Jonathan Chancellor | 7 November 2012

Presentation Nuns sell 1870s St Kilda mansion

Presentation Nuns sell 1870s St Kilda mansion

Stradbroke, an 1870s St Kilda mansion that was the birthplace of former Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce, has been sold by the Presentation Sisters.

The 1,761-square-metre property has been the home to the Sisters of the Society of Australian Congregations of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, better known as the Presentation Sisters, since 1919.

It had been listed for an expressions-of-interest campaign, but the buyers sought an auction from the Bennison Mackinnon agency.

Despite interested parties securing the transparent auction process, there was just the one $3.8 million bid made – and it was sold for an undisclosed higher price after the auction to a local family.

An adjoining 788-square-metre parcel of land at 71a Grey Street, St Kilda, was passed in on a vendor bid of $1.5 million.

Both properties had been offered earlier this year to Port Phillip Council, which declined to proceed with any acquisition.

The 18-room mansion, which has been operating as a boarding house, was built by Thomas Moore Esq in 1873.

In 1919 the Presentation Sisters purchased the property from the Sisters of Mercy.

The mansion includes arcaded verandas over its two levels and an 18-room interior, including a chapel and a wine cellar.

Bruce, the prime minster of Australia from 1923 to 1929, was born in the property on April 15, 1883, in the house.

From windows overlooking Port Phillip Bay, its occupants would have been able to see ships laden with goods from the mother country sailing from the Great Southern Ocean, writer David Lee said in his book Stanley Melbourne Bruce: Australian Internationalist.

Bruce’s family is better associated with Wombalano, a large colonial-style Toorak mansion.

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