From student dorms to prestige auction: new life awaits premier home on a hill

A perfect storm of buyers is expected to raise their hands at the auction of an inner-city Brisbane home on Saturday. Once a tumbledown collection of nine-seven student dormitories, 18 Thornbury Street, Spring Hill, has been replaced by a stunning five-bedroom, three-bathroom property on an incredibly rare 500sqm block.

The standout four-storey property attracted 150 inspections during its four-week marketing campaign, with 53 of these occurring in the first six days alone. Ray White Bulimba and East Brisbane managing principal and auctioneer, Brandon Wortley, says he has also received more than 100 enquiries and 27 groups came through the home last Saturday.

“This is just unheard of,” he says. “The interest has come from everywhere. We’ve had a potential bidder from Japan and a number of American buyers are on it. There are heaps of Sydney and Melbourne people interested too. I’d say 30-40 per cent of people aren’t from Brisbane. But it’s just one of those (houses) …. to get something like that where you can almost hit Queen St Mall with a rock – you never see them, ever.”

The spectacular property was virtually rebuilt from the ground up by prestige builders, Primo Property, after two decades of neglect during its student residency years. Quality features of the home include a rooftop terrace with never to be built out views of the city skyline and Story Bridge, a rear patio with a barbecue and pool, and a front veranda.

There are hardwood floors, 3-metre-high ceilings, a sizable kitchen with stone benchtops and a butler’s pantry and two separate living areas, one with a gas fireplace. Gold-tinted tapware is in all the bathrooms and there is also a gym and wine cellar.

But while these features are undoubtedly special, it’s the property’s matchless land size combined with proximity to some of Queensland’s top schools and city convenience which guarantee it’s a winner.

Brandon says the home has attracted a broad mix of people, from medical industry specialists working at The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, 2km away, and nearby Wickham Terrace to young professional couples and families.

“We’ve got partners in law firms and directors of accounting firms and a few quite young people in there – a number of people in their 30s are looking at it,” Brandon says. “There are couples with teenagers and people who have got kids at Grammar (Brisbane Grammar School and Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School) and Terrace (St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace).”

Then there’s the sheer rarity of Spring Hill’s real estate availability, with Brandon explaining there are under 400 homes in the suburb with each having an approximate 15–20-year owner tenure.

“The percentage level of transactions in any given year is always going to be way lower than Paddington, New Farm, Red Hill or any other areas which are inner city with architectural offerings,” Brandon says. “Homes in Spring Hill have very long tenures …. it can be a good 15-20 years of tenure for most large homes, compared to most of the inner-city markets where your average tenure in architectural houses is four-seven years.”

Even after 15 years in real estate, Brandon admits he was “blown away” by 18 Thornbury St especially compared to what it used to be as student accommodation. Potential renovators and top-notch builders have also been staggered by its quality and class.

“I had a bit to do with the house before it was what it is now and I never, ever imagined it would have turned out like it has,” he says. “It’s the best finished and best quality inner-city architectural home I’ve seen or sold in that bracket. It’s very, very up there.”

18 Thornbury St, Spring Hill, will go to auction at 10am on Saturday, February 6.


18 Thornbury St, Spring Hill, QLD 4000


Brandon Wortley
0447 269 591
Ray White Bulimba and East Brisbane


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