Monegeetta’s Mintaro up for auction
‘Mintaro’ is an imposing Italianate country mansion just outside of Melbourne. The house is being put up for auction in November with a reserve price of $3 million. (Update: The house sold for $3 million).
The 2-storey rendered brick home was built in 1881-1882 for Captain Robert Gardiner at a cost of £22,000. It was designed by prominent architect James Gall, who also designed the ‘Frognall’ and ‘Noorilim’ mansions.
The design was said to be influenced by Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s summer residence on the Isle of Wight, but it also described as a small replica of Melbourne’s Government House (built 1876).
The house was decorated with intricate plasterwork, highly detailed painted and wallpapered rooms, and laid with embossed imported tiles made to a special design.
On the ground floor is the entrance, stair hall, music, drawing, dining rooms and a bedroom, with the main bedrooms were upstairs. There is also a 2-storey servants’ wing attached to the rear, as well as stables and barns. It was originally fitted with electric bell communication, gas, water and every modern convenience available at that time.
Captain Gardiner did not get to spend much time in Mintaro house as he passed away in 1889. The house was then sold to the Methodist Church for £5,500 and converted into a Girls’ Home. Much debate was raised over the excessive cost required to operate the home, which in 1905 housed just 22 girls, but incurred an annual expense of 8,000 pounds. By 1913, the home had closed.
The Crivelli family purchased the home from the Methodist Church, and later sold it to the Rae family in 1934. The house has now been in the Rae family for 78 years.
Although it once formed part of a much larger landholding, the estate was subdivided in July 2012, reducing the block to its current size of 9.9 hectares. The estate adjoins the Monegeetta Proving Ground Complex (a heavy vehicle testing course owned by the Australian Department of Defence) on two sides.
While there have been some attempts to restore the building in the past, it appears to require some serious restoration work to preserve the structure of the house. Luckily the interior appears to remain largely in its original condition.
Mintaro is listed by the National Trust.
Update: The house sold for $3 million on its auction day.
58km, or a 1hr drive from Melbourne CBD