Stonehouse Delights Over 800 Visitors at Open Day

By The Queenslander staff

Following the resounding success of the recent Open Day Weekend at the old Stonehouse in Moore, South-east Queensland, it’s evident that the charm and historical significance of this heritage-listed site continue to captivate hearts. Drawing over 800 visitors from all over the region, the Stonehouse Open Day proved to be a memorable experience for history enthusiasts, locals, and tourists alike.

As highlighted in our previous article, the Stonehouse, built by Brothers Robert and Charles Williams, stands as a unique collection of rough-hewn stone buildings, named after Robert’s hometown in Stonehouse Gloucester, England. Its history dates back to 1874 when Robert Williams acquired a selection of land in the Upper Brisbane River Valley, predating the establishment of the nearby Village of Moore. The restoration efforts by current owners John and Loretta Eastwood, supported by the Friends of Stonehouse – History Restoration and Conservation Inc., have preserved the historical charm of this iconic landmark, setting the stage for the much-anticipated Open Day Weekend.

True to its reputation, Stonehouse welcomed visitors with open arms during the event. Upon arrival, guests were met with an enchanting ambience that can only be fully appreciated in person.

One of the highlights of the day was the captivating display of magnificent draught horses, pulling a delightful pie cart and sleigh around the complex. The sight of these majestic creatures added a touch of grandeur and nostalgia, transporting visitors back in time to a bygone era.

Entertainment was in no short supply, as talented performers took the stage to showcase their skills. The Sempf Girls left the crowd in awe with their mesmerizing talents, and equally impressive was Tony Foran’s performance. The brilliant Bush Poets kept the audience entertained with their humorous and moving verses, celebrating Australian culture and heritage.

The event also featured enlightening talks and presentations. Elizabeth DeLacy provided insights into her latest book, which shed light on the life of Frank Williams, the nephew of Stonehouse’s very own Bob Williams, Barry Green’s interview with “Noeleen Bird” from the Roy Emerson Museum and Blackbutt Tourism & Heritage all added a personal touch, connecting the Williams family’s legacy with the broader historical context.

The market stalls showcased a diverse array of talent and creativity. Woodworkers from various locations across South-east Queensland, including the skilled artisans from the Yarraman Men’s Shed, displayed their craftsmanship. Photography, quilts, and clothing markets offered unique treasures, providing visitors with an opportunity to take a piece of the Stonehouse magic home with them.

The presence of community organizations such as Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails Inc. and Friends of Stonehouse, History, Restoration & Conservation Inc., further emphasised the significance of preserving history and heritage. Owners John and Loretta Eastwood shared their journey and passion for maintaining the iconic landmark with a dedicated stall.

As the sun set on the successful Open Day Weekend, attendees departed with cherished memories and a profound connection to the history of Stonehouse. Looking ahead, the anticipation builds for the Sesquicentenary celebration of Stonehouse in 2024. Marking the 27th and 28th of July in the 2024 calendar is a must for all those eager to honour the enduring legacy of the old Stonehouse at Moore.