The History

Millbrook is a large timber dwelling with a corrugated iron roof.  It has a U-shaped verandah, broken at the front by a gable pediment over the entrance lobby and a gabled attic room facing the main road, with two chimneys breaking the symmetry from the streetscape.  The house was assumed to have been originally built on Ruthven Street in the 1860s as the family home of William Henry Groom.  Following his death, his widow moved it to Phillip Street in 1902.


After being released from prison in 1856, William Henry (WH) Groom moved to Drayton.  William married Grace Littleton a few years later in 1859.  Grace was the sister of William’s business partner, John Littleton.  The Littleton’s were both born in Millbrook, Cornwall. After their marriage, Mr and Mrs Groom lived in Drayton for a while.  Upon moving to Toowoomba, they lived in a house on Ruthven Street where their son, Littleton Groom, was born in 1867.  To our knowledge, they established their family home further north along Ruthven Street neat the Toowoomba railway station in the late 1860s.  There is a photograph taken in 1874 that shows the large house with Grace Groom holding a very young daughter.  The house was known as Millbrook.

William Henry Groom passed in August 1901, he was attending the Federal Parliament's first sitting.  Grace (his widow) purchased the property at Phillip Street from John Munro in February 1902 and by July 1902 had moved most of the Ruthven Street house to the site.  

The new house site required higher stumps and new front stairs to accommodate for the sloping terrain.  The original lattice balustrading on the verandah was replaced with a cast-iron balustrade.  It was also noted that, as most of Mrs Groom’s 8 children had flown the coup, one wing of the original home was never relocated from Ruthven Street. 

Dr Allan Row and his mother rented the Millbrook house shortly after Mrs Grooms death in 1932.  Like most doctors, Dr Row established his surgery in the house.  The formal sitting room was used for his private medical practice, the glass room (the closed-in northern verandah) used as the surgery entrance and waiting room using partitions.  Mrs Groom’s ensuite was also converted into a workshop. Glennie schoolteacher Dorothy Lake married Dr Row in 1948. Millbrook’s kitchen was modernised to her specifications in 1955, this included the removal of the early stove, refrigerator and dresser.  A long workbench and built-in cupboards were installed to create two distinct areas – a kitchen and eating area.  Modern laundry facilities were installed on the enclosed verandah was installed after Mrs Row has a serious accident in the outside laundry.

Mrs Row began refurbishing the house in the 1980s, after Dr Row died in June 1979.  The refurbishments included green walls were changed to pale-coloured paints and linoleum and timber floors covered with tiles and carpets.  The front staircase was replaced, and the northern porch rebuilt due to aging.  A sundeck was constructed in 1983, the front fence was rebuilt the following year and an octagonal gazebo built that was able to accommodate 8 people. 

The Proposed Development - Our Processes and Approach

StruXi Design was engaged by JRP Building as the chosen design team for the proposed re-development of 9 Phillip Street, Toowoomba.  Blah, Blah, Blah.

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