A Queensland judge recuperating in Japan so appreciated the coolness and utility of the house in which he stayed, that he decided to buy one — and ship it back to Brisbane.

Within the year, three carpenters and two plasterers from Japan arrived to assemble the flatpack. This was brave of them since in those times, the Japanese Foreign Ministry warned its citizens that “Australia was so unknown and uncivilised that Japanese nationals travelling there risked being deceived and exploited.”

When the house’s assembly was accomplished, the judge surveyed with appreciation a single-storied dwelling of about 18m x 14.5m, which was raised off the ground, with an exterior of unpainted timber and white plaster, surmounted by a distinctive dark-tiled roof with elaborately carved end-tiles, and a step-down over the surrounding veranda.

This innovative architectural arrival, which was named Yeddo, was positioned on a sloping block overlooking the Brisbane River towards Kangaroo Point, bordered by Bowen Terrace, Langshaw Street and Gilbey Lane.

It became known locally as ‘the Japanese house’. Naturally, there is so much more to this remarkable story—and as a society we were to hear all about it in June, but then along came a pandemic.

Nevertheless, the proposed speaker, Brisbane writer/researcher Jill Barker , looks forward to speaking to the society when the viral dust has settled.

In the meantime, why not read her informative article about the house which appeared in the Griffith Review.“I would still like to give the talk,” says Jill. “There are other details and angles and images to the story that are not covered in the article.