Brisbane News Magazine Aug 1 - 7, 2018. ISSUE 1188

Page 12

If these walls

could talk House detective Marianne Taylor goes behind closed doors to uncover the secret histories of our heritage homes Andrea Ripper Mystery stories have always captivated Marianne Taylor. As a child, Trixie Belden “girl detective” books were her favourite, but she loved anything that involved looking for clues, preferably with a creepy, haunted house thrown in. So it’s little wonder that she is now known as “The House Detective”, uncovering the often surprising, hidden histories of Brisbane’s houses. Originally a scientist bored with “tedious” chemistry laboratory jobs, Marianne changed careers to start her own business and follow her passion for history that takes her into some of Brisbane’s grandest homes and more humble abodes to reveal real-life soap operas about ghosts, bigamists and pioneering women. “I never know what rabbit hole I’ll tumble down when I’m researching a house. I’ve uncovered lots of surprising and fascinating stories,” she says. Her clients range from people planning expensive renovations of multimilliondollar historic homes to long-time owners curious about their house’s history and proud new homeowners. She even has parents commissioning histories of their children’s houses as gifts. “It’s mainly people who have lived in their house for ages and have wanted to know more about it, but didn’t know who to ask,” she says. “My clients live in a range of different houses, from huge expensive ones to small cottages. They all have fascinating tales to tell and all are equally

as important in the history of Brisbane. The only difference is that you can usually find out more personal stories about the grand homes as they were usually owned by prominent people … so there are a lot more records referring to them and they show up in the newspapers a lot more.” Even the most mundane suburban houses have stories to tell, Marianne, 39, says – houses like the post-war timber house at Salisbury she shares with her photographer husband Matt Williams and their “crazy, energetic” border collie crosses Ernie and Siska. “They don’t have to be particularly old, they don’t have to look fancy, they don’t have to be like Newstead House. Just your average humble home – even a post-war home like mine – has a fascinating story, because it’s the people’s stories who live there that make it interesting.”

KEY CLUES … Lokarlton, at Spring Hill, dates back to 1885. Picture: Annette Dew

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For more information and to nominate visit

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Nominations open Monday 12 February, 2018 and close 11.59pm Friday 3 August, 2018 for VIC residents only. Nominations open Thursday 1 March, 2018 and close 11.59pm Friday 31 August 2018 for NSW, NT, QLD, TAS residents only. Winners determined during the judging period 13 August, 2018 to 21 September, 2018. Publication and state winners names will be published following the awards presentation events in September, October and November in all NewsLocal, Quest Community News, Gold Coast Bulletin, Leader, NT News and The Mercury publications. National winners will be announced week commencing 12 November, 2018. Total Prize pool valued at $66,100 AUD. Full terms and conditions available at

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