Ipswich's finest open today

9th September 2017 5:00 AM
HISTORY: Parkside, 70 Thorn St is one of three homes open to the public today for Great Houses of Ipswich. HISTORY: Parkside, 70 Thorn St is one of three homes open to the public today for Great Houses of Ipswich. Rob Williams

THREE of Ipswich's most historic homes will be open to the public today.

As part of a special event organised by the National Trust and Ipswich City Council Great Houses of Ipswich, the owners of these homes will open their front doors and allow the public inside.

The owners of Parkside, Agnes Maskalans and Rodger Smallwood, consider it an honour to have been included in the event.

They moved into Parkside, on Thorn St, 20 years ago and, room by room, have slowly renovated, leaving their mark but always prioritising heritage features.

"It's about preserving history," Rodger said.

"This house isn't just ours, it belongs to the whole community and to be asked to open it up for the Great Houses of Ipswich is a pleasure and an honour that we're looking forward to."

Parkside's story begins in 1881 when the lot was bought by bridge building contractor Thomas Green. He built three bridges at Grandchester, the Auckland Point Jetty at Gladstone and the early wharves at Cooktown.

Three times before 1901 Thomas Green mortgaged the corner allotment before his death in 1905.

In 1907, William and Florence Johnston bought the property. During the First World War, the house was advertised for sale for £600 and described as having eight rooms and land for a garden, with a "bit over for the chicks and Neddy". Post-war, it became home to three families.

Agnes and Rodger have made some structural changes, including having a wall specially milled to match the original beaded boards.

"They don't make homes like this anymore," Agnes said.

Great Houses of Ipswich will be 10am-4pm today. National Trust members, students and children enter free, or $5 a person,each property.