Clancholla on the market for the first time in history

by AF

Clancholla, Rockhampton

*Update: The house did not sell at auction, but was reported to be under contract in December 2012 and has since sold.

‘Clancholla’ is a Federation-era residence built in the Queen Anne style. It was constructed in 1922 by fighter pilot and grazier Stuart Roland MacDonald. The MacDonald’s lived next door in a large mansion that is now the offices for the mater Hospital, and were also graziers at Highland Plains in Clermont. Mrs. MacDonald wanted a smaller, more suitable home, so plans were drawn up for Clancholla.

The 4-bedroom home was put up for sale by the MacDonald family earlier this month with an auction scheduled for Saturday, October 6th.

Stuart MacDonald’s father, Peter Fitzallan MacDonald was a pioneer pastoralist and explorer who arrived in the area at the time of the Canoona rush in the late 1850s. He resided at a property called Morningside also on the Range, which was then called the Athelstane Range. Unfortunately I cannot find any recent information on this property.

I have also been unable to find any information on the large mansion that the MacDonald’s resided in before they built Clancholla. The only mansion-now-office within the Mater Hospital grounds is Kenmore, but records indicate it was built and occupied by the Ferguson family before being acquired by the Sisters of Mercy in 1915.

The MacDonald’s built Clancholla on a 8,600sqm block that now adjoins the Mater Hospital. The single storey timber home with terra-cotta tiled roof was described by the Queensland Heritage Council Chair Professor John Brannock as “one of the city’s most prominent buildings and exemplifies a sophisticated refinement to Queensland’s timber housing tradition. Internally, ‘Clancholla’ is highly intact with stained timber interiors, decorative moldings, stained glass and leadlight windows, and a marble fireplace.”

Although the gardens are now overgrown, they were once a significant aesthetic feature of the property. An article titled “Rockhampton’s Attractive Gardens No. 13” in the Evening News on March 16, 1939 described the gardens as being ‘planted for permanency’. The layout of the garden was formal, with round or square beds. Plantings included pines, figs, jacarandas, palms, mango trees, custard apples and perennial varieties of flowers.

Some of the notable guests of Clancholla have included:

  • Major General Horace Fuller, who took up his quarters in the house during the war years. Other high ranking officers also occupied several Range homes.
  • Tennis player Rod Laver who played a match on the tennis court.
  • Princess Alexandra, who stayed in the home when she visited Queensland in 1959. She was given the master bedroom which had its own ensuite and walk-in wardrobe. For privacy, butterflies pressed between sheets of transparent paper were placed on the bedroom windows.

The interior of the home is in almost original condition and would be perfect for someone looking to restore it. The living room retains its marble fireplace and the original french doors with stained glass.

The house is included in the Queensland Heritage Register and was listed on the former Register of the National Estate. Click here to read about the terms and conditions when owning a state heritage property in Queensland.


It is difficult to put a value on a property like this, which could be a reason why they are planning to hold an auction. They will, however, be facing a tough market as there have been no residential sales over $1 million on the south side of Rockhampton in the past 18 months, and only 2 in 2010.

The only comparable sale in recent years was another grand home called “Yungaba” further up Ward street which sold in 2009 for $1.2 million. While the blocks of land are similar in size, Yungaba was a much grander home.

*Update: The house has since sold.


25 Ward Street, The Range, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Listing information and current photos from

“Grand residence comes with history” The Morning Bulletin, 18 August, 2012.
“Entries maintain links with diverse history” News from the EPA and QPWS, Issue 18, February 2003.