June 2, 2023

Buying a Queenslander? Things you should know

Dreaming of owning a classic Queenslander?

A Queenslander is the quintessentially Queensland style home. Well suited to the Queensland sub tropical climate and with a distinct architectural style, they typically boast wide covered verandahs, a corrugated iron roof, and may retain other features of the era in which they were built, such as coloured glass.

Unlike many more modern styles, Queenslander architecture usually incorporates high ceilings, metal roofs and are raised on timber stumps.

While these architectural characteristics have become signifiers of Queensland style homes, they were initially practical in nature; raised houses and metal roofs are more suitable for the hot and humid climate in a time before air conditioning was widely available.

Things To Be Aware Of When Buying a Queenslander


Many of the building materials that became more common in the post war 20th century were unavailable when most Queenslander houses were built. For this reason, Queenslander homes were usually built from the most widely available resource at the time: timber. This makes them attractive to termites.

For this reason, we recommend you make your contract subject to building and pest and obtain a pest report prior to satisfying that condition of the contract.


Even Queenslander homes in good condition will require maintenance from time to time. From re-levelling to repainting, you might find yourself busy occasionally with the upkeep. Make sure you talk to a licensed builder prior to purchasing your Queenslander for the most accurate idea of what you could be in for.

General Condition

It’s a good idea to learn as much about the house history as you can before committing to buy one of these historic Queenslander homes.

The Queensland state library has resources for finding out more about the history of your Queenslander house.

Character Homes

Most Queenslanders are subject to a character overlay or zoning, which means you will have to comply with certain standards if you wish to alter or extend your Queenslander in the future to preserve its character.

The restrictions can be stringent, so it is important to do your research before you purchase a Queenslander home if you are planning on renovating. Contact your local council for more information.

Types Of Queenslanders

The term ‘Queenslander’ has come to be used to describe many different types of architecture; there is more than one Queenslander style!

The history of the Queenslander house goes all the way back to the early to mid 1800’s when they were built by migrants unused to the subtropical climate, all the way to post World War II.

Early Colonial Queenslanders

Early Colonial Queenslanders were constructed from the early to mid 19th century, many in the Darling Downs area, and where the Moreton Bay penal settlement was established in South East Queensland.

Not many Queenslander style homes remain from this period, partly due to the fact that they were commonly built on the ground (were not raised) and so were susceptible to termite damage.

Late Colonial Queenslanders

After the penal settlement was abolished in the mid 1800’s, more free settlers began to arrive and the need for residential housing increased.

These properties were usually raised on timber stumps

Federation Queenslanders

After federation, ‘bungalow’ Queenslander houses became popular styles, with spacious verandas, more living space, a low-pitched roof line and sleepouts.

There is a great variety of styles of Queenslander house still standing today from this period.

Inter-War Queenslanders

The style of Queenslander homes continued to evolve in the early 20th century, although the Great Depression brought about a shortage of timber.

More modern styles, including brick houses began to influence residential construction from the 1930’s.

Post- War Queenslanders

With the advent of commuter satellite suburbs brought about by widespread ownership and use of automobiles, larger and more minimalist houses became the norm. Queenslander houses from this period are incredibly diverse, including in size, layout and building material.

This is only a very brief summary of the different kinds of Queenslander homes. There is a wealth of information available, for example from the Queensland state library and other independent websites.

Tips For Buying A Queenslander

It is recommended that you make your contract subject to building and pest, which will give you the option to cancel the contract if you are not satisfied with the results of a building and pest report you obtain from a licensed builder.

Remember to seek legal advice prior to signing your contract of sale to ensure your rights are adequately protected.

More Questions

At Keylaw, we are conveyancing experts and well-prepared to assist you in avoiding any pitfalls when purchasing your Queenslander house from signing up to settlement.

If you have questions about buying or selling property in Queensland, contact us today!

Our friendly, expert conveyancing lawyers are more than happy to answer any questions you might have.