Conservation Project


In October 2019, the Queensland Government announced funding to conserve and protect Newstead House. This project was due to start mid-2020, however, as with many projects throughout Queensland, the COVID-19 event has presented significant challenges, and the conservation project has been unavoidably postponed.

The Newstead House Board will provide ongoing updates over the coming months, and anticipates detailed design work for the project to start shortly. 

In the meantime, the Newstead House Board and staff are preparing to re-open Newstead House for events and tours. 

As always, safety of staff, volunteers and visitors is a priority, and Newstead House staff are working hard to ensure all the necessary steps are put in place for the upcoming re-opening to make sure everybody who visits Newstead House remains safe.

Newstead House, with its collection of nearly 3000 items, is in the grounds of the Brisbane City Council’s Newstead Park. The house and its collection is owned and managed by the Newstead House Board of Trustees under the Newstead House Trust Act 1939.

The board also owns the historic former electricity substation, located in the grounds of Newstead Park, known as Substation No. 5, and built in the 1920s to help power the city’s tramway system.

A final scope of conservation works will be is to be completed in early 2021.


What is the Newstead House Conservation project?

On 12 October 2019, the Queensland Government announced a restoration and conservation project for Newstead House, in Newstead Park, Newstead, Brisbane.

A part of this conservation project is conservation of the historic former electricity substation, located in the grounds of Newstead Park, known as Substation No. 5.

However, the delivery of this project has been impacted by COVID-19.

Why was the project delayed?

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected many industries and important projects, including the Newstead House refurbishment.  We are working hard to update the scope of works and timeline for this important project and aim to have more information early 2021.

Why is it important to conserve Newstead House?

Built as a privately owned cottage in 1846, Newstead House is Brisbane’s earliest surviving European residence. Along with the substation and Newstead Park, Newstead House was entered into the Queensland Heritage Register in October 1992.

It’s a house museum that has been loved by generations of Queenslanders. 

But after 173 years, the house is starting to show the natural wear and tear that can occur when many thousands of people visit the building each year.

It’s important we protect our heritage and maintain buildings like Newstead House for all to enjoy.

Will Newstead House be brought back to its original condition?

The conservation project aims to undertake works to protect and present Newstead House as it was a residence in the late 1800s.

The project team is working to conserve the house to “as original” as possible to the 1800s feel, however modern building codes will need to be complied with. 

What is the Newstead House collection and what will come of it?

The Newstead House collection is an assortment of some 3000 historical items, collected over many years from a range of sources and displayed within the home as museum pieces.

Conservation of the collection forms part of the conservation project and the interpretation of Newstead House as a late 1880s residence.

What is the substation and why is it being preserved?

The historic former electricity Substation No. 5, was built in the 1920s to help power the city’s tramway system. It is one of a number of such substations that powered the trams around Brisbane.  While the substation’s rationale, design and use does not intrinsically link with Newstead House, it has been part of the home’s overall environment for close to 100 years.  It’s important that the heritage-listed substation is conserved for all to appreciate and enjoy.

Who is responsible for the Newstead House Conservation Project?

The Newstead House Conservation Project is being funded by the Queensland Government and managed by the Department of Environment and Science on behalf of the Newstead House Board of Trustees. 

What is the Brisbane City Council’s role in the Newstead House Conservation Project?

The Brisbane City Council will work with the State Government to support the project and minimise any impacts the project may have on Newstead Park.

Will Newstead House be closed for the duration?

While Newstead House has been closed, anticipating the start of the refurbishment, we now face a delay due to the COVID-19 event.

During this time, we are looking to re-open Newstead House to the public and for events, however certain constraints may apply, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

We hope to have more information about our re-opening plans in the near future.

Will any of the memorials in Newstead Park be impacted by the Newstead House Conservation Project?

No, memorials will not be impacted by the Newstead House Conservation Project, when the project recommences.  The construction plans take into account and minimise the risk to any culturally significant element of the park or house. All ceremonial use of the memorials will continue during the construction. People with mobility issues or heavier items may require additional support to access the park during construction due to the closure of the road access into the park. We apologise for any inconvenience this may create.

Can memorial services be conducted in the park during the Newstead House Conservation Project?

When it recommences, the refurbishment project will still be able to accommodate bookable spaces for events such as memorial services, although a few temporary disruptions may occur during particular construction activities. More information on these times will be given once the refurbishment project recommences. 

Will any of the heritage elements of the park be impacted by the Newstead House Conservation Project?

The conservation works will take into account, and minimise the risk, to any culturally significant elements of the Park or House.

Where can people go for further information?

The Newstead House team will provide updates on its progress online and through targeted stakeholder engagement.

For further information on the Newstead House conservation project contact: 07 3216 1846. 

For information about Newstead Park should be directed to 07 3403 8888.