Rhossilli- Great Houses of Ipswich 2018
4 Glebe Road, Newtown, Ipswich
The house known today as Rhossilli was constructed in the 1880s for Richard Gill, the former Post Master at Ipswich, and his second wife, Mary Ann Agnes Gill. Until the early 1950s, when it was converted to flats and later a convalescent and nursing home, this nineteenth century Colonial brick and sandstone residence had been the home of two prominent members of the Ipswich legal profession. Extensive conservation work completed in late 2006, and a new wing added in 2007, returned Rhossilli to its rightful place as one of the Great Houses of Ipswich.
Twenty-four year old Richard Gill arrived in Moreton Bay in 1843, setting up as a storekeeper in South Brisbane before deciding to try his fortune in Ipswich. In October 1854, he was appointed Ipswich Post Master. A Justice of the Peace, Gill was also a long standing trustee of the Ipswich Grammar School. After thirty-three years as Post Master, in 1887 Gill was granted leave of absence. He retired to Newtown and his villa home designed by the architectural practice of Samuel Shenton. Construction was undertaken at least in part by stonemason Ernest Greenway, whose name and the date ‘1888’ is etched in the concrete base of one of the fireplaces.
Following the death of his wife Mary Ann Agnes in 1904, Richard Gill sold the house to solicitor and politician William Henry Summerville. The civic minded Summerville was an Ipswich alderman (1901-1902 and 1904-1907), Ipswich Mayor (1903) and the Member for Stanley (1902-1904). Summerville named the house Caerleon, residing there, along with his wife Annie Agnes and six children, until his death in 1919.
The next owner, Henry Grosvenor Simpson, was also a solicitor. He was admitted to one of the oldest law firms in Ipswich in 1909, in partnership with his uncle. Henry Grosvenor and Kathleen Simpson occupied the house from their marriage in 1920 until his death in 1949. During this period an eastern rear wing was added to the house, now named Rhossilli after the grazing property established west of Ipswich in the 1850s by Simpson’s grandfather.
Following her husband’s death, Kathleen Simpson moved to Mount Tamborine and Rhossilli was converted to flats. In the 1960s, under the ownership of Mrs W. Rodwell, Rhossilli was a convalescent home. It later served as a home for the intellectually impaired.
Rhossilli is significant as a substantial, late nineteenth century villa from the architectural practice of Samuel Shenton. During this period, Shenton employed the young architect, George Brockwell Gill, who took over his practice in 1889. Rhossilli is significant for its association with members of three of the pioneering families of Ipswich. Two of its owners were associated with the legal profession.