Mansion with a Back Story
Today we travel to faux-elite Melbourne; Caulfield North to be exact. And this chunk of real estate offers all the meat and fixins: murder, bankruptcy, subdivision, and a house-flip!
Although the suburban mansions of boom time Melbourne once stretched down Orrong Road in Caulfield North south from Toorak (see Labassa), Rosecraddock sits oddly east from any semblance of prime Caulfield North (with several notable exceptions, most Orrong Road mansions in Caulfield North have been subdivided, razed, or turned into academic institutions). It is in part its isolation from other prime land that has enabled to lay in tact for so long. Additionally, Rosecraddock is not simply an 1880s Boom Period mansion of Toorak or Orrong Road; it actually far predates the Victorian Italianate stylings of the likes of Lambassa as it was built in 1857, although age doesn’t always redeem a less-than-stellar location or a neighborhood in need of a bit of love. Regardless, flash forward 130 years from Rosecraddock’s construction and a colourful character by the name of Peter Shellard purchased the then-14-bedroom mansion for $1.4m in 1984. He became notorious in the neighborhood for his eccentric behavior and ill-treatment of his property (keeping “ponies, many car parts, and beehives” on his property). Classy fellow. Apparently he was so disliked that he was murdered in the house in 2005 (by his girlfriend and two “drug taking” accomplices, no less.
After his death, Rosecraddock and its 2 hectares (8,857 square metres) of land were sold to former television presenter Simone Semmens for $7.8m. Semmens successfully subdivided the land into six housing lots. As far as my research indicates, Semmens successfully sold off two small lots (of approximately 650 square metres each) for prices in the low $1-millions in 2009. That said, it looks like the properties may still be languishing on the market.
Maintaining the largest chunk of land (5,500 square metres) and the original house, it appears that Semmens dumped a truckload of money into the mansion in order to flip it before our very eyes. Nicole Gleeson and Michael Gibson of Kay&Burton South Yarra have the listing. The mansion now houses “6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, tennis court, pool”, parking for 6 cars and refurbished stables that now house a guest house.
Overall, this is a pretty impressive flip. Maintaining what appears to be the original wood flooring is a great touch, as is the modern, understated kitchen and master bathroom. As always, it’s disappointing to see carpeting in the master bedroom. Also lost in the flip is the original blue stone trim around the base of the house (as seen in the before pictures). But overall, nice work. It’s far better renovation that “Little Milton” over at 26 Albany Road in Toorak, which seems to me to be a Templestowe renovation that just so happens to have historic pedigree, a 3142 post code, and a Paul Bangay celebrity garden. Rosecraddock appears to be listed around the $10m mark, which is definitely a pretty penny for its location. And at that price, would likely give the owner a fair profit on his/her investment. That said, I eyeball it at $8m.
Perfect for: A big family with a taste for history and space and without the need of a Toorak address.