Brent-Knowle on the market for first time in half a century

by AF

Brent-Knowle, Neutral Bay
Expressions of Interest

‘Brent-Knowle’ was built in 1914 for financier Major Joseph Henry Booker at a cost of 10,000 pounds (approximately $1 million in today’s terms). The house was designed by architect Bertrand James Waterhouse, and is considered one of his most important early works. Waterhouse designed a number of houses in Shellcove Road, which was one of Neutral Bay’s most select residential addresses.

“Waterhouse could be described as the Sydney equivalent of English architect C.F.A. Voysey, whose Arts and Crafts houses in England were widely admired in the early twentieth century. A typical Waterhouse residence featured asymmetrical, picturesque massing, strongly expressed roofs, usually with dominant gables; porches, balconies and verandahs; and at least one facetted oriel or bay external wall finish, together with areas of timber shingling or tile-hanging. Inside, the main rooms displayed timber wainscoting on the walls and heavy timber beams below the ceilings.” – NSW Government Environment and Heritage.

The house is described as a picturesque early 20th century gentleman’s residence in the Arts and Crafts style. The block originally extended down to the waterfront, but has since been subdivided. The house still retains its water views.

In 1917 it was sold to Herbert E. Pratten – a businessman and former Commonwealth Government Minister for Trade and Customs. Mr. Pratten named the house ‘Brent-Knowle’ after the district near Bristol, England where his family originated.

The Prattens lived in the house for over 30 years before selling it to Mr. C. Dexter Moore, who subdivided the land and built a modern house on the waterfront half of the site.

The home was later owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hodgkins, and in 1963 it was purchased by the Phillips family. It has been in the Phillips family for the past 50 years.

The house has 7 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, billiards room, paneled reception room, library, an attic (formerly the hay loft) and a maids room. The land is 1,320 sqm, and has access to a  waterfront jetty via an inclination.

The agent is seeking offers by expression of interest, with a November 8 deadline. It is expected to sell for over $6.5 million.

The neighboring house, Keynsham, on the southern side is also listed for sale. It last sold in 2004 for $4.5 million, and was listed for sale in 2012 with $8 million-plus hopes. The neighbor, Ailsa, on the northern side was designed by Waterhouse in 1908, and last sold in 2006 for $4.7 million.


31 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay, Sydney

Listing information and images from

“The old and the beautiful”, September 8, 2012.
Kurraba Point, Dictionary of Sydney, 2008.
NSW Government Environment & Heritage.