ON a quiet corner not far from busy Lutwyche Road, is a little house – and I mean little – which sits on what is said to be the smallest block of land in Brisbane.
At a mere 73.3sq m (2.9 perches), it is smaller than an inner city apartment and yet still manages to hold a three-bedroom house (obviously not big bedrooms) with parking under, a big flowering azalea and a large tree in the pocket handkerchief backyard.
The house was built around 1898 and would have to be up there with Brisbane’s smallest, although there is a little worker’s cottage on 224 sq m in Small St, New Farm which would go close.
A minimum lot size of about 405 sq m (16 perches) was legislated in 1885, although there are still some small lots in Petrie Tce and Spring Hill pre-dating this. Nevertheless, the smallest of these are 180sq m to 200 sq m and it would appear that the Windsor block became even smaller to allow road widening.
Research by the Windsor and Districts Historical Society says that the house was originally single-room width with verandahs back and front.
There’s a sign opposite which explains that the Windsor to Enoggera Railway Line opened on February 5, 1899. The contract was awarded to Vallely and Bowser who were given 11 months to complete 5.8 km of single track by October 1898, at a cost of £19,000.
Mr Cleary, a railway worker, became the owner in 1898, the year the railway came through. The house is virtually opposite Windsor station and an old level crossing that closed in 1936, after a number of fatal accidents.
In 1911, the house was owned by Miss Eileen Ellen Connors, who lived there until her death in advanced old age.
Next came Tom O’Brien, a soldier in the engineers in World War II, who spotted the house as he passed by in a train to Enoggera Army Camp. He decided he wanted it if it ever came up for sale and in 1956, bought it for £500.
He then set about connecting water and electricity and moved the old outside toilet upstairs. One can only wonder where the thunderbox had fitted in the back yard.
Mr O’Brien also moved the kitchen upstairs and at some point, the sleepout was enclosed.