Famous Business: Brown and Broad, Newstead

Saturday, 28 May 2022 —— Enjoy the talk here.

On Breakfast Creek Rd near the gasometer once stood the venerable business of Brown and Broad, Newstead Homes (est. 1898). 

One of its founders was George Brown, a self-made businessman who was a pioneer of the Queensland timber industry. To tell us all about George and the business at the Society’s meeting in May will be George’s great-grandson, Boyd Brown.

The firm enabled Queenslanders to buy a ‘Queenslander kit home’, complete with a book of instructions — which began: “First peg out on the ground the positions of the corner stumps of the proposed building, as shown on the working drawing…”

Come and enjoy Boyd’s address at the meeting to be held at the Uniting Church Centre, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, at 2.30pm on Saturday, 28 May. A sumptuous afternoon tea will follow. $10 (members $5). All are welcome.

Enjoy the talk here.

7 thoughts on “Famous Business: Brown and Broad, Newstead”

  1. My father Kelvin Sydney James worked there for over 20 years until his retirement aged 65, sometime in the 1970’s.
    I believe he had a job slicing and matching veneer.
    My sister Shirley James also worked there.
    I was wondering if there were any records kept of when they started and finished.

    Thank you
    Robert James

    1. Desley Garnett

      Hi Robert

      I will pass your enquiry on to Boyd Brown and ask him to contact you. I hope you enjoyed the presentation

      kind regards

      Desley Garnett

  2. Rune Christiansen

    Hello, My name is Rune Christiansen son of Bendt Rudolph Christiansen. Reading up on some family history and i noticed correspondence from Brown and Broad. It turns out my father was the General Manager for North Queensland and specifically two mills. The letter of employment was dated 28.05.64 and signed by the then Managing Director E. Hancock I think???? The writing is a bit illegible. If you would like to contact me regarding this:

    1. Desley Garnett

      Hello Rune

      thank you for contacting us with this information. I will pass your comments on to Boyd Brown and to our historian who may want to contact you for further information.

      I hope you enjoyed Boyd’s presentation, particularly in the light of your family connection to the business.


      Desley Garnett
      President, NF&DHS

  3. Desley,
    My name is Alan Stamp and I worked at B&B in 1963>1964 after being transferred from Hancock &Gore at Ipswich Road. Stan Hancock was the CEO at that time with George Vallance as Manager and Don Revie as Sales manager? I started as assistant to the paymaster Mac— and can recall Earl Dunning as accountant, a driver named Jack who used to drive a grey Austin A40. We used to play serious cards ‘500’ most lunchtimes. I learned a lot about timber and plywood products manufacture. My daily round of saw, peeling, planing/slicing mills, gluing, sanding sections collecting time sheets and production reports. Making up cash wages payroll was a a rewarding exercise, particularly
    when you had no tenbob notes or small silver or copper left over. If you were short it meant a troll through a hundred or so pay packets until you found some lucky bugger who had more than he should have had. There was also a payroll made up for Roy Cook who ran a team of painters and dockers and ships carpenters servicing shipping at Hamilton and Bretts wharves. Roy would collect maybe 15-20 paypackets stick them inside his shirt under his jacket and make the rounds of the ships being worked upon. No way could you do this now. No ships and security nightmare. My dad wotked at Rheem in Bulimba an would drop me off to catch the ferry across the river for my trek past the wool stores through the railway yards past the gasometer and into B&B. So different now. My big break came when it was discovered that Mac— was running some phantom employees and given the push. New job for a 19yearold as Paymaster and 20 quid a week to boot. B&B was taken over by PGH industries Mid 64 and that left me without a job as they had a spare Certified accountant doing nothing. Stan hancock gave me a good bonus send off as I then started my 32 year Journey in the airline industry with Ansett ANA then Ansett in crew scheduling and operations. Back to 12 quid a week and later a wonderful career which started before jet aircraft started flying domestic schedules and finished soon after a magical 3 years working for/with Nikki Lauda in Vienna in the late 90’s. Such is reminiscing and the memories it brings and the joy of shating it with you. Kind Regards ,Alan Stamp…

    1. Desley Garnett

      Hello Alan

      So lovely to read your story Alan. It is an interesting picture of employment and wages as it was within our living memory. How old were you when you started work?
      Would it be OK with you if we used it as a ‘reminiscing piece’ in our newsletter? Do you regularly receive our newsletter?

      Kind regards


  4. Hi Desley,

    Glad you found my snippet of the past interesting. It was a formative part of my life and as you say ‘within our living memory’ is special.

    I attended Wynnum State High School to Senior and a start at Hancock & Gore came in Feb 1963 as a clerk at age 18 1/2. In the Ipswich road premises tucked up under the railway line as it was then but now the busway runs through the site.
    I can clearly recall a few things that we dont experience in that area of Newstead these days.
    The smell of the woolstores on a sunny summer morning, the smell of gas and steam from the goods yard and the wonderful smell of fresh cut timberfrom B&B as I walked to work from the ferry. Seeing traffic waiting while a flagman with his red flag lead a steam engine across the fiveways intersection and the tram lines, pushing wagons of logs into the yard. The different sounds and rythms of each machine in the mill. Huge saws and belt driven monster lathes that peeled the logs into a continuous strip. The whole complexity of machinery for a dedicated use straight out of the industrial revolution and controlled by a hands on workforce.. Men and women from a wide range of countries hard at work and the different languages and accents struggling to communicate against the cacophony of the machinery, and then the subdued sounds of chatter at knock off time as these workers punched their cards and walked out the gates with a wave and a tip of their hats. We rarely see that now as manufacturing industry wanes. Now as I fast approach my four score years
    and rarely pass through the Newstead area any more I still have a flush of pride when I look back to a time when you could see, and were part of, ‘stuff being made’!

    By all means use my words and memories as you wish. I was previously unaware of your organization but now please include me in your mailing list.

    I now live in Thornlands and don’t get to Brisbane very often but there are a few parts that haven’t changed much over the years.
    Alan Stamp.

    ps. Feel free to contact me directly if you wish. Question?- Do you remember the finicular that went up to Cloudland or even Cloudland itself? I have a friend now in his Nineties who had a dance band that played on the final night at Cloudland. Funny world eh!

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