5 Interesting Facts About Bishopsbourne in Hamilton


Hamilton is home to many heritage places. Among them is Bishopsbourne, also known as Edlernell and Farsley. Set on top of a hill with views to the city, this four-bedroom mansion is unique not just for its one-of-a-kind aesthetic but for its stories to tell. Here are five interesting facts about this heritage place.

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It’s one of the remaining examples of mid-Victorian stone dwellings.

Back of Eldernell, residence in Hamilton, undated (Photo credit:  John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Bishopsbourne, located at 39 Eldernell Terrace in Hamilton, is a type of dwelling that is now considered unusual in Brisbane. Featuring a rustic-gothic style which was common during the 19th century, Bishopsbourne has a steep pitched gable roof and tall, medieval chimneys evoking a church-like appearance.  

The building is now 152 years old. 

‘Part of a panorama of the house and garden of Eldernell, Hamilton, Brisbane’, undated, (Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Bishopsbourne has been standing since 1869, making it one of Brisbane’s oldest homes. Did you know that it was originally built for Sir William Hemmant, a draper and politician? He was a British-Australian politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland from 1871 to 1876.

It was home to five Archbishops.

The Right Reverend Philip Strong, army chaplain, Bishop of New Guinea and later Archbishop of Brisbane (Photo credit: https://anglicanfocus.org.au

It was purchased by the Anglican Church in 1964 and has been the residence of many archbishops. The first archbishop to occupy the residence was Philip Nigel Warrington Strong, who was the fifth Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane from 1962 to 1970. He was followed by Felix Raymond Arnott, who served as archbishop from 1970 to 1980.

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Others who live in the mansion were John Basil Rowland Grindrod (1980-1989), Peter John Hollingworth (1989-2002), and lastly Dr Phillip John Aspinall, who was in office since 2002. Dr Aspinall moved to a smaller mansion in Ascot in 2007, which was also renamed Bishopsbourne.

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The old name came from a settlement in Cambridgeshire. 

Sir William Hemmant (Photo credit: https://trove.nla.gov.au

Both Hemmant and his wife Lucy originated from Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire, England near which the town of “Eldernell” is located. It is likely that Hemmant named the property in Hamilton ‘Eldernell’ in memory of the original English location. The house was renamed Bishopsbourne in 1964 when it became the new home of Archbishop Strong.

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It’s a reminder of the elite status the suburb of Hamilton once held.

Hamilton, Brisbane (Photo credit: CC-BY-SA-4.0/kgbo/Wikimedia Commons)

Hamilton remains as one of the most expensive suburbs in Brisbane at present. However, there was a time when it achieved an elite status and properties like the Bishopsbourne are the demonstration.

Hemmant assigned James Cowlishaw to be the architect of the mansion.  Cowlishaw was not just a prominent architect during his time, but also a businessman and politician in Queensland.  

In 2007, the Anglican Church sold Bishopsbourne for $11.2 million, making it one of the most astounding sales around the area at the time. The 5,597-sqm property features a central hallway that leads to the rooms, two fireplaces, and two bathrooms. The mansion was sold just a month after it was listed for sale.