Ipswich Libraries

Ipswich Houses – “Kyeewa”

Kyeewa is located on 1 York Street, East Ipswich. The house itself is a single storey structure made from strong unpolished sandstone that has stood the test of time. The story of Kyeewa and how it came to be is an interesting one, and it starts with a legal dispute that erupted in 1814 in Bristol. At the centre of this dispute was one Francis Howard Greenway who was an architect in the area. Having claimed to have been cheated from a payment for work he had completed, he was found to have forged a signature, which unfortunately got him shipped to New South Wales. Many will know F.H. Greenway as the man on the $10 note, having made his fortunes in this country through his great work as an architect on famous structures such as the Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney. The question is how does Kyeewa fall into the picture? Well, Francis’ great nephew was Ernest Greenway, an Ipswich Stonemason who was the gentleman that built Kyeewa.

The exact date of the construction of Kyeewa is unknown; however it is believed to have been built sometime during the 1890s. Ernest arrived in Ipswich in 1882 and opened his stonemason business on Nicholas Street. He boasted a wide variety of stone and also imported fine marble from exotic locations such as Italy. His main trade was the production of tombstones and mantelpieces, however after marrying Elizabeth Femister (daughter of famed Ipswich upholsterer Alexander Femister), he decided to put his masonry business to work in constructing the family home, to be called Kyeewa.

The sandstone of which Kyeewa is made originally came from Helidon. The house itself has a corrugated iron roof and verandahs on three sides. The entrance to the house is both grand yet modest with the original timber steps (now sandstone) leading up to a solid cedar front door with red lead light and a delicate etched fruit and flower pattern. The interior of the house boasts a large white marble fireplace in the drawing room which is panelled in cedar with wide bay-windows. Originally, Kyeewa was built with only 2 bedrooms and one kitchen, however extensions in the 1990s meant a second storey was added to the south-east and south-west corners of the house. The rear of the house, unusually, was finished in timber. This was the result of the stone supplier increasing his prices half-way through the build, the cost of which Ernest refused to pay. As a result, the building remained ‘unfinished’, but with an added design distinction. The corners of the house exterior as well as the door and window frames have another interesting feature as they are decorated with smooth stone bricks and hand-worked patterns. The land on which the house originally stood was a much larger block and previously extended to include a coach house and an orchard on the corner of York Street and Chermside Road. However, this section was later sold and converted into a house.

Kyeewa remained with the Greenway family until 1988, when Ernest’s son Gordon occupied the home. Today the house still stands only slightly weather-worn, but still its imposing but modest self.

Members of the Jones' family of Redbank Plains with friends and their vehicles at Kyeewa, East Ipswich, 1920s - Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Members of the Jones’ family of Redbank Plains with friends and their vehicles at Kyeewa, East Ipswich, 1920s – Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich

Information taken from: “Kyeewa in superb condition” (QT article n.d.); Queensland Heritage Register – Kyeewa; Ipswich: Views from the verandah by Robyn Buchanan; Ipswich Heritage Study 1991 by University of Queensland.


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