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While in Brisbane, General George H. Brett lived at one of Brisbane's finest residences, "Braelands", at Bellevue Parade, Taringa. Apparently William Sydney "Billy" Robinson had secured "Braelands" for General Brett.


Photo AWM:- ID Number: 011744

Lt. Gen. George H. Brett


"Braelands" was commandeered from Miss Helen "Ivy" Bannister Philp, whose aunt and uncle, Helen and James Forsyth, were the previous owners. When the house was commandeered, "Ivy" moved to the neighbouring suburb to stay with her eldest sister, Miss Isabella Mary ("May") Philp, at "Mallow", in Kensington Terrace, Toowong. "Mallow" had belonged to their late father, Sir Robert Philp, a former Premier of Queensland. "Mallow", which burned down in 1971, is now the site of Brisbane Boys' College. Prue Firth told me most of her Auntie Ivy's glassware failed to survive the war!


Photo:- State Library of Queensland - Image number 151937

Left to right:- Jessie Campbell and her husband Victor Campbell with his first cousin Ivy Philp


In 1883 that James Burns went into partnership with his former employee Robert Philp to form Burns Philp & Co. Helen Morrison Campbell Forsyth, married wife of James Forsyth, company director and politician on 13 January 1882. They had no children. When Sir Robert's Philp's wife Jessie (Helen Morrison's Campbell's sister) died in 1890, James and Helen Forsyth looked after Sir Robert's youngest daughter, Helen Bannister (Ivy) Philp.


Photo:- State Library of Queensland
Image Number:162776

Helen Morrison Campbell Forsyth wife of James Forsyth


Photo:- State Library of Queensland
Image Number: 143191

James Forsyth 1852 - 1927


Brett was given a farewell cocktail party at "Braelands" on the evening of 3 August 1942. General George C. Kenney attended the party. Brett had been given the Silver Star Medal earlier that day by General Douglas MacArthur. High ranking officers from the American and Australian, land, sea and air forces along with some representatives from GHQ attended the farewell party for Brett.

"Billy" Robinson was a  member of the Evatt missions to London and Washington between 1942 and 1945. Mr. "Billy" Robinson and Mr. A. J. Smith, members of Dr. Evatt’s mission to Washington met with General Douglas MacArthur in Melbourne on 16 July 1942.

It is believed that "Braelands" was used by the US Army Air Force for a number of years after General Brett left in August 1942.  It is believed that a number of officers occupied the house.

General Ralph Royce travelled to Brisbane on 17 August 1942 and after visiting GHQ, SWPA in the AMP building, he caught up with Colonel John K. Gowan Jr. at his house Braelands and finally to Ashton Hall at 118 Bonney Ave., Clayfield for dinner with a number of War Correspondents.

The original "Braelands" used by General Brett is no longer there. "Ivy" Philp built a new house below the original house fronting on to Indooroopilly Road and called it "Braelands". It is believed that the old "Braelands" became a hostel, Primmer Lodge, run by the Wesley Mission. There is now a townhouse development on the site of the original "Braelands".

The original "Braelands" was built in 1886 for the Honourable Walter B. Wilson and was named "Wilcelyn". The Architect who designed "Wilcelyn" was Richard Gailey who had his offices in Queens Street.


Via Peter Perros

Advertisement from The Brisbane Courier, Sat 2 October 1886, page 7


State Library of Queensland - Image Number:- 96038

13 December 1890? Auctioneers map of South Toowong. "Wilcelyn" can be seen at right hand side of the plan.
Note that "Bellevue" is spelt "Belle Vue" on this plan. Ellerslie House can also be seen on the plan.


Prue Firth is not sure when James Forsyth bought the house, but Prue has looked at the 1903 electoral roll, and Forsyth was living there by then and the house was called "Braelands". The following advertisement in the Brisbane Courier gives an indication of the size of what later became "Braelands":-

Brisbane Courier Monday 6 July 1891


TOOWONG -WILCELYN, the residence of
Hon W.H. Wilson, containing six main rooms,
kitchen, servants' rooms, bathrooms, pantries,
and out-offices, coachhouse and stables, 2 acres of
ground; rent very low to desirable tenant



I'd like to thank Noel Tunny and Peter Perros for their assistance with this web page.

I would also like to thank Prue Firth, the great niece of Miss Helen Bannister Philp, who owned "Braelands" when it was taken over by the military.



"General Kenney Reports - A Personal History of the Pacific War"
by George C. Kenney


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This page first produced 27 March 2005

This page last updated 24 January 2020