Eildon Mansion, St Kilda

Original post 27 March 2020

2nd #virusphoto; #EildonMansion, without any cars in front ! But some hazard tape instead. Now home to the #AllianceFrancaiseMelbourne, it was built in 1872, designed by #JosephReedArchitect of #ReedAndBarnes, an enlargement of an earlier house.

It’s a bit clunky if you ask me, not Reeds best work; an awful lot of #quoins, vs odd window arches on little pilasters. This is actually the ‘back’, the other side is more elaborate (third photo from early last year) and originally faced huge lawns and gardens half way to Acland Street ! It’s the only #StKildaMansion that has anything like its original grounds, partly because it was by far the largest in the first place, and bits sold off in the 10s, 30s and 50s.

I remember when it was an old man #boardinghouse in the late 80s, and 90s, then it was briefly backpackers, then it was bought in 2007 by the @alliancefrancaise_melbourne, so you can just walk in !April 29 2019:

This is the ‘back’ of the #AllianceFrancaiseMelbourne, which was enlarged in 1872 as the 30 room mansion Eildon, for pastoralist John Lang Currie, and had a HUGE garden going all the way down to Church Square, just off #AclandStreet, meaning they could see the bay from the upstairs verandah. The 3rd photo is when it was still his house in 1895. The 2nd one is from when it became a nice guest house, prob after WW1. The grounds were sold off in bits, the last in the 50s, so I had to stand in a log in a corner of a park to get this shot behind a rather ordinary block of flats. I think this side is better than the front, but both a bit mmm thinly applied ? Compared to my fave #highvictorian richness I guess.

27 March 2022:

The Alliance Francaise is leaving Eildon Mansion in Grey Street St Kilda, so it’s up for sale ! On the heritage register so quite safe. I’m ok if it becomes some rich persons 3rd home, though we might lose the view from the street to trees. That’s it’s only yard since it’s once huge site was more and more reduced up to the 50s, by which time it was a low rent boarding house – which it stayed till the AF bought it in 2007. It started out as a fine Georgianish house called Barham in 1850, transformed in 1872 by Reed & Barnes in an interestingly elaborate Renaissance Revival style. I can see now from the plan they basically just added big roomed wings either side, and new fronts all round. It’s unusual in that way, since it’s got two fronts, with a tiny side/ rear wing, but has a larger detached servants / stable block to one side instead, contrasting in it’s simplicity. The images of Barham are from the St Kilda Historical Society, the interiors and aerial from the real estate site.

Update: It was bought by Gary Singer and partner Geoffrey Smith, who run the successful art and antiques auction house Singer and Smith, for a reported nearly $10 million.

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