Historic Thomas Mathewson Home in Auchenflower Now Fully Renovated

Historic Former Thomas Mathewson Home in Auchenflower Fully Renovated

‘Monterey’ is a grand, old Queenslander built in 1912 by pioneering photographer Thomas Mathewson on Aldridge Street in Auchenflower. What used to be student accommodation in the ’70s and ’80s has been given a new lease on life through a careful, yet extensive, renovation.



“Monterey” is a 5-bedroom. 3-bathroom grand Queenslander that sits on 1,012 sqm of prime land at 18 Aldridge Street. It comprises three flats with 12-foot ceilings, double-hung windows, ornate timberwork, and wrap-around verandah. 

The property was previously owned by Thomas Mathewson who was known as the “Father of Photography in Queensland” but its most recent owner, developer Ms Michelle Cao, didn’t have any idea about its history until after she had acquired it. 

Who was Thomas Mathewson?

Thomas Mathewson
Photo Credit: Public domain – State Library of Queensland / Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Mathewson was born in Helensburgh, Scotland in 1842 and emigrated to Australia when he was just ten years old.

Whilst he was trained as a carpenter during his teenage years, he later showed talent in design and artistic work and became a leading Queensland Photographer.

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Mathewson family
Photo Credit: Public domain / Wikimedia Commons

Between 1864 and 1876, Thomas opened several Photographic Studios throughout the state including locations in Ipswich, Toowoomba, Dalby, Gympie, Rockhampton, and Bowen. 

Thomas served on the Council of the Historical Society of Queensland and became a Councillor in what would later become the Brisbane City Council. He was a photographer in Brisbane from 1876 until 1922 when he sold the business to two of his staff which was later renamed Regent Studios.



Passion Project

The renovation of the former Mathewson home took eight months to complete, with the external part of the house requiring much restoration work.

Judging from how Mr Mathewson’s surviving family loved the final outcome of the project, Ms Cao has succeeded in paying homage to the historic roots of the home of the early pioneer, photographer, and historian with what she refers to as her “passion project.”.

Ms Cao has since subdivided the property and sold 18 Aldridge St for $1.48 million. She is building five apartment units valued at over $6 million on the other half of the block.