RICH HISTORY IN NERANG HOUSES
Classic Nerang homes hold plenty of secrets from Coast’s early years
THE walls of these old Nerang homes harbour some of the Gold Coast’s earliest secrets.
From the hard days after World War I to the hopeful post-World War II years, the Ceramic and Preece houses are among the city’s most important properties.
Hundreds of people visit the houses each week in their modern capacity as the Nerang Information Centre without realising their historic standing.
Both have been restored to their former glory by the Nerang Community Association, which painstakingly worked to make everything old new again.
The Ceramic House was built in 1919 in the immediate af- termath of World War I and is made entirely of local timbers, including cedar and flooded gum, which were both sourced from the Hinterland by the history timber-getters.
Association president Lynn Odgen said the house’s earli- est days were linked closely to the Great War.
“A few years ago we got some history letters brought to us including one from the Red Cross relating to the man who built Ceramic House who was shot and gassed while serving overseas,” she said. “One letter is from the Red Cross to his family saying he had been killed. However, it turned out this letter had been sent in error – another letter was sent saying he was in fact alive.
“Luckily, the letter saying he was alive arrived the day before the Red Cross one.”
The house still features lead-lined colour windows.
The Preece House was built in 1948 and served as a family home for more than 50 years. Its original owners were William and “Granny” Preece and their son Bill who ran a telegraph pole supply business to the Gold Coast and Hinterland from the 1950s through to the 1980s.
Both were gifted to the Nerang Community Association in the early 2000s dur- ing construction of the modern-day M1.
The Nerang community saved the houses and restored them to their glory days.
They were relocated to Bichoff Park where they now sit a short distance from the Maid of Sker, a historic ship dating back to the late 19th century.
Restored to their original condition, the buildings serve the community as an information centre and art gallery.
Their furnishing and
LUCKILY, THE LETTER SAYING HE WAS ALIVE ARRIVED THE DAY BEFORE THE RED CROSS ONE LYNN ODGEN
amenities are all accurate to the period.
“Take a look at the ceiling and you’ll see the patterns on the ceiling, with each having a different one,” Mrs Ogden said. “In one room there is a star pattern which was not put in the right way but when we restored it we made sure to keep it in its imperfect fashion because it’s an interesting feature.
“Neither of these were flash houses by any means but they are excellent examples of residential buildings from that era.
“When we restored them, we went out of our way to make sure everything was put back in within a millimetre of where it originally was, except of course the asbestos.”
The Ceramic and Preece houses are among 38 build- ings featured in this year’s Gold Coast Open House celebration.
The event will be held on November 4 and will allow the public to gain entry to a range of historic and modern locations, including the former Southport Town Hall, Southport Masonic Centre, Queensland Naval Brigade Drill Hall and Stella Marris Catholic Church.
The historic Ceramic and Preece houses in Nerang have been lovingly restored to showcase their heritage features, and will be featured in this year’s Gold Coast Open House day celebrations.