Bretts timber sawmill at Windsor, Brisbane circa 1920's
Bretts have been talking timber and hardware for over 100 years. In the 21st Century, Bretts is structured around five major divisions, each one stemming from our timber and hardware origins.
Bretts has been part of the Queensland building landscape for over a century. In 1918 B.C Brett & Co was established and shortly after purchased Brisbane Sawmills, the largest sawmill in Brisbane that operated on the former site of Bretts Timber & Hardware on Newmarket Road in Windsor.
Bretts draws on the experience and knowledge built up over the past 100 years, to offer builders and tradespeople the most comprehensive range of timber and building materials in the State.
Bretts remains a staunch independent in today’s rapidly changing market. And while flexible enough to diversify where necessary Bretts sticks rigidly to values that reflect the importance of tradition, quality and family.
Trade Timber & Hardware
Bretts offers one of the largest ranges of building products and general hardware in Brisbane. We're talking everything from kitchen and bathroom products, windows and doors, decking and flooring, door handles and locks, to major electrical appliances, paint, trade tools, fasteners and sealants, structural and decorative timber and other building materials.
For more than 100 years, Bretts has supplied the domestic and commercial building industry with a vast range of building materials, Of course, we also have specialist staff available who will be happy to talk you through your options - from slab hardware through to roofing and everything in-between.
Operating from seven sites, Geebung is home to our manufacturing facility and our trade distribution centre. We also operate our five trade stores including a dedicated plumbing business at Narangba.
Read more about our trade products, Bretts Trade
Trade Plumbing Supplies
Bretts are members of Plumbing Plus, a national plumbing supply group with over 160 plumbing stores across Australia. Bretts trade plumbing business at Narangba offers solutions to plumbers and builders for residential, commercial and civil projects. Products are sourced from around the world to bring a very competitive mix to suit any project budget.
Bretts have recently opened Studio B at the Rode Rd Chermside site, a dedicated Selection Centre to help consumers choose from the very best in bathroom fittings and appliances. Displays include iconic brands like: Villeroy & Boch, Caroma, Hansa, Clark, Dorf, Astra Walker, Decina as well as a complete range of aluminium windows, doors and door hardware.
Read more about our bathware and appliance products, Bathware and Appliances
Commercial Hardware & Locksmiths
Bretts Architectural Hardware is Brisbane’s oldest commercial hardware supplier, having supplied the domestic and commercial building industry with a vast range of architecturally designed hardware products. Commercial supplies everything required for a door in the way of locks and hardware fittings, including full Locksmith workshop and a team of qualified Locksmiths. In addition to this, the commercial hardware division can also supply a full complement of washroom equipment and PWD hardware. We also have specialist Architectural staff available to help project manage large commercial jobs.
Read more about our commercial hardware products, Commercial Hardware
Aluminium Windows & Doors
Bretts have been manufacturing AWS Vantage & Elevate Commercial series for over 12 years, and are now Queensland's only Sales Partner for the unique bespoke architectural Swiss Sky-Frame system, and Belgium's Reynaers systems for high-end residential buildings.
Sky-Frame and Reynaers systems are European designed, these exceptional architectural systems combine a minimalist design with advanced engineering to allow for significantly larger panels. They also feature concealed top and bottom frames to create a seamless transition between indoors and out.
Our high-quality, made-to-order aluminium joinery products have solutions for a wide range of applications. The products are extremely low maintenance, never needing to be painted or stained, and will not warp or shrink like timber. Depending on your design application there is an endless choice of colours, sizes and styles available.
The ranges encompass a full array of configurations. Doors include: Sliding, Stacking and Pivot. Windows include; Double Hung, Awning, Casement, Bi-fold, Louvre, Sashless and Fixed. To complete our offer we have matching ranges of insect and security screens.
Our team of professionals are highly trained with extensive industry experience allowing Bretts to help from design and installation to after-sales service.
Read more about our aluminium joinery products, Windows and Doors
Believe it or not, the more timber you use in your new home, the greener it will be. The production of timber products used to build a house actually results in far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than in the manufacture of comparative concrete, steel, brick, tile or aluminium components. And trees store carbon too. So by building with as much timber as possible, you are actually sequestering carbon and preventing it from escaping as harmful CO2.
Bretts continue to commission new equipment for the Frame & Truss plant in order to keep up with demand and ensure we maintain the most up to date, state-of-the-art technology. With a dedicated estimating and detailing team on site, you can also be sure that plan take-offs are accurately and seamlessly transferred into quotation, and ultimately, finished products.
Read more about our timber frame and truss products, Frame & Truss
Bretts also offer a total solution for steel construction, utilising the latest technology to pre-fabricate house frames and trusses for residential and commercial applications. A building frame manufactured by Bretts from TRUECORE® steel is strong, straight and precise; it won’t twist or warp over time and won’t catch fire. What's more, it’s termite proof.
Our machinery is the latest and best on the market, providing efficient and effective framing solutions. The roll forming machinery we use is fully integrated with production software to ensure precision and accuracy during the manufacturing and assembly process. Our system is fully automated, which means no manual cutting or punching required, resulting in very simple frame assembly.
Using these prefabrication technologies, Bretts have value added to also provide a turn-key modular solution for Builders and consumers alike.
Discover the Bretts advantage, we use the latest technology & knowhow to design & fabricate frame & trusses faster & cheaper.
Read more about our steel prefabrication Steel frames
BC Brett & Co is formed in 1918 and a Pine sawmill established at Emu Vale near Warwick.
Brisbane Sawmills (founded in 1912) on Newmarket Road, Windsor is acquired by Bretts in 1921.
1923 Brett & Company was incorporated and a head office set up in Eagle Street, Brisbane city.
The first Hardware store opened in 1926 at Grey Street and further land is purchased at Windsor bringing total area to 35 acres (incorporating what is now Downey Park).
Bretts Wharf is constructed and the first vessel, the 11,628 oil tanker MV Australia, docks in 1929.
Yarraman Pine Pty Ltd (a Hoop Pine sawmill) is purchased in 1932 from the Queensland Government in a consortium that included Finlaysons Timber.
60 perches of land is purchased in 1936 on the corner of Ernest and Grey Streets, South Brisbane to house the newly formed steel division.
Within days of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour; Bretts Wharf is requisitioned by the US Army and not returned to the company until 1946.
Inglewood Sawmills Pty Ltd, a Cypress sawmill still operating today, is purchased in 1946.
Bretts Timber Agencies Pty Ltd established 1949 with a warehouse in Sydney to wholesale the growing range of Bretts manufactured timber products in the southern states.
In the early 1950’s more land and buildings are acquired in Merrivale Street, South Brisbane, to house the expanding steel division.
The Glass department is established in 1954 at Windsor.
Bretts Emu Vale Sawmill 1918 - Bretts Hardware South Brisbane 1920's
Bretts Brisbane Sawmill at Newmarket Windsor 1920's
Bretts Grey Street 1920's - Head office Mary Street Brisbane 1950's
In 1966 Bretts installed the largest and most advanced Plywood manufacturing machinery in Australia at a cost of over $350,000 (around $3.3 million in today’s terms).
Hardware stores commenced trading 1970 at Indooroopilly and Brookside shopping centres.
Flooding in 1974 inundated large parts of the Windsor property incurring over half a million dollars worth of damage, as well as massive damage to South Brisbane hardware store.
Distribution is further increased in 1976 with the opening of another hardware store in Wharf Street, Ipswich.
The last four blocks from the old ply mill on the northern side of Newmarket Road at Windsor are sold in 1980.
The Wharf closes in 1983 and construction commences for redevelopment into the iconic Bretts Wharf Apartments.
In 1985 the decision is made to dispose of small hardware stores, including, Indooroopilly, Brookside, Capalaba, Loganholme, Ipswich, Coorparoo and develop two major stores on either side of town to combat the likely arrival of warehouse retailers. The Grey Street Hardware store and head office are demolished and relocated to make way for World Expo ‘88.
Bretts further expansion into manufacturing saw the acquisition of specialist timber processor, Mouldings Pty Ltd at Underwood in 1989.
Around the same time, Robco equipment at Townsville and Cairns are purchased along with Caboolture Building Supplies.
Bretts Steel division is sold to Metalcorp in 1998.
All hardware stores, excluding Windsor, are sold to Hudson’s Building Supplies 1999.
The year 2000 sees the Windsor site redeveloped into the Homezone Retail Centre and the freehold is ultimately sold to the ING Property Trust, with Bretts as the anchor tenant.
The Ripping SawBench in action at Windsor circa 1970
Bretts Grey street hardware 1930's and 1974 duri ng the floods
Bretts Steel at Acacia Ridge
In 2005 the Nutting family purchase the remaining shares not owned by them in a friendly take-over.
In 2007 Bretts Frame & Truss is established & the Bretts Architectural showroom is established to provide Brisbane with its only complete Architectural product selection centre.
2012 Marks 100 years of continuous operation at Windsor
In 2013 all manufacturing businesses are relocated to one 8 acre site at Geebung.
In 2016 a dedicated trade plumbing store opens at Narangba along with another new trade store at Caboolture.
Two more stores open in 2017 at Geebung and Wynnum (previously Mortons Hardware).
2018 was a very busy year for Bretts, with the buy back of the old Coorparoo store from Hudsons, the commissioning of a steel roll forming plant to produce steel frames and trusses and the commencement in production of Sky-Frame and Brettstar windows and doors. 2018 also saw the relocation of the Rocklea trade store to bigger premises at Browns Plains.
In 2019 Chermside Mitre 10 including 5 acres of freehold land is acquired, renovated and rebranded Bretts in preparation for the Windsor exit. Commercial Architectural Hardware including Locksmiths, relocate to new premises at Albion. Bretts also commence manufacturing Prefabricated Modular Homes and showcase at the 2019 Brisbane Home show.
After more than 100 years trading on the site, the Windsor Trade business including Admin and Head Office relocate to Chermside in early pre-Covid 2020.With all the uncertainty that the Covid pandemic created, survival mode prompted the consolidation of the network, with the Geebung & Wynnum stores consolidated into Chermside and Coorparoo respectively.
2021 sees the expansion of Bretts Trade Plumbing to distribution from the Browns Plains trade store.
In 2022, a joint venture between Bretts Trade Plumbing and K&R Plumbing supplies is established and the new entity purchases Express Plumbing supplies at Alderley.
Brisbane Fasteners is also purchased in 2022 providing Bretts with a greatly expanded range of trade fasteners and engineering supplies.
To be continued…
Inglewood Cypress Sawmill & Bretts Timber and Hardware Brookside
Bretts Glass, Banyo - Bretts Steel yard at MacGregor
Bretts Hamilton Wharves under construction - An early timber delivery
Manufacturing Frames, Trusses, Windows, Doors & Tiny Homes at Geebung
Bretts Chermside Trade Timber & Hardware
Brisbane Fasteners at Brendale - Commercial Hardware and Locksmiths at Albion
Bretts tiny homes display at Chermside and a WheelHouse 8.5 Tiny Home on Wheels
Let's talk community
As a business that's been operating in Brisbane since 1918, Bretts understands the value of building solid and lasting relationships with the people who operate in our local community. And we aim to have a positive impact on the broader community.
We like to contribute in different ways, including providing donations and in-kind support, and contributing to programs that deliver targeted social benefits. However, underpinning our community efforts programme is a sponsorship portfolio that focuses on providing regular support to local schools and other community groups in our own neighbourhood.
Let's talk environment
Thanks to climate change, green building is firmly on the agenda. While some say that greener building practices are being driven by regulations rather than consumers, other studies show that demand is building amongst consumers. And this demand for more sustainable solutions will increase as more "Generation Y's" enter the housing market.
So is there an economic benefit to designing and building greener homes? Recent research says there is, with one US study of home builders finding that, nationwide, over 80 percent of home-seekers prefer to buy homes that incorporate sustainable or energy-efficient features. And of those buyers, half are willing to pay between 11 - 25 percent more for environmentally friendly homes. (Source: "Green House Effect" Can Boost Sales Price for Home Sellers, Building Online, 7 March 2007).The various state energy efficiency and building rating systems have been under the microscope over the past two years. In March 2006 it became law in Queensland for new houses to be more sustainable by ensuring they use water and energy more efficiently. The desired result is that new houses will use 33 percent less electricity and up to 36 percent less water. And further changes in regulations and tougher restrictions are likely to follow.