Historic house goes under hammer
LEANNE Modolo went to Tantitha House in 1997 to buy a dining suite — but ended up buying Bundaberg's oldest surviving home instead.
“I went home to (husband) Robert and told him I wanted to put in an offer,” she said.
The Bundaberg born-and-raised woman said she used to go past the house regularly as a child, and had always been fascinated by its colonial charm.
“A lot of people don't even know it's here, but it's a big part of Bundaberg history,” Mrs Modolo said.
Built in 1879, the house was originally on a massive station that stretched from North Bundaberg all the way to Mt Perry — and the beautiful five-bedroom Queenslander was built on an accordingly grand scale.
The original lease for the Tantitha Run was formed in 1861, by cousins James and Samuel Hassell.
“Messrs Jas. Henderson and Tyro” (also known as Tyrer) bought the property in 1870, a year before Bundaberg was founded.
It is believed the house was built during their ownership by a carpenter named Bennett, who also built Barolin House.
The property changed hands several times and was eventually bought by the Fairymead Sugar Company in 1923, becoming home to Charlie Young.
Tantitha House was inherited by Mr Young's daughter Jennifer Cribb, and left to the family after her death in the 1990s.
Mrs Modolo said while some of the home's history was shrouded in mystery, traces of the past were evident not just in the house itself but in artefacts she had found scattered through the grounds.
“We've found bottles and clay pipes, and a pudding doll (baked into Christmas puddings to bring luck),” Mrs Modolo said.
“The character of the house has withstood the test of time.”
For Mr and Mrs Modolo, restoring her childhood dream home was a 10-year labour of love.
“We stripped all the layers of paint away and cleaned up the solid red cedar doors,” Mrs Modolo said.
“Robert made new brass fittings to match, by copying the originals.”
But with their children now nearly grown, the Modolos decided it was time to leave their historic home.
The house will be auctioned by RemaxPrecision on October 2.