As the large farm holdings were subdivided in the 1920s and 30s, various land estates were created in the area, including the Stonehaven Heights estate. Marketed at those with means, the estate took advantage of the high position of what was then known as Mount Pleasant and its high ridgeline which afforded views from all directions. The estate was extensively advertised in the mid to late 1930s in the Brisbane newspapers:
Stonehaven Heights, Mount Pleasant, 57 Ideal Home Sites, Amidst Delightful Surroundings and Modern Bungalows; the estate is one of Brisbane’s beauty spots, and is conveniently situated … with glorious panoramic views of the city and mountains … right in the track of the cool summer breezes, and every modern convenience – water, electric light, gas, and telephone
Stonehaven Heights estate was promoted as being close to the tramline, public school and parks. By the late 1930s the majority of lots had been sold and suburban development had transformed the estate. A series of large, architect designed homes were built on the ridgeline amongst more modest but aesthetically pleasing houses creating one of Brisbane’s most sought after residential addresses.
In May 1939 Stonehaven Heights was featured in the Telegraph’s ‘Better Homes’ section under the heading “A Colony of Character Homes”. The feature highlighted the efforts made by all the property owners in the estate to ensure the aesthetics of the estate in relation to the fine houses, gardens and settings, were maintained, “the object is to encourage each home whether small or large to give atmosphere to its neighbour and therefore build to an idea”. The article described the wide range of architectural designs in the estate such as Spanish Mission and English Revival, “It is a pleasure to drive amongst these well-planned and maintained homes … those people who own homes on Stonehaven Heights are to be congratulated”.
In 1939 Oliver Kenneth McAnulty and his wife, Clarice Dulcie McAnulty, purchased just over thirty perches of land on a prominent corner site bounded by Abbotsleigh and Wilbur streets and across the road from the Holland Park State School. Oliver McAnulty was recorded as both a cheese manufacturer at one time and a merchant another. In March 1939 McAnulty had plans approved for his new Stonehaven Heights house. He commissioned eminent Brisbane architect, E.P. Trewern to design the home.
Victorian trained Eric Percival Trewern established his Brisbane architectural practice in 1920 at an address in Queen Street, Brisbane. The practice continued until Trewern’s death in 1959. The height of his design success occurred in the interwar period and he is renowned for his innovative designs incorporating the Spanish Mission and the Old English/Tudor revival style in residential and commercial architecture. Amongst his finest residential designs is the New Farm house “Santa Barbara” that is considered the best example of the Spanish Mission style in Brisbane. Trewern designed many commercial buildings in central Brisbane many of which no longer exist. One important extant building is the Inchcolm Professional Chambers on Wickham Terrace. Trewern was an active member of many prestigious architectural societies in the pursuit of improving professional architectural standards in Queensland.
Trewern’s design for the McAnulty home was influenced by the English Revival style, which was very fashionable at the time and reflected the status and style of the new residents of the estate. By March 1940 the house had been completed and the design of both the exterior and interior was featured in the Sunday Mail under the headline “Furnishings Maintain Dignity of Style – New Home at Holland Park”. The article goes on to describe the way the interiors have been designed to reflect the ‘old English’ style of the exterior, “In this new Holland Park house, which was designed by E. P. Trewern, architect, the furnishing and whole interior decoration is in keeping with the English tradition so apparent in its architectural style” The completed house made a striking contribution to the Stonehaven Heights streetscape.
The McAnulty family lived in the house for the next five years and in 1945 sold the property to Sir William Flood Webb. Webb was a highly significant figure in Australian history and made major contributions to the legal profession. In the early twentieth century he studied law at the University of Queensland and passed the bar examination in 1913. In the 1920s he was appointed as Queensland Solicitor-General and then as a Queensland Supreme Court judge and President of the Court of Industrial Arbitration. In 1940 until 1946 Webb became Chief Justice for Queensland and was appointed to several Royal Commissions. He was appointed in 1946 as a Justice of the High Court of Australia, a position he held until 1958 when he retired.
In 1943, Webb was commissioned by the Australian Government to investigate whether the Japanese military forces were carrying out atrocities and breaches of warfare. His 1944 report was presented to the government, “Summary of the Report on Japanese Atrocities and Breaches of the Rules of Warfare” and was the first of three commissions given to Webb to investigate Japanese war crimes during the war. He presented his findings in 1944 to the United Nations War Crime Commission in England.
At the end of the war Webb was appointed as the President and as Australia’s member of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Described by Webb as the most “important criminal trial in all history”, he was one of only nine (and later eleven) international judges appointed to the tribunal. The purpose of the tribunal was to carry out the trials of accused Japanese war criminals. Over a period of two years, twenty-eight high ranking military and political leaders were put on trial. Seven were sentenced to death and hanged on 23 December 1948, another sixteen were given life sentences in prison. As President of the tribunal, it was Sir Webb’s responsibility to pronounce the sentences.
On return to Australia, Webb continued to serve as Justice of the High Court of Australia until his retirement in 1958. In 1942 he was created a Knight Bachelor and in 1954 appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1954. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Queensland in 1967 for his outstanding contribution to jurisprudence.
Throughout his time involved in the internationally important war trails, the house at 141 Abbotsleigh Street was the family home. Sir Webb moved out of the home in the late 1960s and his son, William Kevin Webb resided in the house. The property remained in the Webb family until the 1980s.