The Queenslander Tradition

The Queenslander home builder is one unique house builder. They belong to the group of builders (including the new ones) that had imbibed and fully understood the exclusive architectural essence of the Queenslander house. As such, it is recognized as one of a kind in its category in the world.

The Queenslander architecture is a modern term for a type of residential housing that is widespread in Queensland, Australia.This form of the typical Queenslander-style residence distinguishes Brisbane’s suburbs from that of the other capital cities. 

The Queenslander house is considered Australia’s most iconic architectural style. This style of the houses is now also found in the northern parts of the adjacent state of New South Wales, and shares many traits with architecture in other states of Australia, but is distinct and unique.


The Queenslander houses (first built in 1850) is one of Australia’s most distinct regional architectural types and have remained so after all these years.

The style is direct response to the humid, sub-tropical Queensland climate rather than a singular architectural style. Later, the Queenslander homes were tropical iterations of styles that were being built elsewhere. 

These homes, considered Queenslander, have evolved over time to include Victorian, Colonial, Federation, Ashgrovian, Arts and Crafts, Inter-War bungalows, as well as some post World War II examples. 

Evolving style

There are some signature features that are identifiers of a Queenslander house such as local timber construction and corrugated iron roofs. On closer look, these actually were practical initially but not stylistic choices.

Part of the explanation, too, was the rise of sawmills in the mid-1800s. Timber, by that time were easily available and its lightweight quality made it easy to work with. Metal roofs were discovered to be more robust than tile roofs making them more suitable for the humid, subtropical climate.

The evolving prominent features of Queenslander homes, British Colonial-style verandas also allow protection from sun and rain. Likewise, they help with air circulation, and provide an opportunity for indoor/outdoor living. 

Post-war atmosphere

After World War II, Queenslander homes began to fall out of favor as post-war reconstruction demanded cheaper housing construction. Spacious verandas were seen as expendable and not needed.

The interior timber walls were replaced with inexpensive man-made materials. Eventually, the basic brick-clad American-style home styles became popular alternatives. 

Queenslander homes today

Queenslander homes these days stand out against subdivisions of suburban blandness and are seen as a classic old style. According to the Queensland Museum, they are now valued as a key element of Queensland heritage.

On top of the addition to historic renovations, today you can find Queenslander-style reproductions and modern iterations these that may include contemporary additions in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia.  


Queenslander Houses are typically single-story detached houses built on individual plots of land. They are simple, and the easily constructed designs give them a laid-back, cottage-like charm.

Traditionally constructed from local lightweight timber, including timber floors and walls. They feature large, prominent roofs typically made from corrugated metal to weather tropical storms.

The Queenslander home’s signature verandas are located on the front, back, and sides. They typically include open and closed areas and can be modifies to create additional bedrooms or living spaces on original homes.

These houses are typically built high up on stumps that are positioned above ground. The areas beneath the are sometimes used as storage, laundry area, car ports, or sometimes enclosed to provide additional living space.

The houses have prominent central or double “butterfly” staircases and are often painted in shades of white to emphasize the natural surrounding light.

The traditional floor plans include four to six rooms off a central corridor. The decorative features include gables, column brackets, louvers, fretwork fanlights, and porticos. There are also the colonial railings, balustrades, battens and timber screens.

Finally, Queenslander homes are traditionally built on individual plots of land which may include fruit trees, gardens, and picket fences.

Traditional continuation

The true-blue Queenslander home builder would naturally construct the iconic house for new homeowners knowing that they help continue making such homes with local character. It has the traditional charm loved by many with architectural details they all hold sacred.

They are happy to continue the tradition of building Queenslander homes high on stumps making it easy to build on uneven terrain without extensive groundwork excavation. They know that ground shrinkage due to climate does not affect timber Queenslanders as much as brick houses.

What’s more, as the older tradition has it, building high off the ground allows for natural ventilation and prevents against flooding damage and termite infestations while enhancing views.

Notion on elevation

The Queenslander home builder knows that the raising of the main living spaces off the ground can be seen as both a stylistic and practical device. The vertical “stumps”, initially of timber, allow the building to “float” above the terrain. 

Queenslanders’ houses all have this underfloor area that is used to cool the building through ventilation. It is also used as protection of the main structure from termite and other pest attacks. 

On the other hand, the stumps also help to overcome any variations in the terrain that would normally require earthworks to flatten for construction. This also allows for the natural flow of water across the terrain in the event of excessive rain and downpours.

This underfloor space is usually high enough for additional uses such as storage, a carport, or even as extra living area in the cool, dark spaces beneath the building. The underfloor area was sometimes decoratively screened at the perimeter with timber battens. 

One other advantage of being constructed on stumps is that the buildings are highly adaptive. Raising, lowering, reorienting, or completely relocating Queenslanders is easy enough.

Other construction tips

They also know the many handed-down tips on how to make Queenslander houses are built to maximize cross-ventilation, with windows and door frames positioned to promote air flow and maximize natural cooling to promote sustainability. 

The flexible building style of Queenslander construction makes them easy to adapt or even move to a new location making them easy to recycle and adaptively reuse. These days, they are aware that the much-loved style makes them desirable and sellable from a real estate perspective.

Continuing the tradition, they use fire-resistant and long-wearing tin roofs, and create those expansive verandas to allow for indoor/outdoor living all year round.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button