“Old money” usually means inherited wealth found in leafy suburbs or exclusive holiday hamlets where Pimms is served by the tennis court.
But as developers bulldoze historic mansions to make way for uber-luxurious apartments, it’s getting harder than ever to find the family seat your grandchildren will one day call home.
For those looking for a home packed with pedigree, we’ve tracked down some stately family compounds, as well as some coastal “shacks’’ that scream old-school, I-don’t-need to-flaunt-it discretion.
14 Ginahgulla Road, Bellevue Hill
8 beds – 5 bath – 6 parking – pool
Price: $25 million
Prince Philip and Lord Louis Mountbatten have had drinks here, courtesy of the very old money Hordern dynasty who have called the Mediterranean-style home for decades. Known as “The Hordern Home”, its vistas of the harbour and its massive reception rooms still make it fit for canapes with a king.
20 Wolseley Road, Point Piper
5 beds – 6 bath – 4 parking – boathouse
Price: $48 million
Known as “Akuna”, this house only dates from the 1990s but its very own jetty and “Pagoda’’ boathouse on the paparazzi- proof Seven Shillings Beach provide old-money seclusion.
85 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill
6 beds – 6 bath – 5 parking – tennis court – pool
Price: $25 million
“Belhaven” is its name and traditional luxury is its fame. It has vast and comfy indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces and an undulating topiary garden which means your groundspeople might soon be able to afford their very own mansions. The large sculpture collection gracing the garden is not included in the sale.
282 Skinners Shoot Road, Byron Bay
5 beds – 2 bath – 6 parking – pool
Price: $4.5 million-$4.95 million
Bryon Bay old timers can be resentful of new arrivals clogging the town streets with their Kombis and Teslas. But if you buy this 1905 farmhouse on four hectares, you can boast that your home’s roots in this corner of paradise run long and deep. All stone and wood, the house is a welcoming refuge with enough casual luxury (and luxuries) to never want to ride your bike into town a few minutes away.
9 Thyra Road, Palm Beach
3 beds – 2 bath – 2 parking – pool
Price: $5.5 million
Palm Beach has attracted wealthy Sydney-siders for almost a century, but in recent years the relatively modest holiday houses of previous generations have been replaced by bulked-up “Hampton-ised” homes clinging to the cliffs. This snug house overlooking Pittwater is less glitzy “look-at-me” and more cosy hideaway.
38A Scenic Road, Kenmore
4 beds – 2 bath – 2 parking – tennis court – pool
Price: $2.9 million
This classic Queenslander was built in 1884 but was relocated to Kenmore 20 years ago and sited on the confluence of the Brisbane River and Moggill Creek. It has a sweeping panorama of the waters at the foot of its lush and extensive gardens. Nothing went wrong in the move judging by its stained glass details and its perfect timber flooring that leads out to the modern terrace and pool.
23 Killara Avenue, Hamilton
6 beds – 7 bath – 7 parking – tennis court – pool
Price: $14 million-plus
This stately Edwardian home, “Ruhamah”, is set atop Hamilton Hill and has eight separate titles over 4258 square metres, which might be handy when it comes to doling out the bequests to the next generation. The 110-year-old home boasts sprawling verandahs and view of the massive and very private garden containing the glass-panelled pool house.
19 High Street, Unley Park
6 beds – 4 bath – 2 parking
Price: $2.85 million
Grand old Adelaide knows better than any other Australian city how to keep things nice. This classic sandstone villa with a return verandah looks out to a formal garden lined with English plane trees. There’s no hot tub, but there is a conservatory.
46 Franklin Road, Portsea
5 beds – 2 bath – 2 parking – pool
Price: $2.9 million-$3.1 million
This house is a throwback to the way Portsea holidays homes used to be. Understated and comfortable, the house has direct beach access and its only real concession to the new fangled “resort-style” is its deck-enclosed heated pool. You’ll just have to learn to live with it.
3732 Point Nepean Road, Portsea
4 beds – 4 bath – 2 parking – pool
Price: $7 million-$7.5 million
There’s a reason Mediterranean-style houses built in 1900 cost more than those built in 2000: history. This house has it. The former “Cliffside Portsea Cottage”, “Fleur de la mer” boasts direct beach access and a vaulted ceilinged cellar impressive enough to invite Prince Philip for a wine tasting.
16 Harcourt Street, Hawthorn East
5 beds – 5 bath – 6 parking – tennis court – pool
Price: $16 million-$17.5 million
Built in 1891, “Bellerslie” is entered via a sweeping driveway, but be careful not to drive onto the manicured lawns when you catch sight of the slate-roofed Gothic tower. The dining room can fit a table set for 20 and the conservatory is handy when tennis tournaments are cut short by inclement weather or soggy cucumber sandwiches.
10 Struan Street, Toorak
6 beds – 5 bath – 6 parking – tennis court – pool
Price: $16 million-$17 million
Deep in the heart of Toorak, this 1930s mansion has been given a high-style makeover by designer David Hicks and is now a three-level family mansion with a hint of Zen. Its many mod cons (cellar, gym, home theatre, solar panels, Subzero fridges, Gaggenau kitchen) include a “Sports Entertainment Area”. That’s area, not arena.
Price: $1.92 million
You’ve bought the wine, now own the island. Situated about 16 kilometres off Bridport on Tasmania’s north coast (near its namesake vineyards), this island is a rare freehold property, so it’s nothing if not exclusive. The Toronto-based agency marketing it advises that the 1.3-kilometre long and 550-metre wide landmass costs about the same as a three-bedroom apartment in Sydney. The island has no buildings or infrastructure, but it does have penguins and crayfish.
44A View Street, Peppermint Grove
4 beds – 3 bath – 4 parking – pool
Price: $4 million-$4.2 million
Older-style mansions tend to be harder to find in Perth where mining boom money demanded a supply of land for modern palazzos. This substantial 1930s family home places a premium on large living areas and bedrooms and is only a block away from the all important Freshwater Yacht Club.