Gladswood House in Double Bay

by AF

Apartment 2, Gladswood House

Gladswood House is a 2-storey sandstone manor that has been converted into seven luxury apartments (four in the original house and three in the waterfront addition).

In 1856, merchant Edwin Thomas Beilby purchased a 99 year leasehold on the land from owner Daniel Cooper. Beilby sold the lease two years later to merchant, pastoralist and politician Samuel Deane Gordon for 800 pounds.

Gordon had architect William Munro design the home in a picturesque Gothic style that was favored on the Sydney foreshore. The house, which was originally called ‘Glenyarrah’ was ready to move into by 1864. Roman numerals for 1857 are carved into the stone lintel above the entrance. This date, however, is thought to refer to the date of the original lease to the land.

Some of Gordon’s personal touches included stained glass windows at the entrance which were made by Lyon, Cottier & Co and date from 1875. The bottom sash of the windows still contain Gordon’s monogram and motto ‘in doe fiducia set mia‘ (In God is my trust). Gordon lived in the house until his death in 1882. His daughter, Jessie Maria Gordon, inherited the estate and sub-let the property from 1883 to 1885.

The next owner was Thomas Hussey Kelly, a wool-broker and businessman. After sub-letting the house for two years, he purchased it in 1887 for 12,000 pounds. In 1901, he purchased the freehold title to the property. Upon Kelly’s death, the house passed to his son, Thomas Herbert.

In 1913, prominent flour miller and racehorse owner John Spencer Brunton purchased the house from the Thomas Kelly Jnr. The house was considered to have been in some state of disrepair or neglect, so Brunton engaged the services of architect Howard Joseland to carry out large-scale renovations and additions.

Brunton changed the name of the house to ‘Gladswood’ and had both his surname and the house’s name carved into the sandstone flagging of the floor within the entry vestibule where it can still be seen today. The name ‘Gladswood’ was an area in Scotland where the Brunton family originated from.

The ornate carved timber fireplace in the entrance was designed by Joseland and added by Brunton during his renovations. The house is also said to contain oak paneling from 14th century England.

The estate was originally a 3 acre block that fronted New South Head Road. In 1927, it was subdivided into 14 smaller ones. The current block is said to date from 1938. The Gladswood Garden road appears to have been the original circular driveway of the estate.

Brunton lived in the house until his death in 1937. It was then transferred to his sons John Moffitt Brunton and Thomas Gladswood Brunton who sold it to builder Frederick Louis Perini in 1938 for 10,500 pounds.

Perini converted the property into a multi-unit dwelling and leased it out as a guest house. It changed hands several times and was used as a guest house, ‘Old Ladies Home’ and a private hotel until 1988.

The house was listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1978. In 1998, the house was converted into flats.

Apartment 2

Apartment 2 is a 3-bedroom unit on the southern-side of the house. The master bedroom was possibly the original dining room / ballroom wing added during Brunton’s renovation and many of the original features such as paneling and a carved fireplace remain.

The dining and living area forms part of the modern addition to the property.

The price is not disclosed, but in 2010 a 4-bedroom apartment sold for $4.65 million.


11 Gladswood Garden, Double Bay, Sydney

Listing information and images via

NSW Government Environment & Heritage