Get to Know Katana, a Hamilton Landmark Since the 19th Century

Photo Credit: BCC Heritage Listing

Katana, a Colonial-style timber and tin house on Langside Road in Hamilton, was constructed in 1884 for James Robert Dickson Jr and his wife, Cordelia. It is one of the most historically significant properties on a street that exhibits the residential development of the suburb in the late 19th century.

Oliver Jonker Recently in History Katana

William Weekes and John Cooksley, both land speculators, used to own the land where Katana stood, until Mr Dickson Jr bought a parcel of the allotments when it was offered for development.

During this time, Hamilton was already characterised by large estates and beautiful homes but there were still plenty of lands that were still underdeveloped. 

The vacant lands slowly turned into a precinct with some of the finest estates in Brisbane. Hamilton and its neighbouring suburb, Ascot, were slowly emerging as elite residential sites populated by the city’s prominent, moneyed families.

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Who was James Dickson Jr?

The original owner of Katana, Mr James Dickson Jr, was one of six sons of the Honourable James Robert Dickson, a prominent businessman and politician. 

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The older Dickson, who originally hailed from Glasgow before moving to Queensland in 1862, briefly served as the 13th Queensland Premier. He also had the Toorak House built along Annie Street in Hamilton.

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James Robert Dickson
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

The younger Dickson worked in his father’s auction house on Queens Street and eventually took over the business when his father retired and travelled around Europe from 1888 to 1892. 

It was believed that the Dicksons moved out of Katana around 1905 and sold the property to the next private owners. By the 1920s, the land was further subdivided and reduced but the house has remained intact all these years.

Katana: Truly Special

Aside from being the home of a prominent Queensland family, Katana’s location offers many advantages that last up to today. It has a lovely view of the city and aside from the panoramic view, the home enjoys cooling breezes from the river. The house is also close to the city and its amenities. 

Katana views
Photo Credit: Ray White Listing

The architecture of Katana is historically significant because it is a fine example of the type of construction of homes belonging to the upper-class and moneyed middle class in the Hamilton and Ascot area during the late 19th century, a time when both suburbs started to acquire their elite status.

The tin and timber residence was constructed in the Colonial style. The central feature of the house frontage is the front door and there is an arched frontispiece in the verandah roof right above the main entry.

Photo Credit: Ray White Listing

The house has a symmetrical frontage and a separately roofed verandah encircling the structure.

Corrugated iron makes up both roofs, whilst the exterior walls are timber .

The main roof has a steep pitch and a short ridge. There is a brick chimney in the back. The underside of the gutter of the main roof has a decorative apron and the concave verandah roof is enclosed with a row of casement windows.

Katana indoors
Photo Credit: Ray White Listing

Katana currently has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was sold for $2.2 million in 2008 and then sold again for $2.52 million in 2020, after only 22 days on market.