Winterford family

Deb and Janice are proud descendants of William and Margaret Winterford. Their bold and visionary great-great-grandparents were responsible for building Brisbane’s landmark Regatta Hotel on Coronation Drive, Toowong.

Regatta Hotel - 1930s
image courtesy State Library of Queensland

William, christened Levi, was born in 1834 in Cambridgeshire, England. At the time he migrated to Australia, he was identified as ‘Gentleman’ on the ship’s manifesto. His wife Margaret Hannah had sailed to Australia from Scotland, as an unmarried 20-year-old. It’s evident the couple were determined to get ahead and once married, they worked hard and weren’t afraid to embark on new ventures. Business interests included a sugar cane and cotton farm at Pimpama, a transport company in Gympie and involvement in varying capacities with the Yatala and Wharf Street hotels.

By 1882 the Winterfords had purchased a block of land on River Road (now Coronation Drive) which included a modest timber building; the original Regatta Hotel. Four years later William and Margaret increased their mortgage and commissioned well-known architect, Richard Gailey, and builder, George Gazzard, to construct the classy new hotel overlooking the Brisbane River.

Rowers competing in the Toowong Regatta - 1889
image courtesy State Library of Queensland
The atmosphere of the famed English Oxford-Cambridge Regattas obviously influenced William’s grand vision. Unfortunately, what was considered to be, the hotel’s best asset, the Brisbane River, would prove to be the Winterfords' greatest challenge. 

In 1893 William Winterford was deemed insolvent due to ‘losses through the floods, depression in trade, and the pressure of a creditor’. William tried desperately to hold onto his beloved Regatta but in 1897 he lost everything when the Regatta Hotel was transferred to the ANZ Mortgage Co. Ltd. Soon after, however, his wife Margaret took out a licence for the Clarence Corner Hotel on Stanley Street, Woolloongabba.

Cemetery Rd Toowong - Regatta Hotel in the distance - Brisbane floods of 1890
image courtesy State Library of Queensland

Swollen flood waters continue to re-shape the Regatta Hotel. Since the destructive 2011 Brisbane floods, the heritage-listed building has once again undergone a lavish restoration. A Winterford family photograph, including ten of their children, still hangs in the Regatta today.

The Winterford family portrait ,1892 - our great grandmother Mary Ann stands far left
image courtesy of Melcir Erskine-Richmond

Mary Ann 'Annie' Cocks (nee Winterford)
One of the Winterford daughters, Mary Ann (Annie), married Richard Cocks, a grocer from Toowong. In time Annie became Reg Brown's mother-in-law, when Reg  married her dark-haired daughter, Eva Cocks.

Reg's wife Eva Brown (nee Cocks)

It is fitting that the Regatta Hotel
should host the launch of Lingering Doubts.


  1. Hi My name is Lea-Anne Christina Gaylene formally (Winterford Waldron), my father is William Arthur Edward Winterford, my grandfather is Arthur Elmes Winterford, my great grandfather is Arthur James Winterford and my great great grandfather is William Winterford. I don't know much about the family history however in seeing a photo of Margaret Hannah in the family portrait of the Winterford's I see a similarity and it has made me curious to know more information of my history if possible.I don't know if you are able to help me in this, I do hope so. Many thanks Annie

  2. Hi Annie, if you'd like to email me on I can give you heaps of info. on our Winterford ancestors. Kind regards, Deb


We look forward to your comments and feedback or any information you may wish to share about our grandfather's case.