Monday, June 22, 2009

Chuckin' a tanty coz Mummy says I can't have my own stately mansion, hmph.

 Labassa.
Want.
Now.
Only worth $6 million in its current state, can't someone slip it into my hot little hand for an unbirthday pressie or some such?
I'd let you have tea in the dining room, of course!
This is a true Cinderella of the stately homes set; in the 1920's it was divided into 10 flats and the original 15 acre grounds were sold off *sob* but thankfully only minor butchery went on inside to the 22 carat gilt wallpapers, plaster roses, ornate friezes, etc. Anything yellow in the house is 22 carat gold gilding.
Stop scratching the wall!
Can't take any pics inside as it's copyrighted, etc, but take my word for it that despite areas still needing full restoration the place conjures up words like sumptuous, original, priceless, beautiful, perfection, artistry.

It is Chocolate Eclair Day today, so we *must* throw ourselves into celebrating this!


 
Top of the gorgeous lead-light front door, lovely little imp leering down upon visitors!
Went on a self-guided tour (and drooled), then joined the guided tour through the house (and drooled some more) and then the architectural tour around the outside of the joint (oh, yeah, they had us purring fit to burst by this stage).
Feral Beast managed to snaffle a piece of broken 120 yr old terrace tile out in the driveway whilst on the 'treasure hunt' activity they have for kids (it was ok, they didn't want it).

The last owners whacked up an ugly 2 storey place right smack bang in front of Labassa, not 6 feet from the front steps. When council told them to make repairs on Labassa they decided it was easier to knock it down - the only thing that stopped them was the massive quote from Whelan The Wrecker.
Fast forward to 1984 when the National Trust managed to buy the hideous house on the front lawn and Whelan The Wrecker knocked it down - free of charge LOL!
Karmic justice.

1854 News of the Crimean War fired fears of an attack on the fair isle of Oz by the Russian Navy.
Nyet.

 
C'mon...you didn't think you were going to be spared the chimneys, now did you?!
The fact this house has been used and abused and is slowly being brought back to it's original splendour gives it more character and interest, in some ways, than the Comos or Rippon Leas of the National Trust stable. There has been plenty of water damage and there are no gardens like the other houses but it's a friendly place where the affection the guides have for Labassa is evident in their manner.

1863 Adelaide finally found a use for all the hot air its politicians were spouting by lighting its streets with gas.

 
Why, yes, I could certainly handle having this pair propped above my drawing room, thank you!

Delicious Aussie mahogany is everywhere, especially in the massive fireplaces whose pediments mirror the ginormous ( that is so an architectural word) doorways with their own matching pediments.
This house is a snapshot of multi-culturalism before the word was even created ; the first owner who built the house, known then as Sylliot Hill, was an Irishman whose widow sold it to a Canadian chap who'd been born at sea on a ship sailing from England to Canada who then renamed the house Ontario.
The Canadian engaged a German-born architect who created the Labassa as it is today by building a French Rococo drawing room that featured Aussie gum leaves in the ceiling frieze, German figures at the front entrance, Italian marble in the facade, a stunning trompe l'oiel, Greek Acanthus decorations, gilt wallpaper made in China for an English firm, a Roman head or two and a French Revival mansard roof.

1982 NZ PM Robert Muldoon was not a popular bloke when he announced a 12 month wage and price freeze which actually lasted almost 2 years.

Feral Beast on a rock climb after we had finished supping at the cup that was Labassa.
Have I mentioned the Gone With The Wind-style staircase that branches into two with niches on each side that house lovely statues holding light sconces and the MASSIVE scrumptious lead-light window centred on the landing?
No? Well now I have.
I shall be trotting back at the next open day - 19th July - and probably every 3rd Sunday of the month; with activities like plays, pantos, displays, etc, surely no one will notice if I sneak the house out brick by brick in my handbag?

2005 500 people in Takaka on the South Island were evacuated when a massive fire broke out in the dairy factory in the town.

9 comments:

Brian Hughes said...

That's a fine old wedding cake of a building. Bet the poll tax on that place is massive.

ELIZABETH said...

Hubby enjoyed the tour and photos along with me.

You just have to keep added things to my " let's go see list" don't you.

Marita said...

19th July Hmmmm. I might have to pencil that into my calendar.

Jayne said...

They don't pay any taxes or rates on the properties they own, Brian, otherwise it would fund a small country in the amount of places they own across Oz!

Glad you enjoyed it, Elizabeth :)
I'll keep adding when I drag His Nibs along to more lol.

They have a panto for kids in Dec, too, Marita, not badly priced and would be fun in that setting :)

miss diarist said...

You can take photos in there, you just have to get married there first. Think that may cost a bit.

River said...

The Canadian engaged a German-born architect who created the Labassa as it is today by building a French Rococo drawing room that featured Aussie gum leaves in the ceiling frieze, German figures at the front entrance, Italian marble in the facade, a stunning trompe l'oiel, Greek Acanthus decorations, gilt wallpaper made in China for an English firm, a Roman head or two and a French Revival mansard roof.
So, it's a multi-cultural place. How very Australian. And only 6 million you say? I'll buy it tomorrow. (In my dreams) It can be Aussie Blogmeet headquarters.

Mistress B said...

That's a fine old house. We have a castle (apparently) not far from us....... must go have a look one day.

Jayne said...

Drats, MD, I'm already hitched and I doubt The Spouse wishes to visit that nightmare again lol.

That's an excellent plan, River!

Yes, I've heard something about a castle from time to time, B.

Debby said...

Well, I'm going to have to wander back over here on a regular basis, now that I know that you are a snooper of old homes as well. I love the phrase, chucking a tanty, as well. Feral Beast and His Nibs. That's funny stuff too.

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