The Origin of Rivermead House | Rivermead

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The Origin of Rivermead House

By: Chrissy Keepence | March 26th, 2019

Once a thriving farming community locally known as Hidden Valley which included an Arrowroot Mill on the banks of the Coomera River, Rivermead Estate formed part of a large sub-division which took place in the 1980s. Purchased by local property developers, John & Carole Thomas in 1988, the parcel of 55 acres soon became home to their young family.

With Caballo Road initially stretching partway down the current driveway of Rivermead Estate, John soon purchased the road from Council and integrated it into his estate. Also purchasing the address, ‘1 Caballo Road’ (Caballo meaning ‘horse') the property has long had a prominent equine culture. 

John also acquired land across the river to Rivermead Estate and had formed original plans to work closely with the national property group Stockland to develop and build an equestrian centre at what is now Riverstone Crossing, formerly the Kleinschmidt family dairy farm. John had the idea of transforming Rivermead Estate into a Country Club for the equine fraternity.

Building a new Queenslander homestead on the property, known today as Rivermead House, John and Carole’s home thrived on absorbing warmth, love, laughter and fun. Using the original house on the property, Casa Caballa (home of horse) as his office, John and Carole brought up their family and welcomed many international friends to the magnificent estate.

Entertaining many guests which included ex-Premiers of Qld; Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Hon Mike Ahern, along with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, a team of powerful high-level Russian space scientists and executives, and an ex-US Deputy Under Secretary of State, Rivermead Estate has always been alive with activity. As the venue for VIP guests following World Expo 88, as well as the host to Polo tournaments and a World Cup Show Jumping event, the property has continuously thrived on versatility, energy and enterprise.

Overlooking two polo fields and horses quietly grazing in the meadows, the family and their guests would often spend time on the expansive verandah, enjoying the cool afternoon breeze or watching for impending storms that would offer sweet relief from the Queensland humidity.

Always about providing generous space, John built Rivermead House to be luxurious, yet authentic and relaxed. Offering plenty of room for his children and their friends to explore on and around the property, it would be no surprise to see a treehouse being built, a game of tennis being hotly contested or a canoe race underway along the river.

Structurally very similar to the initial build, today’s Rivermead House has kept many of its original features including the fireplaces in each bedroom, the internal staircase, and the intricate window frames, replacing 6,000 panes with new glass.

A special and meaningful ‘serendipity’ property to John, Carole, their family and friends, they would take immense pleasure in a long walk around the estate, to find ‘that moment’. The sunlight filtering through the macadamia trees, summer storms moving in over the fields, birds flocking to the lake, or horses galloping freely across the paddock. It’s these moments and experiences that are at the heart Rivermead Estate, forming the magic that must be seen to be believed.


The Origin of Rivermead House
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1 Caballo Road
Guanaba, Queensland 4210

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