Bruce Manor mortgagee sale

by AF

‘Bruce Manor’

‘Bruce Manor’ was originally named ‘Pine Hill’ and was built in 1926 for Viscount Stanley Melbourne Bruce, Australian Prime Minister from 1923 to 1929. Bruce was also the High Commissioner and Australian representative at the League of Nations.

The architects of the manor were Prevost Synnot and Rewald of Sydney, in association with Robert Bell Hamilton. The home was designed in the Spanish Mission style. The house was built at the same time and in a similar style to ‘The Lodge’ in Canberra, which was also first lived in by Bruce during his term as PM.

While much fuss is made about the home being a PM’s former residence, Bruce would have barely spent any time in the residence as he soon left for England after the losing the 1929 election.

From the February 11, 1927 edition of the Frankston & Somerville Standard

The residence featured decorative work with elements of Art Nouveau ‘gum-nut’ detailing and also had one of the early examples of a garage incorporated into the house design. The rooms are paneled in specially selected Queensland maple, and many original fittings, fixtures and piazzas remain.

The block was originally on 400 acres, but was later subdivided and sold with 63 acres in 1939 to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Wright of Sydney. In 1941, the Wrights leased the house to the Earl and Countess of Bective. In its later years it was used as an aged-care facility.

The house has gone through several color schemes over the past 86 years. It originally had buff pink walls with blue shutters and doors. It was later painted white and the shutters brown (see above). In recent years the house was painted yellow and the shutters painted blue.

The grandeur of the home has been significantly reduced by the development of “Bruce Manor Villas” (townhouses) on the back corner of the block, which are just a few meters away from the main house and appear to share the driveway with Bruce Manor. The size of the block has been subdivided over the years from its original 100 acres to just 4,565 sqm. Both the house and the villas were placed under receivership in 2010.

Tenants of the brand-new ‘Bruce Manor Villas’ were given quick orders to immediately vacate their units in August 2010 after the council declared them unsafe due to issues with water and fire safety. One week later the emergency order was cancelled and deemed to have been unnecessary. The safety issues with the villas were soon resolved and the units were sold off individually by the receivers.

Mortgagee sale

Bruce Manor was listed for sale by the receivers in 2012 and sold for around $1.2 million.

It last sold in 2002 for $895,000, after which the land was subdivided and the 10-unit townhouses were built.

The house is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.


34 Pine Hill Drive, Frankston, Victoria, Australia
1hr from Melbourne’s CBD

Victorian Heritage Database, State Government of Victoria.
‘Home fit for a PM’ Herald Sun, September 17, 2012.
‘Pine Hill, asa Stanley Melbourne Bruce’s Mediterranean Frankston Manor, listed for mortgagee auction’ Property Observer, August 24, 2012.
‘Families evacuated as Frankston units declared unsafe’ Frankston Standard Leader, August 17, 2010.
‘Frankston emergency order cancelled’ Building Commission, August 24, 2010.