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One of Brisbane's most prominent properties is Toorak House. Sitting on what is comfortably Hamilton's largest single lot, with unrestricted views of the Brisbane River and CBD, the house is clearly visible from Kingsford Smith Drive when heading outbound from the city.
The house is built predominantly from sandstone, along with a brick and corrugated iron wing which has been added to the rear. A large section of the grounds is currently enclosed by a chain wire fence. Within the fenced area live two llamas (or alpacas), which seems a little out of place for the area.
Toorak House was built circa 1864-65 by Sir James Robert Dickson. The tower was added in 1898-99 and the second floor was added in 1890-91. The property was built with funds from Dickson's successful auctioneering firm which he established after arriving in Brisbane as a 27 year old.
Sir James entered politics in 1873 as the member for Enoggera. Over the following 26 years he twice held the position of Colonial Treasure, and was also twice Premier of Queensland.
In 1900 he was one of five delegates who went to London to negotiate the Commonwealth Bill with the British Government. Sir James was elected to the Federal Parliament upon his return to Australia, but sadly became ill during the Federation celebrations in Sydney and died on January 10, 1901.
In addition to his parliamentary roles, Sir James was also chairman of the Brisbane Permanent Building and Banking Company, foundation chairman of the Queensland Trustees and chairman of the Royal Bank of Queensland. He was also a foundation member of the RSPCA in Queensland.
The federal electoral division of Dixon, which takes in a large section of northern Brisbane, was named after Sir James, as well as the Canberra suburb of Dickson.
Toorak House is located on Annie Street, Hamilton. The property is heritage listed, but privately owned.