The historic Killara estate Wharncliffe, where the late mining magnate Lang Hancock momentously married his former maid Rose Lacson, is on offer with a $20 million guide.
The Georgian revival residence on 7500 square metres with a swimming pool and tennis court is one of the Upper North Shore’s most significant estates, which goes some way to explain its record price aspirations far and above the region’s $15 million record – set last year by the Bremon estate in Warrawee – and the $16.3 million exchange on a Killara residence that is expected to settle in the new year.
Wharncliffe was built in 1939 at a cost of £600 for metal merchant William George Wright to a design by architect Clifford Finch featuring its grand sandstone facade with a columned portico.
But beyond the marble foyer and circular staircase is an ornate ballroom where history was made when it was owned by Hancock’s lawyer Carnegie Fieldhouse, and who converted what was then an indoor pool into a temporary ballroom in preparation for the Hancock-Lacson nuptials.
Hancock’s daughter Gina Rinehart never made it to the happy event in 1985, but among Hancock’s friends and business associates who were in attendance was Perth land developer-turned real estate agent William Porteous, who watched Fieldhouse walk his future wife down the makeshift aisle.
In 1986 Fieldhouse sold the property for $2.6 million to developer Paul Petersen, who filled in the pool and turned the ballroom into a more permanent structure.
Hong Lu, a property developer from China and a director of Chinese-backed property developer Qiantang Investment Group, and his wife Jia Yan were drawn to Wharncliffe because it was of a similar character and scale to their home in Hangzhou.
Having bought it in 2010 for $7.8 million, the couple made headlines five years later when their DA to demolish the ballroom was knocked back, prompting council to heritage-list the property, all of which coincided with the telemovie House of Hancock that aired on Nine, starring Mandy McElhinney and Sam Neill.
A few years later a new DA was approved for alterations and additions to build above the ballroom and enclose the outdoor pool, but the work was never done, leaving the ballroom as it was when it last traded.
Given Lu and Yan’s plans to downsize to the eastern suburbs harbourfront (Boomerang, anyone?) they have listed it with The Agency’s Steven Chen and Michael Chen.
Attunga’s star departure
Actor Rose Byrne and her partner Bobby Cannavale have packed up and left their recently rented Woollahra home, Attunga Lodge, freeing it for a sale campaign and a December 4 auction.
The historic 1868-built residence is just the digs for visiting Hollywood stars thanks to the lavish Bill Shipton renovation of the mid-1980s, complete with Annie Wilkes garden, romantic sandstone terraces, meandering garden paths and a waterfall – all of which was brought up to contemporary high-end standards by the current owners, fintech founder and education investor Craig Carroll and his wife Kathryn.
Byrne’s return to her Sydney hometown was nicely timed to coincide with an influx of fellow Hollywood superstars this year, placing her a few doors away from Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky when they were renting Woodlands, although a fair hike from the Vaucluse digs where Natalie Portman and Isla Fisher were in residence at the same time.
Attunga Lodge was purchased by the Carrolls soon after their return from the United States in 2012, paying $4.6 million to Clemenger Group chairman Robert Morgan and his wife Vanessa.
Carroll, who sits on the board of Cranbrook School, has listed it with The Agency’s Ben Collier given talk the couple are relocating to Britain. The guide is $15 million.
Perth scion touches down on Facetime
Investment manager Ryan Lee, son of prominent Perth property tycoon and Emerald Oil and Gas chairman Simon Lee, has bought into Sydney’s high-end housing market – sight unseen – paying $11.5 million for contemporary digs in Dover Heights.
The ultra-contemporary residence was listed for more than $10 million with PPD’s Alexander Phillips, and a week later, Lee inspected it via FaceTime only to exchange on it three hours later.
Lee’s purchase was revealed on settlement this week, indicating a potential move to Sydney for the head of boutique investment company Meritus Capital and trustee of the family’s philanthropic Simon Lee Foundation. Meanwhile, the family home in Perth’s upmarket Nedlands has sold for more than $7 million.
Recruiter Jason Johnson and Portia Thomson – who purchased the Dover Heights home for $5.76 million in 2018 and commissioned a high-end renovation – have since moved to North Bondi, forking out $11,235,000 for the home of EverBlu dealmaker Adam Blumenthal and his wife Annabelle Shamir.
Shamir and Blumenthal have done even better on their capital gain of recent years, given they did virtually nothing to the North Bondi digs in the two years since they bought it for $6.3 million.
Sir Bob cashes in
One of New Zealand’s richest men, Sir Robert Jones, cashed out of Sydney’s high-end market this week when he sold his Point Piper sub-penthouse for $7.35 million – far above the $6 million guide.
Sir Bob wasn’t in attendance to see seven registered bidders slug it out from an opening bid of $6 million by buyer’s agent Simon Cohen, but after the hammer fell 19 bids later he was overheard on loudspeaker saying “well done, old man” to his agent on the ground, Brad Caldwell-Eyles, of 1st City.
The colourful billionaire and prolific author has reason to be chuffed: he bought the three-bedder in 2002 for $3.37 million.
Sir Bob hasn’t always done well from Sydney property. He purchased the Vaucluse trophy Carrara in 1990 for $11.5 million and sold it three years later for the recession price of $8.5 million to Chinese entrepreneur James Peng.
Caldwell-Eyles – the husband of Survivor contestant Cara Atchison – wouldn’t reveal the buyer but did say they were from North Bondi, which doesn’t sound like a euphemism for acquisitional next-door neighbour Mike Cannon-Brookes.
Competition heats up in Byron
As Byron Bay-based former journalist and diplomat Julie Meldrum hits the hustings in the lead up to the December 4 local council elections, there is another looming deadline that is no doubt weighing on her mind.
Three days after local polls close, Meldrum and her husband, former TV producer Murray Millsom, are set to auction their home in Ewingsdale for $8 million.
Meldrum is on the ticket behind Byron Shire Action Group’s Bruce Clarke, running on issues such as local infrastructure, mental health services, transport connectivity, climate change and, ironically, accessible housing.
Meldrum’s own housing is no slouch in the local high-end stakes. The 1.1-hectare Aamari Estate was developed by Meldrum and Millsom with a Bali-style main residence set in landscaped gardens with a pool and cabana, a self-contained studio and a separate villa with a private outdoor spa.
Kollosche’s Kim Jones and Karin Heller have the listing.
The Shire’s eastern suburbs enclave
The ranks of eastern suburbs identities buying weekenders at the furthest reaches of the Sutherland Shire in Bundeena continue to swell with a settlement this week heralding the arrival of Irina Melnikoff, wife of actor-turned-developer Ilya Melnikoff.
The Rose Bay-based couple – Ilya is the nephew of fellow developer Harry Triguboff – paid $6 million for a six-bedroom house on Little Gunyah Beach after it was put to the market for $5.5 million by PPD’s Debbie Donnelley.
Donnelley isn’t known as the “Queen of Bundeena” for nothing. She has sold weekenders to a long list of her eastern suburbs neighbours in recent years, from arts benefactor Sally Breen, former publican Susie Carleton and Lisa Rothner to Dr Kerryn Phelps and her wife, Jackie Stricker-Phelps.
Dinnigan’s designer digs sells
Collette Dinnigan may not have taken out the Celebrity MasterChef winner’s trophy this week, but she did sell her historic Milton farmhouse, The White House, after three weeks on the market.
Fellow former ragtrader-turn-selling agent Craig Cooper, previously of Cooper Street Clothing, declined to comment on the deal, but he had a $4 million to $4.5 million guide before it sold.
The sale ends Dinnigan’s ownership in the South Coast township, which goes back to 2006 when she purchased the 2.4 hectare property for $830,000.
That leaves her South Coast interests to the Rosedale beach house that was burnt down two years ago and which she is currently rebuilding.
Mac bankers buy in
Macquarie’s senior managing director, Ani Satchcroft, and her husband, Anchorage Capital’s Alex Satchcroft, have bought a converted industrial warehouse in Annandale for $6.625 million.
This is the 1910-built warehouse that was home to the late Archibald Prize-winning artist Fred Cress. His son Julian, The Block co-creator, redeveloped it before he moved to Melbourne in 2018.
Qantas Group executive Andrew Parker, who sits on the board of the Australia Day Council of NSW, bought it from Cress for $4.27 million in 2018.
Walter Burfitt-Williams, of Ray White Taylor and Partners, sold it to the Satchcrofts well ahead of a planned auction.