Looking for a dog friendly day trip that is rich in history, grandeur and a touch goosebumps creepiness? Then jump in the car and head two hours south-west of Brisbane and you will come across Glengallan.
Glengallan is a rural township located in the Southern Downs Region, near Warwick, Queensland. With a population of just 57 residents recorded on the 2021 Census it has a few heritage-listed sites but none arguably more fascinating than Glengallan Homestead, a two-storeyed sandstone mansion located on the New England Highway
Built in 1867-68 by John Deuchar and it is thought he had been planning the house for some time with business partner Charles Henry Marshall, they established the famous Glengallan Merino flock and Shorthorn stud.
The homestead has an extensive history with it changing hands several times from 1836 until it became vacant in 1949. Hauntingly, uninhabited for half of its lifetime it was left open to the elements, used as shelter by goats and birds, while many of the fittings were stolen by loiters.
The sandstone mansion was finally listed in 1992 on the Queensland Heritage register and then in 1993 gifted to non-profit, Glengallan Homestead Trust. Painstakingly restored, Glengallan Homestead re-emerges from ruin in 2001.
You cannot help but feel like you are going back in time as you drive along the New England Highway, eyes gazing out across fields hoping to catch sight of the grand mansion in the distance, and when you do, you feel drawn to it’s grandeur.
Drive up the gravel road you will see to your right amongst the farming land an out of place fenced off space. Here lies an unmarked pioneer grave site. Now you really feel like you are about to embark on a very historical place. On arrival you will find the heritage centre with its quant café.
The self-guided tour of the homestead and mansion is very well pictured and documented with signage right across the grounds and inside the house. Original photo albums have you turning each page, imagining what it was like in rural Australia in the 1800’s. How they went from squattocracy to farmer settlement.
The ground level of the house you can almost sense the spirit of past owners, guests and staff living and working on the farm.
In the drawing room is a glass display case, a pale blue wedding dress worn by Emily Lee from 1829 on the day of her wedding to Thomas Meakin.
Looking just to the right you will also discover something disturbing, during the 2001 restoration builders repairing floor joists near the fireplace uncovered a mummified cat. It is believed that the cat was entombed during the erection of the building in 1867.
As part of an old East Anglican custom it is believed that the burial of a live cat would protect the house from “witches, warlocks and fire”? As a result of the sandstone porosity the poor cat was protected from decay as the moisture draw from its body, she was to be forever mummified.
I must admit standing over the glass tomb I looked at “Myrtle” (named by the director of Glengallan) I did struggle to hold back tears of sadness as I thought about the terrible fear and pain this poor cat may have endured. Could it be true that this happened to poor Myrtle as a result of some horrible medieval superstition?
Climbing the grand staircase you will find on the upper level a bathroom that contains the original metal bath, I wondered how many people have bathed in it?
The children’s room and toy display were next level creepy and finally the sprawling master bedroom with its original Cheval mirror. I stood briefly and looked at my reflection. How many of Glengallan’s women stood in front of that mirror? I felt an eery sadness in that room.
When you stand out on the veranda and gaze out across the vast property you really do get a feeling of what is may have felt like back then. The grandeur of the home that was once an active and productive farm with its sheep, cattle, horse and buggies, gardens, and orchards and finally the feeling of what sheer isolation would have been like living at Glengallan in the 1867.
Glengallan is a not-for-profit organisation and does not receive any government funding, to ensure the property remains open for future generations they raise their income through their daily trading, tour groups, markets, donations, and special events. The majority is from members of the public paying a small entry free and dining in the café.
If you want to enjoy a beautiful drive in the country and day rich in Aussie history, why not pop in to the Glengallan Homestead & Heritage Centre, take a tour, grab a coffee, and try what they proudly claim to be “The best scones this side of the Great Dividing Range”.
To find out about their upcoming events such as Jazz at the Homestead, Paranormal Investigations “The Ghosts of Glengallan Homestead”, Jumpers & Jazz, Market Days, High Teas, and Car Shows jump onto their Facebook page!
Glengallan Homestead & Heritage Centre we had a fabulous day and promise we will be back again soon, this time we will try the scones!
Address: 18515 New England Highway, Warwick, QLD, Australia
Hours: Monday & Tuesday: CLOSED. Wednesday to Sunday: 10am–4pm
Phone: (07) 4667 3866
Entry: $15 adults, $5 for ages under 14 years, family prices also available*
Accessibility: Accessible facilities – please contact operator for details
Car Parking: On-site availability
Dog Friendly: Please contact operator for details.
The outside courtyard of the café and grounds of the homestead are on-leash dog friendly. Dogs are not permitted inside the café or homestead. Bring a friend/s so you can take turns touring the homestead while someone minds the pooch.
* Entry fees correct at time of posting. Covers entrance to the ground and homestead. There is no time limit of the self-guided tour. However, there is a maximum limit to the number of people inside the house & on veranda’s
Author Bio: Nikki is pack leader at Pressplay Pets, a blog for the modern age pet parent interested in health & care, news, reviews & personal accounts of unconditional love & at times heartfelt pain of pet parenting. She is also proud mum to cute and cheeky Papillons ‘Amber’ and ‘Indy’!
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