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The most iconic architectural style in Australia: Meet The Queenslander

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There is one residential style of architecture that truly stands apart from the rest here in Australia. It’s attractive. It’s functional. It’s iconic. It’s the Queenslander.

Obviously this home design is incredibly pleasing to the eye, what with it’s intricate fretwork, verandah, high pitched tin roof and elevated position. But that’s not the only reason the Queenslander is so popular. This design is also highly functional


Design benefits 


The Queenslander is very climate responsive, and who doesn’t want a house like that these days?! Designed in the mid-19th century – long before air conditioners were a thing, this home style was a direct response to the incredible heat in the northern parts of Australia. So what did they do? Incorporate ventilation features such as breezeways and indoor-outdoor spaces into the design!


The Queenslander uses timber in its construction, due to this material being locally sourced following the design’s conception, and the timber being so quick and easy to obtain. And seeing as most of the Australian East coast is home to the best, most stable and sturdy hardwoods in the world, this readily accessible material was the obvious choice for this home.

Height from ground

Elevation is also part of the Queenslander’s design, and there are a few good reasons for this: it allows for better flood resilience, helps to create a level building on a sloping site, provides white ant and termite inspectors with easy access to the property, and creates a cool space on hot days due to the space between the ground and the floorboards. 


But it is the Queenslander’s ability to move from one site to another that gives it a special edge. 


Design implications

Though charming and practical, the Queenslander isn’t without flaws.  Some things to look out for when buying a Queenslander house or considering building one are: 

  • Timber and fretwork maintenance being quiet expensive
  • Poor insulation
  • Specific structure
  • Reliant on outside breeze

Though the home features a breezeway to keep the house well ventilated and cooler on hot days, it is reliant on a breeze. So if there is no breeze outside to be enjoyed, the Queenslander can become quite hot and uncomfortable. 

Also, considering many homeowners are keen to adapt the floorplan of their home by interfering with its functional design (this is especially true of growing families), the thermal performance of the Queenslander becomes compromised once any structural changes have occurred. So this means closing off part of the verandah will likely result in rooms losing sunlight or your breezeway being blocked. 


Adapting the model 

Though the Queenslander is a popular residential design option, the more striking aspects of this model are actually embedded into many modern architectural styles. 

Wide eaves that protect openings from the western sun, verandahs purposefully placed to alleviate the heat, fanlights to draw breezes through a room, and breeze block walls to create breezeways are recycled elements we see in many homes today. 


So if you’re planning to build your own home on a block of land and are considering the Queenslander, be sure to assess things like which direction the sun hits or where your breeze is likely to come from, because these simple elements can make or break your new home! 

If you love the Queenslander architectural design as much as I do, and want to know how to recreate this look on your block, we’re the property buyers agent for you! Give us a call on (02) 8916 6172 or email the team at

For further information on our buyer’s agent services please view our Services page here

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