Finance Property Mansions of Australia’s mogul prime minister

Mansions of Australia’s mogul prime minister

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It’s the question that’s been plaguing the experts since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister – and it has nothing to do with the make up of his new cabinet or moderate policy positions.

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Property watchers want to know if Mr Turnbull will downgrade his lavish lifestyle in Sydney’s Point Piper to move to the official prime ministerial residences – The Lodge in Canberra and Kirribilli House in Sydney.

Home sweet home

The Turnbulls’ current Sydney abode is an opulent 1940m² estate that overlooks Lady Martin’s Beach and boasts neighbours such as Westfield Group’s co-founder Frank Lowy and Aussie Home Loans’ founder John Symond.

The family has owned the 1930s Mediterranean style house since 1994 – 10 years before Mr Turnbull was first elected to Parliament as Wentworth MP.

Malcolm Turnbull's palatial home in Point Piper. Google Street View.
Malcolm Turnbull’s palatial home in Point Piper. Photo: Google Street View

The Turnbulls snapped it up for the bargain price of $5.45 million. It’s now estimated to be worth around $50 million.

The price tag is similar to another Point Piper home, dubbed ‘Altona’, which sold in 2013 for $52 million.

Mr Turnbull’s slice of heaven includes a swimming pool, boat shed and a private jetty. It’s protected by a set of elaborate wrought iron gates.

PM’s lodgings

By comparison, The Lodge and Kirribilli House are cramped poorhouses.

The Lodge in Canberra in 2011. Photo: AAP

The Lodge only has 40 rooms within its Georgian revival-style walls, though it does have more than 18,000 m² of landscaped grounds going for it. It’s estimated to be worth a mere $15 million.

Kirribilli House, the Australian prime minister’s official Sydney home, it would seem, is even less impressive.

A twin-gabled, two-storey, Gothic-style house built in the 1850s, the cottage at Kirribilli is only 300 m² in size – but it does have amazing views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And it has more land surrounding it.

Former PM Tony Abbott outside Kirribilli House earlier this year. AAP
Former PM Tony Abbott and opposition leader Bill Shorten outside Kirribilli House earlier this year. Photo: AAP

Where it all began

It hasn’t always been mansions and champagne for Mr Turnbull. The 60-year-old started out in far more modest digs in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

He lived (and was mostly raised by) his dad in Vaucluse and Double Bay. He commented in a magazine interview that when his mother left when he was nine years old and he and father Bruce had nowhere to live and no furniture.

“Looking back, she treated him terribly. We were left with nowhere to live, she took all the furniture and it was pretty bad. Bruce never ever said a bad word about it to me,” Turnbull said.

“Dad was incredible. He was absolutely determined I would have a strong relationship with my mother.”

As a young man, Mr Turnbull used his investment nous (and some inherited properties) to start building a portfolio Donald Trump would be proud of.

His first property was reportedly a worker’s cottage in Newtown, which he bought as a student at the University of Sydney. He bought it for $17,000 in 1978, and sold it three years later for $68,000.

Malcolm Turnbull's first house in Newtown. Google Earth
Malcolm Turnbull’s first house in the Sydney Suburb of Newtown. Photo: Google Earth

Star on the rise

In 1983, after returning from Oxford University where he gained a Bachelor of Civil Law, he decided to make a bigger purchase.

A relative newlywed (he married wife Lucy in 1980), he spent $280,000 on an impressive spread in Bellevue Hill. It was a home he bought from the man who would later become his boss and business associate – Kerry Packer.

Six years later – he sold the home for $1.4 million.

Around the same time, he sold a weekender home in Palm Beach (for $1.15 million) and a Paddington property for a record $2 million.

Soon after came the Point Piper purchase. Turnbull also bought the home next door, which he used to widen his own property frontage. He sold that house as a duplex – for $13.6 million.

Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy own an apartment in New York. Google Earth
Malcolm Turnbull and his wife own a swanky apartment in this New York building. Photo: Google Earth

Mr Turnbull and his wife’s current property portfolio includes the Point Piper family home a, commercial property and apartment in Potts Point, a house in Paddington, property in the NSW Hunter Valley, a penthouse in Canberra and a swanky two-bedroom apartment in New York (the apartment is reportedly worth US $3.28 million).

In 2010, the Turnbulls’ net worth was reported as $178 million by BRW’s rich list. More recent reports say it’s up to $200 million.

Mr Turnbull was believed to be the richest politician in the Australian parliament until a bustling Clive Palmer burst onto the scene in 2013.

The new PM is yet to announce whether he’ll move into either of the official prime ministerial homes.


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