Dougleen – Great Houses of Ipswich 2018
67 Thorn Street, Ipswich
Inside and out, Dougleen is not your usual interwar Ipswich residence, rather a quality construction planned and largely crafted by stonemason Frank Williams.
Frank Williams was born in 1872 in Tockington, Gloucestershire, and arrived in Queensland with his parents, George and Georgina Williams, as an infant. By the turn of the twentieth century, Frank Williams was a trained and skilled stonemason with a monumental masonry business and had married and moved from his parents’ home, Almondsbury in Park Street, to Tockington, a timber home at the corner of Park and Thorn Streets.
From a slow start Williams and Co. expanded, especially as the First World War drew to a close and communities in and around Ipswich commissioned remembrance memorials. The company notably produced memorials for Colinton, Toogoolawah, West Ipswich and One Mile, Mt Alford, Booval, Bundamba, Esk, Maroon and Gatton.
Following a tour of England and Europe in 1923, Frank Williams subdivided the Park/Thorn corner allotment. He then commenced a decade of hands-on work to create the house you see today, one that through its textured and ornamented front elevation makes a significant contribution to the streetscape.
One notable feature is the name Dougleen set within a scroll decorated by rose, shamrock and thistle, perhaps a reference to the England, Ireland and Scotland of his recent visit. The name is thought to be a portmanteau that acknowledges both Georgina Douglas Williams, the wife of Frank Williams, and their daughter Kathleen. Other important features are the intricately styled and matched joinery of the leadlight windows and the offset alignment of the textured corner quoins.
In the latter years of the 1920s, Williams and Co. undertook commissioned work using marble, to create altars for a small number of Roman Catholic churches in Queensland. Along with the sporting interests of the Williams family, the polished elegance of marble is delightfully apparent behind the silky oak front door to the interior of Dougleen.
Inside, the entrance arch for the dining room has been made using red, grey and white marble not unlike that used in churches. Designs used on the verandah balustrade are repeated. Sporting and distinctly Australian motifs, made by Williams in the shed behind the house, are captured in the plaster on the cornices. They include a woman playing croquet, a golfer and a fisherman, as well as a kangaroo, an emu and a swagman.
Georgina and Frank Williams both died in the 1940s and the house passed out of the Williams family, its special qualities enjoyed by other owners since. In 2006, following receipt of a grant, conservation work was undertaken to the windows and brickwork of the shed where the bricks, hand cast plaster frieze and marble features were made. In 2017, Dougleen received an Ipswich City Council Award for Excellence.