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New cafe pays homage to mansion’s heritage

A new cafe named in honour of the man who commissioned the building of one of the region’s most iconic mansions has opened at Marburg.

Tommy Smith Cafe has opened at heritage estate, Woodlands of Marburg.

It is good news for pie lovers, with gourmet pies a specialty. The list includes country quail and vegetable and the Tommy Smith Cheeky Beef with slow cooked beef cheek and sweet potato.

There is even a gluten-free offering – a frittata-style pie.

As well as pies, Woodlands of Marburg operators David Ritchie and Michael Rowan have sourced a unique locally roasted coffee blend for the cafe.

There is also a daily range of cupcakes available from Queen of Cupcakes.

Tommy Smith Cafe is open from 7.30am weekdays and from 9am on Saturday and Sunday.

The Tommy Smith legacy

Tommy Smith commissioned the building of Woodlands mansion in the 1800s.

Tommy’s father, Charles Smith, bought the land in 1870 as part of a property stretching from Marburg to Glamorganvale. The Woodlands estate consisted of 568 acres.

In 1877, Charles moved his sawmill from Sandy Creek to the western end of his property and the mill tragically burnt down three years later, however it was promptly rebuilt.

As local timber resources became depleted in the 1880s, Charle’s son, Thomas Lorimer Smith, began to plant sugar cane on the property and constructed a sugar mill adjacent the sawmill.

After Charle’s death, Tommy carried out his father’s plans to build the mansion and lived there with his wife, Mary, and their 11 children.

It was designed by local architects George Brockwell Gill and Joseph Klee, who is believed to have been responsible for the interior works.

The bricks used in this Bohemian style building were made locally and the home includes a sandstone cellar which was used to house wines made from grapes grown by the Smith family on the estate.

Thomas Smith and family maintained ownership of the mansion and property until it was sold to the Order of the Divine Word in 1944.

It was then used as a recuperation centre for the Order’s missionaries who had been evacuated from Papua New Guinea during World War II.

With assistance from local residents, the priests and brothers restored the home so it would also be suitable for a seminary with two additional buildings built and used as classrooms and dormitories.

The Divine Word Missionaries sold the property in 1986 when it was purchased by Ipswich Boys Grammar School, which ran personal development and other courses from the site before selling the property 16 years later.

Well-known local family, the Coopers, bought the property from Ipswich Boys Grammar School in 2002 and set about restoring it to its former glory.

Today, Woodlands remains one of Marburg’s oldest and most treasured properties and stands as testament to more than 130 years of history.

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>> Need coffee? Here are 20 Ipswich cafes to check out

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