Poolman House, South Yarra retains its name from its roaring 20s owners

Poolman House, South Yarra retains its name from its roaring 20s owners
Poolman House, South Yarra retains its name from its roaring 20s owners

Poolman House, located in South Yarra on the corner of Domain and Punt Roads, retains its name from its roaring 20s owners.

Perhaps it was the installation of its ballroom in 1928 by the Poolman family who entertained grandly that ensured their name lives on.

Maybe it was their charitable gifting of the house in 1951.

Ofcourse the nameplate on the front garden gate assists its recognition.

Ernest Poolman was a manufacturer, who paid 14,000 pounds for the home in 1921, with wife Jeannie, having previously lived elsewhere on Domain Road.

Her name lives on in the name of the Royal Children's Hospital of Melbourne's annual $5500 Jeannie H Poolman Scholarship, awarded for the purposes of travelling to enable further post-graduate paediatric education abroad.

The Poolmans had bought it from Norman and Mary Faukiner of the pastoralist family who then moved just along Domain Road.

The Falconer's had bought it for 16,200 pounds three years earlier from Collins Street surgeon Dr John Dunbar Hooper who took the house name, Bathwick to his next home in Albany Road Toorak. His father Sir William Roe Hooper had been the honorary surgeon King Edward.

Jeannie Poolman, who eventually downsized to the 1920s apartment complex, Amesbury House just a few doors away, donated the use of house to the Red Cross in 1941 during World War 11 and then in 1951 it was gifted to the Church of England became a nursing home for three decades. Her estate on her 1960 death was 464,000 pounds.

The church sold in 1987 for $875,000 to the international interior designer John Coote and his wife Andrea.

Their renovation saw it sold in August 1989 for $3.5 million to the car dealer Noel Gould and his wife, Marlene who in 1992 filed statements revealing total debts of $17 million when they proposed their affairs be dealt with under Part X of the Bankruptcy Act.

The Goulds, who were social page regulars with a passion for racehorses, disclosed assets made up of just $95 in a Westpac account and $35,000 in furniture at Poolman House.

The house sold after its unsuccessful 1992 auction for $1.675 million to Martyn Riley and wife, Mary.

It was last sold 20 years ago when the grand Victorian style home was secured for $2.7 million by the property tycoon, and former Richmond Football Club director, John Matthies.

The mansion with a large garden sits on 2750 sqm, the largest of holdings in the Domain precinct. There is a larger South Yarra holding in the Avoca House, Alexandra Avenue precinct which last sold in 1996 at $1.96 million. The property is owned by the Myer family.

the landmark Poolman House has had a rich history, its RT Edgar agent Antoinette Nido says.

"The late John Coote impeccably renovated the home’s classical features to align with modern-day living.

"The current owners of twenty years have updated and refurbished the mansion maintaining the John Coote classical style," she advised.

She suggests its imposing verandah was reminiscent of the Melbourne Club. The ballroom has stage and ceiling frescos painted by Nobby Seymour.

The six bedroom, five bathroom house with Paul Bangay gardens and tennis court comes with a $20 million to $22 million price guide.

"With its inspiring archive of grand events, flawless preservation and rare land holding, and location in the prized and tightly held Domain precinct in South Yarra, Poolman House is a once-in-a-lifetime property ready for a new era," Nido said. 

The first residence on the site was built in the early 1860s by woolworker Richard Goldsborough who didn't stay long before moving to Abbotsford where he warehouse business was located.

It was then occupied by John Buckley from the rural firm Dalgety & Co. Then other families including the Brodribb, McKinley and Borron clans have occupied the home, along with George Grantham.

The home was known in colonial times as Glenronald. Sadly the online Victorian Heritage Council database is wanting, with no details at all.

This article was first published in the Weekend Australian.




Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

South Yarra Poolman House


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