Hopewood House Sold

by AF

Hopewood House, Bowral
Expressions of Interest

*Update: The property has apparently been sold for $5.25 million.

‘Hopewood’ was built in 1884 for well-known pastoralist Ben M. Osbourne and his wife Lucy Throsby. In the late 1880s, wealthy Sydneysiders often bought properties in Bowral and built grand country mansions.

This grand Dutch Colonial style home was originally on an estate of 126 acres, but over the years the land has been subdivided and the current land size is 11 acres. Mrs. Osborne was a keen gardener and created the long driveway and circular carriageway. 

Mr. Osborne passed away in the residence in 1912. Soon after it became the country residence and stud farm of Lebbeus Hordern, son of Sir Samuel Hordern of Babworth House. Lebbeus resided in similarly named “Hopewood House” in Darling Point but spent much of his time traveling the world. Lebbeus achieved distention as a breeder of milking shorthorn cattle and blood horses at the Bowral estate. He had spent a large sum on the property over the years, including remodeling the main house and building various outhouses and adding formal gardens.

Lebbeus was considered one of the wealthiest and most eligible young men in Sydney upon turning 18 and receiving his trust from Sir Samuel. He passed away in 1928 at age 37 from an accidental overdose of sedatives.

After the division of his estate, there was not enough left to provide for his second wife (his ex-wife was receiving alimony of 10,000 pounds a year), so she was left with an annuity of 1,200 pounds a year which came from the will of Lebbeus’ father Sir Samuel who made a provision for his son’s wives. Lebbeus’ son from his first marriage, Lebbeus Hordern Junior, was expected to become Australia’s richest son upon receiving his trust set up by his grandfather, Sir Samuel.

In 1930, Lebbeus’ homes in Darling Point and Bowral were auctioned off, along with furniture and household effects. The Bowral home sold to Mr. Samuel E. Silby of Mauri Bros. and Thomson, for 18,500 pounds (approximately $1.35 million in today’s terms). At this point, the home was considered one of the show places of the State. It was reported that the new buyer had plans to turn the estate into a country club but it appears that these plans did not eventuate.

In 1943, the house was sold to L.O. Bailey, founder of the Youth Welfare Association of Australia. Bailey turned the house into the “Hopewood Infants’ Home” and by the 1950s it accommodated as many as 80 children.

In 1967 the estate was purchased by the Catholic Church and was used as a monastery and youth retreat. The gardens and house were opened to the public.

The current owners purchased the property in 2007 for $4.25 million and have extensively restored the home and gardens. In recent years, the property has been a very popular wedding venue. The current size of the estate is 11 acres, with manicured gardens, a tennis court, guest cottage and caretakers cottage.

The main residence has 7 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 20ft ornate ceilings, formal sitting and dining rooms, billiard room, conservatory, provincial kitchen and wide verandahs.

The property is advertised with an ‘expressions of interest’ campaign but the house was advertised earlier this year with an asking price of $6.5 million when listed through a former agent. The house was first listed in 2010 with expectations of $10 million.

*Update: The house was reported to have sold in early November for $5.25 million.


201 Centennial Road, Bowral, New South Wales, Australia
1hr 20min drive from Sydney Airport

Listing information and house photos from Realestate.com.au

“Escape of good Hope” Domain.com.au, 7 April 2012.