Iconic Kensington mansion up for sale
A 130-year-old iconic mansion in Kensington which was once home to the mayor of Flemington is up for sale.
The Victorian-era abode, which has stood along the tree-lined Bellair St since circa 1891, hit the market earlier this year with a forthcoming auction listed by Nelson Alexander.
The grand building was a former Kensington Property Exchange office with an adjoining shop and a residence with rear brick stables known as “Islington”, according to the Heritage Council of Victoria.
“The building complex is of architectural, historical and social significance to the State of Victoria,” the council states.
“The heavily ornamented facade has pedimented Corinthian pavilions on each elevation, one of which forms an arcaded loggia at first floor level.”
Other features include antique fireplaces, original hardwood floors, and a central timber staircase.
The property has five bedrooms and two bathrooms and was last sold in 2017 for $2,530,000.
It was designed by architect E Owen Hughes, a local practitioner who designed many homes and shops during the height of Melbourne’s boom.
Visitors stop by the building in awe as they admire the stained-glass windows and chequered-floor front shop, which also reveals a room with a sign saying “Manager” displayed above the door.
The building, which is listed under the Victorian Heritage Register, was designed for James Wales, a councillor of Kensington and Flemington, who, in 1899 was elected mayor of Flemington.
Mr Wales originally established his real estate business in 1885 in a humble shop two doors down from the building.
“The towered building which stands prominently on the corner of Bellair and Wight streets reflected James Wales’ success as well as the rise in Kensington land sales,” the council states.
Nelson Alexander Essendon partner and auctioneer said while no date had been set for an auction, “Nelson Alexander are excited about the prospect of taking this iconic building to market again”.
Simon Harvey, chair of the Kensington Association, said the building was “certainly iconic”, but added he couldn’t foresee any strong rejection from the association if the building was to become a commercial premises.
“If it was done sensitively and maintaining the heritage features of the building, I can’t think there would be any strong rejection from us,” he said.
City of Melbourne councillor and heritage lead Rohan Leppert said, “It’s a striking and well-loved part of the local strip, contributing so much to Kensington’s unique character, let’s hope there’s some new life behind those windows.” •