Friday, February 22, 2013

Windermere, Ascot

In terms of Brisbane's stately homes, they don't come much more stately than this one. Built around the mid-1880s, the residents of the house over the ensuing decades would read like a Who's Who of Brisbane's well-to-do. Situated in the prestigious suburb of Ascot, the imposing residence is now largely hidden from the view of passers-by, thanks to the magnificent garden and mature trees surrounding the property. I couldn't really find a way to photograph it as it stands today, so this clip from Google Maps will have to do. 
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If you look closely above the ornate gate-posts you can just make out a corner pavilion that stands at the southern end of the residence. The next photo is from around 1979 and it provides a much better view of the layout of the house - the pavilion is offset by the bay at the opposite end of the structure.
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(Photo: © 1979 National Trust of Queensland; J Hogan & R Stringer)

The house was originally built for Ruth Appel, the wife of JG Appel (lawyer, pastoralist, politician) and daughter of pastoralist James Sutherland who owned the land. It is believed that Richard Gailey was the architect. John George Appel was a descendent of a Huguenot family that came to Australia and was the Home Secretary from 1909 to 1915. The photograph of Windermere below comes from the Appel family archives and shows a woman holding a small child on the left and the front of a motor car can be seen at the right. Upon his death, Appel was remembered as a big-hearted, simple gentleman who was honourable, generous and kindly to a fault.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #27279-0001-0001)

Other Queensland notables who have lived in this house include Dr Ellis Murphy who was Professor of Medicine at University of Queensland and knighted in 1962. His wife was the daughter of prominent businessman and Papal Knight TC Beirne. Subsequently the TJ Cottee family (beef cattle); Robert Bentley (accountant and long-term chairman of Racing Queensland) and the late Peter Maloney (Ariadne Corp) have resided here at various times.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. So interesting! I love hearing about all the different residents over time.

    Thanks again for another wonderful story!

    1. Thanks! I love this house too!

      It's just a pity that it cannot be seen from the street.


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