We asked some of the Blackshaw network’s most experienced agents to share the most memorable property sale of their career and why. Here are their stories.
CASEY HOUSE, 27 FORSTER ROAD, YARRALUMLA
ANDREW CHAMBERLAIN, CORPORATE
There have been many memorable sales over the years, and I believe that one of the key reasons that many agents have such long careers in property is that we are constantly encountering new challenges – it’s an industry that really keeps you ‘on your toes’!
Perhaps my most memorable was the sale of Casey House in Yarralumla in 1998. Firstly, the sellers made his initial contact with me in response to a rather quirky marketing pamphlet that I was distributing at the time. He said, “You look like you think out of the box and I’m definitely going to need a lateral thinking agent to sell this property!”
Casey House was built in 1938 for the Federal Treasurer RG Casey amongst considerable controversy. The construction was considered extravagant at a time when the nation was still recovering from the Great Depression with finances and materials scarce. Casey would live at the property for less than a year. Subsequent residents included the Canadian High Commission and the Australian Heritage Commission. Our client for the sale was the Australian Society for Environmental Education.
The home itself occupies a prime Yarralumla site overlooking the lake and next to the Commonwealth Club. The land area exceeds 9100m2, and the stately residence was described as “of the Georgian Revival period with influences of Art Deco”.
The property was offered for Sale by Tender, closing on 18 June 1998, some 25 years ago. The purchase was keenly contested by a number of prominent buyers for a range of proposed uses including an art gallery and high-end restaurant. The eventual purchaser was a local medical specialist for use as a private residence. The price? The princely sum of $750,000.
55 SUE GEH CIRCUIT, NICHOLLS
MICHAEL BRADDON, GUNGAHLIN
I sold this property back in 2015. The sellers were good friends of mine whom I had sold for previously and this home was honestly the most amazing property I have had the privilege of marketing. The reason being that it was the one of the most unique homes to hit the market in the region, and as described in our marketing, it was ‘First Class Resort Style Living’ inspired by luxury holiday homes on the Noosa waterways. It is positioned on a private block backing the Gold Creek Country Club with amazing sunset views towards the Brindabellas. We had a videographer film the auction in front of a huge crowd, and we achieved the first ever $2 million sale in the Gungahlin region. The buyer had also bought a home from us previously, which made the day even more special.
PAT JAMESON, COASTAL
One of my most memorable sales came a few days before settlement when the property’s elderly owners called to say they were unwell and could not come to their holiday house to clear out their belongings. I arranged to go to the property and call them upon my arrival so they could advise which items they would like to keep or donate to charity. Near the end of the call, when I asked if they wanted to keep the chest at the end of their bed, they asked me to open it to check its contents. I told them I had found a blanket and they said that they wished they had known about this on cold nights! “What else is in the chest,” they asked. I lifted the blanket and to my astonishment I found some gold bars. “Where did they come from?” they asked, and said they had no recollection of owning or being given gold bars. They then asked if there was anything further in the chest and I pushed the gold bars to one side and told them that there was another blanket at the bottom. “Two blankets!” they exclaimed. “Oh how we wish we had known we had them!” As they say, value is in the eye of the beholder.
WESTRIDGE HOUSE, 55 BANKS STREET, YARRALUMLA
MARIO SANFRANCESCO, MANUKA
I consider the sale of this property as one of my most memorable and significant for a variety of reasons. At the time, it was the highest sale by auction in the ACT and the record for Yarralumla. In November 2017, I sold Westridge House for $6,050,000 to an undisclosed Canberra resident.
Westridge House is simply an outstanding residence, backing on to the Royal Canberra Golf Course. It is one of Canberra’s most notable historic addresses, being an estate within the central region of Yarralumla close to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.
The marketing campaign itself was targeted and buyers were managed discreetly. The property was advertised widely and attracted many people Australia wide. This involved private viewings and interstate buyers inspecting the property, with one buyer in particular very well known within Australia who flew into Canberra via private jet just for a viewing.
During the marketing campaign, high teas were held in the gardens for the privately arranged inspections – a pleasure to hold in such a delightful setting.
The property stands out as a rare home of distinction, unique in design with old world charm but more the fact that it is a staggering 19,210m2 of rolling green estate, the largest privately owned residential block in Canberra’s inner south. Nearly five acres of exceptional Yarralumla earth, offering the ultimate lifestyle.
The residence was built in 1928 for Charles Lane-Poole, then the Inspector-General of Forests and Principal of the Australian Forestry School. Substantial in size, the property sits proud on an exquisitely landscaped estate. In 1975, CSIRO became the new tenant of Westridge House and it was used as the residence for the chief officer. For the last several years it has been in private hands and the expansive grounds have been beautifully restored.
The interiors are neutral, with a formal lounge, or reception room of about 50 square metres with an original antique fireplace, solid timber floors, classic high ceilings and French double doors opening onto a sandstone paved terrace. The heart of the residence being the central family, living and dining region, also has access to the paved terrace with northerly views over magnificent entertaining areas and the breathtaking grounds of the estate. There’s also a study or fifth bedroom with a two-way bathroom. Upstairs are four bedrooms including the master, the family bathroom and two further sitting rooms. The master bedroom is serviced by an elevator, has walk-in robes and a generous ensuite.
A highlight upstairs is access to a balcony, which provides the ideal sunny spot to take advantage of views over the estate toward the lake and Black Mountain Tower. Additionally, there is a four-car garage, a four-car carport, and a three-car sized workshop.