“WOOLSTONE HOUSE” 24 Gilmour Street, Kelso
Guided House Tour
Entrance Driveway and Spearpoint Fencing
A low rendered brick fence with piers and capitals has been constructed along the front boundary. Spearpoint fence panels have been positioned between the piers. A double spearpoint automatic gate with 2 side pedestrian gates have been recessed in the centre of the property. “Woolstone” features prominently in steel letters on the gate.
The front of the property has been re-contoured to the original level and a central gravel driveway with an avenue of trees on either side . The drive terminates in a 12-meter turning circle enclosing a 4m tall white solid-marble fountain. The black- tiled set-down area leads down a few broad steps to a black-tiled cross-shaped promenade leading to the front door.
The far view of the front facade of “Woolstone” from Gilmour Street attracts the eye to the 16 meter tall central tower and 27 meter-wide verandahs with their extensive wrought iron lacework. The image is one of a grand house.
The near view reveals the matching bay fronts, shutters on the windows and French doors, and ornate window surrounds. The detail of the ironwork comes into focus featuring tapered and fluted cast iron columns, symmetrical slanting scroll design frieze, and a lyrebird design balustrade on the first floor balcony. The same balustrade surrounds the widow’s walk on the roof, and the tower above is topped with a flagpole.
The front vestibule presents with a tessellated tile verandah floor featuring a central medallion design. Two rendered columns flanking the doorway incorporate statue niches, lantern lights, and a massive bell button. The door is of generous proportions with etched glass panels and sidelights. The fanlight above has “Woolstone” etched into the design.
On entering the vestibule the eye is attracted down the length of the wide hallway to the colored-glass multi-paned rear window. The side panes are red and blue veneered glass with a vine design etched through to the clear layer. Looking upwards one sees the ornate cornice and archway. Looking back at the front door, the massive slide-barrel lock comes into focus. The iron key is 150cm long. The door itself is polished Australian cedar as are the wide architraves. The skirting is fully 400mm deep with intricate shaping.
Turning left brings one into the ballroom 9.4m long by 5.7m deep. The most striking features of the room are its large dimensions and 4.5m ceilings. The 2.5m wide bay front extends the room a further 1.5m and adds interest to the room shape. The floor is of polished kauri pine boards 130mm wide. An ornate white and pink pillared fireplace dominates the inside wall. The lower meter of the walls are decorated with an original Egyptian motif stencil. The ceiling is dominated by a large chandelier under an ornate ceiling rose. The ornate cornice has the design detailed in multi color. The central window bay still features a stencil-patterned ceiling.
At the far end of the ballroom French doors lead into a conservatory of 5-sided bayfront design. This is on the shaded side of the house which affords a cool summer relaxation area. It overlooks the fountain and ponds in the courtyard through windows on 4 sides and a glass door on the west side leading onto the verandah. The ceiling is of exposed beams and tongued timber. The floor is black tessellated tiles with terracotta border..
From the entrance hallway one turns right a formal dining room of identical dimensions to the ballroom and similar features. The pillared fireplace is of black and white marble with an 18th century hob grate.
Moving down the central hallway to the right brings you into the scullery 4.1m wide by 5.5m deep. The look is more utilitarian. The original maid’s bell terminus sits on the inside wall. A doorway to the left leads into the new kitchen.
At the end of the scullery a doorway leads into the bathroom 4.1m wide by 3.6m deep. A large fireplace alcove with chimney above is centered on the far wall. A claw-foot bath has been fitted into the alcove.
Backtracking to the central hallway, to the left are two archways that lead into the stairwell area 4.1 wide by 4.6 deep. To the right is a door leading onto the rear verandah. On the far wall a door leads to the 4.1m wide by 4.5m deep study. A fireplace sits on the inside wall of the study. Back in the stairwell, a magnificent polished cedar staircase with acorn-shaped newel post and turned balustrade rises to a landing the turns right to another landing. The stairway wall has a stencil border print incorporating the Woolstone “W”. A window with red and blue etched panes sheds soft light into the staircase. The stairs continue along the rear wall to the first floor.
First Floor Bedrooms
One turns right from the stairs into a balustraded landing at the level of the main brass chandelier.. You are now facing the front of the house. Leading right from the stairwell is a door to a rear bedroom 4.1m wide by 4.6m long with fireplace. The hall doorway next to it brings on into the master bedroom with bay front and fireplace. French doors lead onto the front balcony. The room is 5.5m wide and 5.5m long. The 4m ceiling height of all the first floor rooms now becomes evident.
Next to the master bedroom is a smaller bedroom 3.3m wide by 5.5m deep. It too has French doors leading to the balcony.
From the stairwell area a transverse hallway flows from right to left through an archway. Directly beyond the archway is a central hallway with identical imposing entrances onto the front and back balconies. The front section of this hallway has been enclosed and made into a sitting room 2.5m wide by 5.5m deep.
To the left in the transverse hallway are a his and a hers bathroom each with shower, basin and toilet. These two bathrooms are modern renovations of the original bathroom, and are appointed with tiles in keeping with the Victorian style.
To the right in the transverse hallway is the mistress bedroom of identical proportions to the master bedroom. It too has a bay front, French doors, and fireplace. It also has the advantage of a doorway leading into the sitting room so that both rooms can be treated as a suite.
Further down the hallway to the right is a bedroom 3.3m wide by 7m long. It too has a fireplace and French doors leading to the front balcony.
Next to it and to the rear is the final bedroom 2.7m wide by 4.5m long. It is more utilitarian.
All rooms have the same quality of polished cedar woodwork and kauri flooring as the ground floor.
First Floor Verandah
A 2.8m wide verandah surrounds all 4 sides of the house. It features a bullnose roof, cast-iron columns, cast iron lacework, and tallow-wood flooring.
Back into the stairwell, a narrow staircase winds up to a landing that opens into the attic. The roof beams are exposed high above, and an area 6m by 17m has head-height clearance and floorboards. Double doors lead onto a small balcony overlooking the rear parkland. The exposed brickwork of the tower and 4 chimneys are evident.
From the attic a stairway within the tower structure leads to a 3m x 3m tower room. This stairway is possibly from the original colonial house and has hand-forged nails. The architraves are quality but weathered by the sun. This is a quiet place to shelter from the sun and wind. Arched double doors open onto the widow’s walk which is 5m wide by 11m long. This area affords a 360 degree view of the river reserve and township. The 4 chimney and tower detail are now at close range. The slate roof slopes away on all sides.
A narrow stair winder leads up to a trap door that opens onto the tower lookout. The lookout is topped by wrought iron pickets. You are now 16m above the ground. A flagpole sits even higher. A lightning rod leads from the top of the pole down to earth in the cellar.
Retreating to the ground level, one can take the rear entrance into the back yard. A stairway leads back under the scullery into the cellar. This comprises 3 connecting rooms 4.0 by 5.4, 4.1 x 3.6, and 5.7 x 3.7. The walls are sandstock brick, the floor is brick, and the ceiling is exposed joists and boards of the floor above. An underground passageway connects the cellars to a new storage basement below the kitchen addition.
The new structure between the Victorian mansion and 1830’s stable holds the kitchen/dining area. The design is a low unobtrusive blend. The modern kitchen and dining area features wood floors and cabinets. One door leads out onto the rear courtyard and another onto the side verandah. Internal steps with railings lead from the dining area into the family room.
New Family Room
Attached to the northern side of the stables is a single story structure probably constructed in the early 1900’s. This has been converted into a family room and bar room that feature wood floors, exposed sandstock walls of the stables, and wood paneling. A bathroom is located in the corner. A double glass-panel door leads out into the side garden area. A doorway leads from the family room directly into the stables, and another doorway leads into the bar room. A set of stairs leads into the basement below the kitchen.
From the bar room an archway leads into the stables so a circuit can be done through all rooms. Double glass-panel doors lead out onto the outside BBQ and pool area.
Outside the cellar door is the original underground dome-shaped cistern of 16,000 liters capacity which has now been connected to the garden watering system. Next to it is the original 2-story stables believed to be constructed around 1830. An original 1830’s farmyard well is evident under the foundations of the stables so that water could be drawn from both inside the stables and in the courtyard. The stables is made of exposed sand stock brick 350mm thick, rustic windows and doors, mortise hardwood roof structure, and exposed hardwood shingle roof. It is presently covered with a corrugated iron roof. The colonial feel contrasts with the grandeur of the house. The two levels have been used in the past as the well-known “Stables Restaurant”.
An 1830’s farmyard sandstock brick wall runs from the south-west corner of the stables to the conservatory area of the house and encloses a courtyard. The original 1830 house stood approximately in the south-east area of the existing house. It was completely demolished when the 1870 mansion was constructed.
BBQ and Pool Area
A doorway leads from the bar room onto a covered patio attached to the rear of the stables. A 7m x 11m pool sits behind the farmyard wall and is enclosed by a spearpoint fence. It has the Woolstone “W” tiled into the bottom.
At the rear of the property a brick wall has been constructed along the rear boundary bordering the open parkland. The rear of the house enjoys broad parkland views across the river to Mt.Panorama.
To the north of the pool sits a large BBQ pergola attached to a 2-room brick utility shed with brick floors. One room features an original 1820’s brick-lined well that has been preserved.In the floor.
At right-angles to the old shed is a sandstock brick caretaker’s cottage with colonial fireplace and bathroom. It has been newly refurbished and connected by a doorway into the shed.
Greenhouse and New Garage
From the kitchen doorway onto the verandah, a path leads to a small brick greenhouse which has a new double brick garage annexed to it. The garage tilt doors have multi bird-motif glass panels.