Star-Studded Past: Historic Kinauld Residence in Highgate Hill and its Hollywood Guests

Steve and Jane Wilson, the couple behind the restoration of Lamb House in Kangaroo Point, has placed Kinauld, their historic Highgate Hill residence, on the market. This 1888-built home once played host to Hollywood powerhouse couple Vivien Leigh and her husband, Sir Laurence Olivier.

Nestled at 116 Dornoch Terrace, this iconic property is now up for grabs as the owners, corporate identities Steve and Jane Wilson, have decided to part ways with their beloved family home of over 35 years.

The Wilsons, known for their passion for historic homes, famously acquired Lamb House in Kangaroo Point in 2021 for a staggering $12.75 million. Following an extensive renovation, Lamb House is now almost ready for occupancy, prompting the couple to list their cherished Kinauld for sale.

Kinauld House
Photo Credit: Showcache/YouTube

Jane Wilson expressed that they thought of keeping both historical houses but “it just didn’t make sense.” So, they want a new family to enjoy their former home. 

Among the many memories the Wilsons hold dear at Kinauld was the celebration of Steve’s 40th birthday. Jane reminisced about the evening when a Frank Sinatra impersonator serenaded the guests while they danced on a specially constructed dancefloor over the pool. Steve, however, treasures the family milestones, such as christenings and barbecues at the home.

Photo Credit: Showcache/YouTube

But Kinauld has more to offer beyond the Wilsons’ cherished memories. According to Steve, the residence had the honour of hosting Hollywood legends Vivien Leigh, famous for her roles in “Gone with the Wind” and “A Street Car Named Desire,” and her husband, Sir Laurence Olivier, renowned for his performances in “Hamlet,” “Wuthering Heights,” and “Spartacus.” 

The Hollywood power couple visited the residence during their 1948 trip to Brisbane, adding a touch of stardom to Kinauld’s history.

1948: Queenslanders’ Starstruck Encounter with the Oliviers

Delving into the annals of history, we uncover the star-studded visit of Olivier and Leigh to Queensland in 1948. The famed Hollywood couple had come to Australia as lead actors with England’s prestigious The Old Vic theatre company, all thanks to the British Government’s gesture of gratitude for the countries’ wartime contributions.

On 20 June 1948, Olivier and Leigh landed at Archerfield aerodrome in Brisbane, embarking on a theatrical journey that would leave an indelible mark on the Antipodes. The couple had hoped for a peaceful break in Queensland to recharge their spirits after a series of demanding rehearsals and performances. However, the couple’s desire for solitude clashed with the starstruck Queenslanders’ enthusiasm.

Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

Their arrival in Brisbane was met with a mob of 200 eager fans, eager to catch a glimpse of the iconic couple. The constant fan vigil became overwhelming, leading the Oliviers to seek refuge in private accommodation. To assist them in their quest for seclusion, they turned to their “theatrical friend” Bob Geraghty, who recommended a private house. The sanctuary was to the couple’s liking.

Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

The Oliviers’ visit left an enduring imprint on Queensland’s history, showcasing the star power they possessed and the fervent admiration of their Australian fans.

Meanwhile, this historic Kinauld is now being marketed by Place New Farm. It is sure to attract the attention of potential buyers interested in owning a piece of Queensland’s glamorous past.

Published 1-Nov-2023