From forbidden love to convict-built bricks, Hibernia Lodge in Queanbeyan has seen it all

James Coleman 19 November 2021 2
Hibernia Lodge

Hibernia Lodge in Queanbeyan has seen a lot in almost 150 years. Photo: McGrath Canberra.

Exuding timeless charm and a great sense of warmth, ‘Hibernia Lodge’ is a Queanbeyan landmark.

The four-bedroom, two-storey cottage is nestled on a substantial 1,201 square metre parcel of land on 69 Collet Street, by the beating heart of the Queanbeyan CBD and footsteps away from shopping and dining options. The gardens and architecture hark back to a very different era, however.

It was constructed in 1865, making it among the oldest buildings in the small city, and is heritage-listed on account of its age and beauty. It’s now fresh to the market and is expected to fetch more than $2 million.

Mary Kovacevic has lived at the address for more than 33 years and describes it as rich in history.

For instance, the eagle-eyed observer will find the names ‘Edith’ and ‘William’ etched into the glass in one of the French doors. Complete with a crudely drawn love heart, this is the work of a former maid and butler who enjoyed a bit of a fling at some point in the building’s past.

“It’s a wonderful story to think that there was so much love created in this home, whether you’re an employee or the owner of the place,” Mary says.

The bricks themselves were brought from Berrima and Sydney, where they had been hewn by convicts.

“They would make these bricks in gaol, always leaving their own little emblem or initial. We have the ace of spades carved into many of these bricks.”

Mary has operated a business teaching people how to drive trucks out of this house for years, while also cooking bacon and eggs over the original fireplace.

“We’ve got so many memories here, shared with so many people in the local community.”

McGrath Canberra real estate agent Greg Ward was born up the road in the Queanbeyan Hospital, rode past the house for years on skateboards and had his breath taken away when he stepped inside for the first time.

“I’ve been in real estate for more than 20 years – you don’t come across these very often. It’s certainly not your stock-standard property and certainly going to attract attention. We’ve had about a dozen enquiries so far and it’s only been on the market for a few days,” Greg said.

Once you’ve taken in the crisply maintained gardens and charming exterior, it’s through the original French doors into an interior boasting ornate timber and vaulted high ceilings.

There are multiple living spaces offering defined rooms for sitting and family time, all decked out with more intricate trimmings. The formal lounge and dining room are warmed by open fireplaces, along with three of the four bedrooms. A kitchen on the top storey features a walk-in pantry adjoining the meal area and a dedicated servery.

In all this, don’t expect a dim life of candles and lukewarm baths in copper tubs.

The bathroom is fitted with a separate shower and bathtub, while the whole house is fully equipped with all the modern conveniences to make for comfortable everyday living, including three-phase power and four separate power circuits.

There’s the potential for professional business quarters thanks to a large internal workshop and storage area.

Mary says it’s very hard to move out, but wants this home to go to someone who will appreciate the beauty and heritage of the place, “someone with a big heart who can give it a lot of TLC. Hopefully, she’ll be here for a good many more years”.

This home will be auctioned on-site at 9:45 am on Saturday, 11 December.

Dining in style. Photo: McGrath Canberra.

To find out more about 69 Collet Street in Queanbeyan or arrange an inspection, contact Greg Ward on 0413 503 312, and check out all the other hot listings on Zango.


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2 Responses to From forbidden love to convict-built bricks, Hibernia Lodge in Queanbeyan has seen it all
Madeleine Sanfrancesco Madeleine Sanfrancesco 7:24 am 20 Nov 21

This is the house Fiona Sanfrancesco that you saw!

Jessica Cariño-Schmidt Jessica Cariño-Schmidt 11:07 pm 19 Nov 21

Tracey Cariño it’s so strange to finally see inside a house you grew up across from

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