The historic Old Stonehouse has new life in it yet
A HERITAGE-listed building that dates back to 1874 has become a labour of love for two people who want to see it restored to its historic best.
After visiting the area while on holiday, South Australians John and Loretta Eastwood fell in love with the area and 18 months ago purchased the property that included the historic building.
After decades of neglect and damage from the elements, the couple have partnered with supporters in a long-term project to restore the building, which the owners expect will take many years.
Originally the buildings were part of the Old Coach Rd between Esk and Nanango and were built in the 1870s and 1880s as part of a homestead and wayside inn complex.
Mr Eastwood fell in love with the area after their holiday and was committed to the years of work ahead of him.
"Loretta and I are from South Australia," Mr Eastwood said.
"My wife's parents moved up here and we came to visit for a holiday. We just fell in love with the place and six months after getting home we were planning to move.
"We've had a crash course in the history of the place and when we bought it we thought it was just an old farm building that has been heritage listed.
"Now I find the history of the place is phenomenal and it is all part of the whole establishment of this area."
The Old Stonehouse is part of the Eastwoods' property and includes a dwelling, a shed full of machinery and a vineyard that the couple are trying to get up and running.
The highlight for history buffs is the building, which has so much history but has been ignored for many years.
"One of the owners of this property over the years blew it up at one stage and it has had a fair bit of abuse from the elements," Mr Eastwood said.
"In 1967 a storm removed the front veranda roof of the main building and a large crack in the wall had developed, then a section of the house was then demolished.
"Although there's only a couple of buildings left, this was a real village at one point and when the railway came through it then became a stopover. Most of the local farmers would bring their coaches in and leave them at Stonehouse. It was quite a popular spot."
Partnering with local fundraising and government support, Mr Eastwood is working hard to return the building to how it looked in the 1800s.
"We went halves with the government to do this first part, following all rules and regulations," he said.
"The stones that were used to build it with are what we are using, plus the right mix of concrete and water to match the original construction. All of the rocks are from the local area and I think all up it may take up to 10 years to finish.
"It has just evolved into a much bigger project than we envisioned but we are really excited about it.
"Our dream is just to bring it back to how it used to look, to reflect that amazing history. We want to do it justice."
To follow the project, find Stonehouse Moore, Friends of Stones and Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails on Facebook.