Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Jonathan Chancellor

26 February 2017

Woolwich trophy home, Vailele's rare return to market

Woolwich trophy home, Vailele's rare return to market

Vailele, one of Sydney's most tightly held riverfront homes, has been listed for sale by the Salter family.

The historic sandstone home in Woolwich has only had five owners since its 1892 construction. It last traded for $3 million, when it was 1993's top price on the North Shore water's edge, and before that in 1979 when bought by abattoir owner Trevor Wadland for $375,000.

It is long remembered as the location of scenes from the Network Ten mini-series, Return to Eden, the 1983 television drama starring Rebecca Gilling, James Reyne and Wendy Hughes.

Steeped in history, the three storey home once hosted Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson as its guest, who lived out some of his later days in the garden cottage while based at Samoa.

Stevenson even gifted two of the heritage palm trees that sit in the garden.

Ken Jacobs at Christie's International is seeking around $24 million to $26 million for the home which he says offers the most magnificent example of late 19th century sandstone architecture.

Under its slate roof there's original fireplaces, ornate ceiling roses and stained glass windows along with intricate turned timber posts on the marble tiled verandahs still intact after its two year restoration.

The home's named derives from the Samoan term for 'running water.'  An original sandstone water bubbler and heritage-listed sandstone well have been revived, the latter irrigating the grounds. 

The peninsula's most recent trophy home saw was earlier this year when the actor Cate Blanchett and her playwright husband Andrew Upton have sold Bulwarra.

The historic 1877-built residence - restored and extended on its 3642 sqm Hunters Hill block - was sold by Christie’s International.

Vailele has eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a study, an elegant music room. 

There's an entire floor dedicated to high-tech entertaining, including a home theatre.

Its heritage billiard room comes with cedar-panelled walls, domed ceiling and a bar.

It comes with a 10 car garage at the cul-de-sac location, a 3084 sq m estate on the corner of Gale Street and The Point Road.

With climbing roses, lavender, frangipanis and a vegetable patch, the grounds come with an infinity pool and spa, with lit terraces, verandahs, and a gazebo. 

This article first appeared in the Sunday Telegraph.