‘Top secret’ home at centre of WWII spying hits market
A landmark historic home, once the headquarters of the US Central Bureau, has hit the market and, boy, does it have some stories to tell.
Nyrambla, a grand hillside estate built in 1885 at 21 Henry Street, Ascot, was owned by Brisbane socialite Andree Daws.
Mrs Daws, who was married to acclaimed artist Lawrence Daws, remained in the historic property until her death in August this year.
The heritage-listed home was first bought by Mrs Daws's grandfather George Willoughby Whatmore in the 1920s and was converted into flats after he died in 1929.
During the Second World War it was requisitioned by the Allies and under General Douglas MacArthur became the central bureau for top-secret decoding of Japanese radio transmissions.
With what were at the time the forerunners to today's computers set up in Nyrambla's garage, they were used to crack enemy codes during the war, and in April 1943 intercepted and decoded a Japanese signal that lead to the ambush and death of Admiral Yamamoto, who
oversaw the attack on Pearl Harbour.
The bureau stayed in situ at Nyrambla until 1945.
When Mrs Daws married Lawrence, her fifth husband, in 2013 she turned part of Nyrambla into an art studio for him and he is still painting today, aged 93. His works hang in public collections around the world, including at the National Gallery of Australia, Tate Gallery in
London and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, and some of his paintings still adorn the walls of Nyrambla.
Since Mrs Daws's death her son, Rick Roberts, has lived at the property, which is now being sold through expressions of interest, closing December 11 at 4pm, through Dwight Ferguson and Rachael Spinks of Ray White, Ascot.
After just hours of hitting the market, Mr Dwight said he had had a number of inquiries and had shown three groups through the landmark home.
While he did not want to specualate on what the house would sell for, he said it was a very well known, historic property and he expected it to attract a lot of interest.
Originally published as 'Top secret' Brisbane home at centre of WWII spying hits market