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  • 600351
  • 23 Rupert Street, Windsor


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Residential: Villa
6.4 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Dwellings
Addison, George Henry Male
Young, John William
Construction periods
1888–1889, Kirkston (1888 - 1889)
1888–1889, Kirkston - Main house (1888 - 1889)
1888–1900, Kirkston - Service wing (1888 - 1900s early)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


23 Rupert Street, Windsor
Brisbane City Council
-27.42776578, 153.03071878


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Kirkston, erected in 1888-89, is significant as an ornate and substantially intact example of domestic architecture on the grand scale in Brisbane during the 1880s, with the opulence in form and finish reflecting the boom era mentality.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

It is a most accomplished building in design, features, finishes, materials, construction and setting, illustrating the principal characteristics of its type. Kirkston is important as a major early example of the domestic work of architect GHM Addison in Brisbane, the innovative design heralding subsequent Federation period building styles, and as evidence of the skill of builder John William Young.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The place is significant for its landmark quality and aesthetic contribution to the Windsor-Lutwyche townscape, and for its association with several of Brisbane's more prominent families and entrepreneurs.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

The place is significant for its landmark quality and aesthetic contribution to the Windsor-Lutwyche townscape, and for its association with several of Brisbane's more prominent families and entrepreneurs.


This substantial, two-storeyed brick residence was constructed in 1888-9 for John Henry Flower, a Brisbane solicitor and co-founder of the still prominent legal firm of Flower & Hart.

Flower acquired the hilltop site of just over 7 acres [2.8 hectares] in 1885. He commissioned respected Brisbane architect George Henry Male Addison [formerly of Melbourne] to design the hilltop home, and in 1888 raised a mortgage of £4,000 on the property.

Addison advertised for tenders in mid-1888, and a contract for £3,459 was let to Brisbane builder John William Young on 17 July.

Young worked rapidly, employing an average of 50 to 70 men throughout the construction period. Foundations and cellar were commenced in early September and within four months the roof was being slated. By late April 1889 the elaborately decorated interior was sufficiently ready for furniture to be moved in [some had been specially built to complement interior finishes], and in June the Flower family took up residence.

The name of the house was derived from that of Flower's wife, Dora Kirk.

Although John Flower died c1918, the family remained at Kirkston for over 50 years. In the early 1930s the site was subdivided amongst Flower's heirs and the house was bequeathed to Rupert Wickham Flower.

Richard Henry Trotter purchased the house on just over half an acre [.2 hectare] in 1941, and apart from three years during the early 1940s when it housed an American military intelligence unit, Kirkston has remained a family residence. One of the more flamboyant of recent owners was Paddy John Stephens of Paddys Markets fame at Teneriffe [1982-7].

Kirkston remains a local landmark, with the early occupants commemorated by the local street names of Flower and Rupert.


Kirkston is a large two-storeyed brick residence with an attached single-storeyed service wing. It occupies a prominent hilltop position, with the roof line visible from many parts of suburban Lutwyche-Windsor.

The core, which is capped by a complex slate-clad roof of steeply pitched hips and gables, accommodates a number of truncated wings in the design.

Foundations are of cement and the face work of Hendra brick is protected by a damp course.

Wide verandahs to three sides are supported by chamfered timber posts with capitals and brackets, and feature fine cast-iron balustrading and a deep lattice frieze.

Fire escapes have been added, and an early garage of lesser quality has been attached to the northeast wall.

The main house comprises entrance vestibule, stair hall, living and dining rooms, study, library, breakfast room (with cellar below), and strongroom on the ground floor, and six bedrooms and two bathrooms on the first floor. Extra kitchens and bathrooms have been added throughout the house since the original construction.

Distinguishing the interior is a lavish use of stained glass and timber, including English oak and walnut, Tasmanian blackwood and Queensland greasenut. Leadlighting in the ceiling above the stair hall and around the front door is of particular note, as are the timber dado panelling, fireplace surrounds and overmantels in the principal rooms, particularly those in the dining room. A skylight has been installed in the roof over the stair hall to illuminate the glass ceiling.

A half-screen in timber and glass divides the dining and living rooms, and the bay window opening to the southern verandah is separated from the main part of the living room by double arches supported by a slender central timber column. Several of the rooms retain the original wallpaper and friezes, those of the drawing room being especially ornate and intact.

The service extension also is of brick, but the design is Gothic with attic rooms. Two rooms were added to this wing early in the twentieth century.

Two huge weeping figs and the original gateposts remain at the corner of Flower and Palmer Streets. These are included within the citation, although alienated from the house by later subdivisions.

Image gallery


Location of Kirkston within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022