Tuesday, May 15, 2012

La Trobe, East Brisbane

Oftentimes we find that a suburb or a street has been named after an early house or property in the area. Here's one that seems to have taken the reverse course, with the house being named after the street.

The street is Latrobe St in East Brisbane, and it was created when land originally owned by Rev Thomas Mowbray was subdivided during the 1880s. This house, called La Trobe, was owner-built around 1886 by William Henry Genn, who was described as a plumber, iron worker and wood carver.
(Photo: © 1982 National Trust of Queensland, F Bolt)

Genn reportedly carved much of the timber work in the Treasury Building. I haven't been able to find much more information about him except that by 1898 he was registered to vote as living in the suburb of Coorparoo, so he may possibly have sold La Trobe by then.

The house itself is different to the grander residences that had been built earlier in the area, such as Eskgrove and Hanworth. It was built using bricks from the Lutwyche brickyards, and has rather ornate window frames and door lintel visible in the photograph above. The two storey residence originally had four rooms on each level, but there may have been alterations to that configuration over time. Here is a current picture of the house.

(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

La Trobe is included on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. The wrought iron work looks perfectly Victorian and elegant. But what is that hanging down from the top veranda? It looks like a shade cloth, protecting the lower veranda, perhaps made of wood instead of something perishable. Very unusual.

  2. It's not shade cloth. I believe that it is timber that has been shaped in that fashion. Perhaps it is more decorative than functional.

  3. I have always loved this house since I was a teenager and I would seek it out on the rare occasion I was driven to school. As an adult amazingly I became friends with the current family who own the house and have enjoyed many evenings and many glasses of wine in the lovely courtyard that is at the rear of the house. I will have to tell them of the post. THey are English and the decor is very much in keeping with the house and their own heritage. cheers Katherine.

  4. That's terrific Katherine!

    Think of me next time you raise a glass there :-)

  5. Such a shame to see that the brickwork has been painted. Tho as they are reversing the painted brickwork on the Sth Bris Railway Station, one day it might be too.

  6. This was my Great Grand Fathers house. Many years ago we had a family reunion of all the Genn’s at the nearby park.
    We went up and took a photo of my Dad in front of the house and the pic shows a ghostly figure of a woman on the verandah. We are sure it’s Dads Grand Mother as you could see detail on her dress that we later saw in an old portrait of her in her best dress. Jan Brown Nee Genn.


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