options inside this iconic hotel, so it’s a great spot to visit after touring the Newstead House. 

Location: Newstead QLD 4006

The Newstead House is nestled within the grounds of Newstead Park which is a great place to take a scenic and relaxing walk. There’s a pathway going to the river from the house, and the park has several benches where you can rest while taking in the views.

You can also bring out your picnic blanket and spend an afternoon reading a book, enjoying a snack, or just admiring the beautiful surroundings. 


Location: 126 Breakfast Creek Rd, Newstead QLD 4006 

Looking for a fun activity to do with family and friends? You can go bowling at The Boo! It’s not your regular bowling alley, as you play outdoors on a lawn, barefoot! 

What’s more, it’s a historic place, as it’s Queensland’s oldest bowls club which was established in 1888 and was originally called the Booroodabin Bowls Club. Booroodabin is an aboriginal word that means, “place of the she-oaks.”

Apart from a fun outdoor game, you can enjoy food and drinks from lunch to dinner. Pets are welcome at The Boo, too! 


Location: 85 Commercial Rd, Teneriffe QLD 4005

After exploring the historic Newstead House, you might be in the mood for some antique therapy! You can head to New Farm Antique Center, which is just a short drive or a 20-minute walk from Newstead House. 

You can search for vintage treasures, from books, clothes, and trinkets to homeware, furniture, and jewelry. 

You’ll find one of Brisbane’s most eclectic collection of antiques, so it’s definitely a must-visit for vintage enthusiasts! 

Tips to Enjoy Your Visit

  • Remember to follow museum policies when visiting Newstead House. 
  • If you’re coming as a group, it’s best to book your tickets online to secure your slot for the day. 
  • Take note that food and drinks aren’t allowed inside. 
  • Travel light. It’s best to only bring a small bag that contains your essentials. Large bags, helmets, and other bulky items will need to be checked-in at the entrance. 
  • Check their Facebook page or website for opening hours as there might be changes in schedule. 

About the Newstead House Conservation Project

The Queensland Government announced a funding of $5.5 million for a major conservation plan for the Newstead House and a former electrical substation. Both structures are located within the grounds of the Newstead Park. 

In October 1992, the Newstead House, along with the Substation and park were officially listed in the Queensland Heritage Register. 

Generations of Queenslanders cherish the Newstead House as a living museum. After 175 years of opening it to the public, the building has shown signs of the inevitable natural wear and tear that resulted from the influx of visitors each year. 

For the Queensland Government, preserving Brisbane’s heritage is paramount for both locals and visitors to enjoy. 

Parts of the project include replacing the roof tiles with Welsh slate, improvement of the basement’s ventilation, structural repairs, and exterior and interior finishes. 

Meanwhile, The Substation, which was built in the 1920’s, used to power the city’s tramway system. 

Even though the Substation isn’t intrinsically connected to the Newstead House, it has stood within the grounds of Newstead Park for almost 100 years. Thus, it’s also an important part of the overall heritage landscape of Newstead Park. 

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