Clas­sic Nerang homes hold plenty of se­crets from Coast’s early years

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW POTTS an­

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


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.

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