Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published December 21st 2013
Once a Seminary, now a historic function & wedding venue
Planning a wedding or just a weekend away Woodlands of Marburg is a good choice and not too far away from Brisbane. Not only is it quiet and away from highway noise, the grounds also provide photographers with plenty of scenery to capture that special moment that will be far more unique than others.
The Mansion was built in 1891 for a Mr Charles Smith. Charles planned a mansion on the hilltop to overlook his saw mill, however he died before this was done and it was his son Thomas who carried on his project. The saw mill burnt down in 1880 but was rebuilt, however sugar was becoming a very popular commodity and it took over as a priority in 1883.
After a devastating drought in 1902/3, the sugar mill was sold and ten years later closed down all together. The family retained the mansion and surrounding land which was then used for dairying, beef cattle and agriculture. Many an orchard was grown on the property which included mangoes, olives, pecan nut, custard apple, orange, pear and banana. The garden today is absolutely beautiful.
The Smith family continued to run the property until 1944 when it was sold to the "Order of the Divine Word", a Catholic Missionary Order founded in Holland. The Order came to Australia to support the missionaries in New Guinea. They renamed Woodlands "St Vincent's Missionary Seminary".
St Vincent's in written on the entrance to the cemetery at the side of the mansion. This cemetery is the resting place of 76 graves which include Catholic Seminary Fathers, Brothers, residents and even a former High School Headmaster that died in 1989 after the Ipswich Grammar School bought the property in 1986. Woodlands remained as a working college until 2002 when again it changed ownership.
If you were thinking of a wedding or a family occasion, Woodlands has plenty of spacious accommodation for guests and a full size swimming pool for the energetic. We dined in the beautiful dining room in the evening and had a full buffet breakfast next morning in their breakfast room.
Paintings of clowns with eyes that seem to follow you line the walls of the dining room and it takes your mind back to those scary movies where a face would be watching you from behind the painting….but of course this was not so.
Peacocks roamed the grounds, quite happy to fan their tails in grandeur for our scrapbook photos.
Themed dinner parties or Murder Mystery Nights are organised in the sandstone cellar, which creates an awesome atmosphere for the night's events. Woodlands cater for corporate functions and Christmas Parties as well.
I found Woodlands to be full of history yet extremely peaceful, just roaming around the grounds was a serene experience and you can't help but take snap after snap. A painters paradise, I would say.
It is said that the spirit of Mrs Smith may be seen looking out the top floor bedroom overlooking the grounds. However, she wasn't visiting on the night I stayed and I didn't feel anything either. Why not make up your own mind with a delightful weekend away at Woodlands of Marburg.
The different places of interest should be numbered.eg the Woodlands Marburg place and the choc tour and a sugar mill???info runs into each other ;its hard to work out where the mill is.So a I. place 2. place etc would make reading easier...otherwise a GREAT idea.happy Christmas and a blessed new year to YOU.