SOLD: What's next for a slice of Gladstone history
A SLICE of Gladstone history will remain in safe hands following the sale of The Old Courthouse to a family with long-standing ties to the region.
Mark Frost and wife Leanne recently purchased the heritage-listed building on Yarroon St for $620,000 with a view to moving Mark's business, Frost Engineering, into the premises.
The two-storey, 1061sqm building has special ties to the Frost family with Mark's grandfather Richard O'Brien involved in its construction between 1940-42.
There's also a connection to the Breslin family as Mark's grandmother Angela Sajdl (nee Breslin) is the niece of former Gladstone mayor Edward Breslin.
Mark wasn't aware of the courthouse's connection to his family until he was in the stages of purchase.
"We didn't realise it to start with but when we started looking into the property and I mentioned it to my grandmother she started filling me in on the history of the building," he said.
"Her father, my great grandfather Richard O'Brien, was a local carpenter and he worked on the construction of the building over that two-year period when they were building it from 1940-42.
"He was about 43 when he built that and he died two years later at the meatworks in a workplace accident where he fell and hit his head.
"My grandmother is still alive and lives in town and has very fond memories of him coming home for lunch everyday when he was building the courthouse.
"They lived in Central Lane and she would've been around 10 (years old) when they were building it."
Frost Engineering has been operating for 10 years but recent rapid growth, which has it employing 25 people, meant a change of location was needed from its headquarters on Hanson Rd.
"Our business has grown a fair bit over the last 12 months and we've run out of office space," Mark said.
"We looked at renting some space around (Goondoon) Street but rent is still fairly expensive.
"Obviously the courthouse was up for sale so we compared the numbers and it was viable for us to purchase rather than rent because we're a long-term business here in town and we want to continue."
The extra space wasn't the only drawcard for Mark, an engineer who naturally admired the building.
"It's a beautiful and really magnificent building and the architecture - it's a very robust building and has the history behind it," he said.
"It's a very large building so that caters for us to expand as well and the old courtroom is a centrepiece for the whole building."
Mark plans to do some minor work to the building, which has already started, but it will remain largely untouched due to its Queensland Heritage Register status, which was awarded in May 1998.
"We're doing some maintenance painting, removing the old carpet, restoring the old floorboards, so polished floors throughout the building, and a clean-up to bring it back to life," he said.
"We're not going to be doing any sort of renovations... Just bringing it up to a better standard than what it is at the moment."