In 1867 architect James Johnstone Barnet, his wife Amy and their six children moved from elsewhere in Glebe into a new two-storey home designed by Barnet and built by his own stonemasons. Braeside, named for Barnet’s Scottish heritage, was the birthplace of two more sons. The Barnets, who worshipped at the Glebe Presbyterian Church, kept pets including a magpie, an Italian greyhound, a Skye terrier and a kangaroo..
Soon after migrating from London in 1854, Barnet worked with Edmund Blacket on Sydney University’s Great Hall, designing and colouring the carvings on its cedar ceiling. As Colonial Architect from 1865 he completed thousands of projects: defence works, lighthouses, courthouses, jails, post offices and police stations. His Sydney legacy includes sandstone government department buildings and the General Post Office in the city, the Mortuary Station, Macquarie Lighthouse and Callan Park. Barnet designed Glebe’s courthouse, police station, post office and its first fire station. He conceived, designed and built the Garden Palace in less than nine months.
Following Barnet’s death in 1904 his architect son Thomas lived in Braeside until 1907. The estate was then subdivided and put up for auction. Wicker furniture makers Paine Bros were there briefly before Grace Bros erected a five-storey furniture depository along the Ross Street frontage in 1912. By the outbreak of war Braeside had been demolished.
Grace Bros Horse Stables, Grace Bros Service Station, a Mobil Service Station and Taylor Bros, makers of cardboard boxes and handkerchiefs, occupied the site, later dominated by an Officeworks store.