News Corp Australia
Updated 27 Jan 2023, 8:57am
First published 27 Jan 2023, 1:00am
News Corp Australia Network
Top Queensland oral surgeon Frank Monsour will take his family home to auction on Sunday.
Owned by only a few families in its 134-year history, ‘Kirkston’ at 23 Rupert St, Windsor, is a striking example of Queensland architecture and was originally built in circa-1889 for Brisbane solicitor John Henry Flower.
The Victorian-era mansion is perched atop a half-acre hilltop estate and offers commanding 360-degree views from Brisbane’s north, including vistas of the city.
Its iconic architecture is credited to Brisbane architect George Henry Male Addison and includes two storeys of sweeping verandas, intricate woodwork and steep gables that have been painstakingly restored by current owner Frank Monsour.
Dr Monsour and his late wife Elizabeth purchased the property more than three decades ago after falling in love with the home’s English-style architecture long before it became their family home.
Their daughter, Lisa, grew up here and went on to marry Campbell Newman, who was elected Lord Mayor of Brisbane in 2004 and then premier of Queensland from 2012 to 2015.
“I remember travelling over the Albion overpass and gazing up at this spectacular house on the hill,” Dr Monsour recalled.
“As a student I’d even attended a party there and was enamoured with its ornate architecture.”
An ideal home for their six children, the Monsours bought the property in 1987 and set about slowly bringing what was a tired and worn mansion back to life.
“It wasn’t in a sound state, so we began the complex task of renovation, starting with the verandas,” Dr Monsour said. “We set about resurrecting it, while mindful of the property’s history.”
That history has seen the home owned by only a handful of families in its time, but Dr Monsour also explained Kirkston played a significant role in WWII.
In the early 1940s, the property housed an allied military intelligence unit, with a number of huts reportedly erected within the estate’s grounds.
As for being a custodian of one of Brisbane’s key pieces of early architecture, Dr Monsour said it was a role he was proud to embrace.
Over the years, the labour of love included reconstructing the original timberwork, replacing parts of the slate roof, and highlighting the home’s historical elements.
“Its restoration paralleled the development of our family,” Dr Monsour said.
Reflecting on the finished project, he said an ornate stained-glass skylight above the staircase is a highlight of the home.
And the property’s 12 fireplaces are also among his favourite features, along with the recurring theme of the hibiscus flower which the original owners designated as the property’s emblem.
“All the fireplaces have different mantles and timberwork, and many feature the hibiscus,” Dr Monsour said. “There’s the most magnificent fireplace in the dining room of ornate mahogany and again it boasts that emblem.”
Over the years, the Monsours complemented the restoration with key renovations and additions.
The former maids’ quarters was converted to a stainless-steel chef’s kitchen, study, and billiards room, while a swimming pool was also added.
The family also later constructed a separate bungalow offering an additional two bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with a kitchen and dining area.
While Kirkston might be key to Brisbane’s history, for Dr Monsour it has served as a true family home, providing a lifetime of memories for his children.
“It was designed to be owned and used by a family, and it has served us accordingly.”
Events such as weddings have been hosted at the home while Christmas has always been particularly special.
“My late wife made Christmas into a season,” Dr Monsour said. “You really live celebrations in a house like this.”
Features: A 134-year-old Hendra brick two-storey home with a separate two-bedroom bungalow on 1824sq m. There is a heated pool, limestone formed fire pit, bank-style strong room, Italianate-style double archways, and an eat-in chef’s kitchen.
Auction: January 29 at noon
Agent: Jason Adcock, Adcock Prestige Queensland
Contact: 0418 727 788
Story Credit: news.com.au