A Real Jewel in the Crown

10 Hectares of Remnant Bushland at Government House

Government House, or Fernberg, was built 150 years ago, one of the first houses in the Paddington area. In the 1860s it was converted into a grand Italianate mansion, by local architect Richard Gailey. Over the years Fernberg has been extended, and outbuildings added, including stables, guard houses, sheds and pavilions...providing a neat little time capsule of architectural styles.

Fernberg’s grounds cover 14 hectares, and many Brisbaneites are familiar with its presence high above Fernberg Road.

Less well known is that two-thirds of the property is preserved remnant bushland.

Like the entire property, the bushland portion sits over a very shallow layer of soil, with rock below. It is steeply sloping, with a number of gullies.

In the 1920s a number of unsealed ‘Woodland Walks’ were constructed through the grounds. The 250 metre long ‘Jubilee Walk’ was constructed during the term of the current Governor.

Several tree families are commonly found, including Ironbarks (Eucalyptus siderophloia), Spotted Gums (Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata), Forest Red Gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis), and Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus).

The Jubilee Walk links a pair of ponds constructed in the 1990s as examples of the ‘bush style’ of Australian gardening. They were intended to reflect an awareness of ecological and environmental issues, and they provide habitat for a variety of native animals.

As the walk takes you closer back to the house more constructed elements appear, including stone retaining walls.

From there it is into the formal gardens, which we will visit in another story soon.

Government House is at 168 Fernberg Road, Paddington. Details of Open House and Garden days are posted on the website, along with more information about the history of Fernberg.