Dr. Robert McBurney, the first surgeon-superintendent of the Mackay District Hospital, made many land purchases following his arrival in Mackay in 1869.
In 1872, he bought four hectares immediately north of Balmoral Plantation, and later built a country residence there. His wife, Maria Emma McBurney (nee Palmer), recorded that the name of the house "Kaliguil" was the aboriginal name for the large freshwater lagoon nearby.
A capable artist, Mrs. McBurney noted and painted the blue waterlilies that flourished on the lagoon, as well as the interesting pandanus with its fibrous fruit.
The verandahs of the high-blocked Kaliguil were characterised by distinctive balustrading of sunburst pattern, interspersed with panels in geometric designs. Cooling vines moderated the effects of the western sun. An inside skillion kitchen was unusual for the era. The gable of the outside bathroom and servants quarters featured a small dove-cote.