TIME WARP: Mayor Margaret Strelow visits the revitalised riverfront heritage home of Laurel and Geoff Bowen.
TIME WARP: Mayor Margaret Strelow visits the revitalised riverfront heritage home of Laurel and Geoff Bowen. Trinette Stevens INSET Alicia Rodgers

Rockhampton couple at home with history

"THIS is where you come through the rabbit hole," said Laurel Bowen as she walked from her heritage-listed front room to the ultra-modern add-on.

Laurel and her husband Geoff have been revitalising their heritage-listed Quay St home since 2013, preserving the history of the building whilst adding on new, modern features.

Known as "Avonleigh", the house was built in 1885 and has since been home to former mayor Fred Morgan, and was even a private hospital and a doctor's surgery.

The couple said they wanted the home to showcase the bridging of new and old.

"There is nothing like this in Rocky, we want to show how beautiful we can make these old places," Geoff said.

"You have to move the building into the 21st Century."

The couple invited Mayor Margaret Strelow along for a tour of the home and she was thrilled with the result.

"It's absolutely what we want and it's beautifully done," she said.

"It has got to be a reality; we can't abdicate and stay away from our beautiful heritage buildings. The best thing you can do for a building is use it and live in it; the best thing we can do for our CBD and riverbank is have people who live here."

Upstairs will be the couple's own residence while downstairs is rented out as office space.

Cr Strelow said council was doing its part to encourage people like Laurel and Geoff.

"We have gone to the State Government and said you need to change the Local Government Act so we don't have to charge this whole building at commercial rates," she said.

"Now we're getting good support but that process is taking a while, so we will do a cash back to try and make a balance for people who are hit with full commercial rates when only part of the building is commercial."



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