Outrage Over Plan To Turn Historical Toowong House Into Childcare Centre

Toowong residents are up in arms against a plan to convert a house listed in Toowong’s heritage register into a childcare centre. Endrim, a 3678 sqm property at 28 Woodstock Road, was built in 1905 for the Brisbane Tramway Company’s general manager, Joseph Badger. The house has six bedrooms, three bathrooms, two airconditioned garage spaces, an inground pool, multiple fireplaces, a 5000-bottle wine cellar, 12-foot ceilings and grand staircases.

The house carries with it a notorious history of sorts, after it was discovered that Mr. Badger had had the tram track extended up to the gates of Endrim. He had a personal tram, called The Palace, that would pick him up in the mornings. The tram made trips to his home every 10 to 15 minutes during daytime and every 20 minutes at night. The evening trips to his house ran more often than some current night rail services to the Toowong area. Mr. Badger’s personal tram was outfitted with a bar, piano, and a lounge room. It is also alleged that Mr. Badger had electricity from the tram system connected to his home in order to avoid paying electricity bills.

The tram tracks, which were discovered about a decade ago, were embedded in 18 inches of concrete below the road, and 80% of the tracks are still intact. Mr. Badger, who started out as the Brisbane Tramways Company’s chief electrical engineer in 1896 and worked his way up to general manager, is credited with the expansion of Brisbane’s tram service. He is also said to be responsible for a general strike that broke out from January 18 to February 5, 1912, and paralyzed Brisbane. Some 20,000 workers and 43 unions went on strike after Mr. Badger banned them from wearing union badges.The strikers were not able to return to work for the Tramways company until after 1923, when Mr. Badger retired.

In 2000 the house was bought by Jim and Glenda Banaghan who, three years later, also bought the neighbouring property a 30 Woodstock Road. Endrim has been called “the most important house in Toowong” because of its role in Toowong history.

Mr. and Mrs. Banaghan, still the current owners, have applied to build a 150-place childcare centre, and intend to partially demolish the house, combine 28 and 30 Woodstock Road, and build three new lots on the eastern end. There are also plans to build a 30-car carpark on the property.

Toowong residents say that altering the house would detract from the home’s beauty, and an extremely important part of Toowong history would be lost if it is converted into a childcare centre. The house’s architecture dates back to the Post-Federation period.

Click here for more information and all the documents surrounding the development application.

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