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 financial 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 were maintained, in relation to the fine houses, gardens and settings, “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 1936 Leo Garton Catt purchased just over twenty perches of land on Percival Terrace, Holland Park. Catt was a successful solicitor in Brisbane from the 1930s well into the 1980s. His legal firm, L. G. Catt and Co., had their chambers at 180 Queen Street in the Brisbane CBD. In May 1936 plans for the construction of a new ‘brick and tile’ house were approved by Brisbane City Council. Later that year, Leo Catt married Miss Alma Hazel Forbes. The couple were popular in the Brisbane social pages with articles and photographs of the wedding featured in several newspapers. The newly wed Catts were also featured in the social pages as they left for their honeymoon in September 1936. As this was taking place, their new family home was being constructed on Percival Terrace.
As befits a socialite couple, the design of the new house was very fashionable for the time. Catt commissioned prominent Brisbane architectural firm, Blackburne and Gzell, to design the house. Godfrey Blackburne and Vitaly Gzell established their practice in Brisbane in 1934, continuing their partnership until 1953. Blackburne had earlier received the student gold medal of the Queensland Institute of Architects in 1931. The firm became known for their designs in the latest Interwar styles and designed some of Brisbane’s most fashionable Interwar residences; including several ‘Old English’ and ‘Spanish Mission’ designs in suburbs such as Ascot, Clayfield, Coorparoo, Graceville, St. Lucia and Holland Park.
The subject house was near completion by November 1936 and a large photograph was included in the Telegraph under the headline, “Ideal Home for the Future”. Although the article was about an exhibition showcasing the latest building trends and fashions, the caption beneath the photograph of the house read, “The half-timbered effect has been used to advantage in the new home of Mr. and Mrs. Catt, in Percival Street, Holland Park”. This illustrates how modern and well-designed the house was.
In March 1937 the home was featured in a large article in the Sunday Mail’s ‘The Home’ section. Both the exterior and the interior were described with a focus on the modern and well-designed architecture designed by Blackburne and Gzell. By 1937 the Catts were residing in the Percival Terrace house and continued to be often mentioned in the Brisbane social pages.
Leo and Alma Catt resided in the house into the 1980s. The Catt family retained the property until 1997 when it was sold.