Talana. On again, off again.

by AF

Talana, Hawthorne East
$10 million*

The historic Talana in Melbourne was first listed for sale with Marshall White in April 2011 with hopes of selling for $12 million plus. It didn’t. In April of this year, the house was re-listed with RT Edgar at a slightly reduced price of $10 million (according to PriceFinder data), but by the end of August the home no longer appeared on any listing sites. It is possible that the seller, perhaps frustrated with the lack of activity on the home, did not renew their listing agreement and has taken it off the market.

Talana, named after a town in the province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy, was built in 1899 – 1900 for the Jones family. It was designed by architect John Beswicke, renowned for his work in Hawthorn during the late 1800s which included the Hawthorn Town Hall and two other grand homes in Harcourt Street (Rotha – his own residence, and Tudor Lodge – later renamed Hilton House).

The house was built in the “Village of Rathmines” subdivision which was developed by landowner James Murphy from the mid-1850s. It originally contained 112 blocks of about one acre each. Talana is one of the original surviving mansions from the subdivision. It is located on Harcourt Street, which is known for its concentration of 19th century mansions with expansive grounds.

Original house records show that it was owned by Mrs. Annie A. Jones, with James C. Jones, warehouseman, listed as the occupying tenant in 1900. During the economic depression that followed the 1880s boom, it was rather common for properties of businessmen to be held by the wife rather than the husband, and this may be one of those cases.

The 3-storey red brick house is among the most elaborate Federation Queen Anne style residences in Melbourne. It is considered to be a highly individual adaptation of the style at the height of its popularity. The decorative embellishments are in with render and rough cast, overlaid with timber. The Marseille roof tiles and cappings are though to be French in origin. The 13-room house has the original tennis court, a new heated pool and a self-contained summer house.

Talana in 1979 – State Library of Victoria

The current owners purchased the property in 2000 for $2 million, and have recently renovated the home and grounds. The detailed and intricate ceilings are a feature of the property and have been carefully preserved.

Talana in 1992. The low-set brick house in front was demolished sometime in 2009 or later. Heritage Victoria.


1 Harcourt Street, Hawthorn East
12 mins by car to Flinders Street, Melbourne

Original listing images from Domain.com.au

“Imposing Queen Anne-style Hawthorn East charmer Talana listed with $11 million-plus hopes” Property Observer, 16 April, 2012.
“Hawthorn Heritage