Former PM John Howard's Dulwich Hill family petrol station for sale

Former PM John Howard's Dulwich Hill family petrol station for sale
Former PM John Howard's Dulwich Hill family petrol station for sale

The former petrol station at Dulwich Hill - which has almost shrine like status for devotees of the conservative Prime Minister John Howard - has been listed for sale as a residential development site.

It was the corner servo where the future 25th Prime Minister cut his teeth in the family's battling small business in the 1940s.

The Wardell Road offering will go to auction alongside an adjacent property.

They have a combined price guide of between $3.8 million and $4.2 million.

Born in 1939 John, like his older brothers, Wal, Stan and Bob pumped petrol at weekends for his father who was a supporter of the then newly-formed Liberal Party.

They lived through the post-war turmoil of a long coal strike and petrol rationing, and although he was only 10, John Howard maintained a clear recollection of the 1949 election campaign that brought his hero, Robert Menzies to power.

"I can remember listening to the policy speeches on radio with my father," he told journalist Craig McGregor in 1982.

"I can remember the talk around the house, which was very anti-Labor. It had a particular bias because of petrol rationing.

One of Menzies' slogans had been "Empty out the Chifley socialists and fill up the bowsers." 

John Howard also recalled the family elation on the night of the Menzies election and of a celebratory backyard bonfire to burn the rationing coupons. 

Howard's garage proprietor father, Lyall, who died in 1955, had bought into the business with his own father, Walter who'd purchased the property in 1930. It was the family's livelihood for decades. 

The two properties are being marketed as offering "enormous capital growth potential" coupled with a good holding income.

According to the listing agent, Luke Smith, at Raine & Horne Commercial, the combined 455 square metre site was producing $153,868 revenue annually plus GST. 

The site also has a 2.6:1 floor space ratio, which will attract developers keen to land-bank. 

“This auction represents a rare opportunity to purchase a site in Dulwich Hill,” he added.

It is located just 100 metres from Dulwich Hill train station and the light rail. 

“Buyers can look forward to achieving strong re-sales as part of any future redevelopment,” said Mr Smith.

Over the past two years, five projects have been completed within 100 metres.

Former PM John Howard's Dulwich Hill family petrol station for sale

Mr Smith believes the property’s links to Australia’s 25th Prime Minister might attract some buying attention.

269 and 271-275 Wardell Road will go under the hammer on May 24.

The garage, on the corner of Wardell Road and Ewart Street, was sold for $100,000 by the family to a Greek immigrant in the mid-1980s, well ahead of John Howard's 1996 election triumph.

He once referred to the days of pumping petrol to empathise with drivers at high petrol prices.

"I know people are feeling it. I learned from a very early age that when you fill your car up you actually look at that click, click, click," he said, referring to the now obsolete bowser price counters.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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