Altona reigns in Title Tattle's subdued top 20 house sales list of 2013





Altona, the Point Piper harbourfront mansion, crowned last year’s list of Sydney’s top 20 highest price house sales after selling at $52 million.

Sold by Deke Miskin, a former teenage magazine publishing industry entreprenuer, and his wife Eve in March, the landmark property had been previously listed on and off the market over the past six years with $50 million-plus hopes. There had been a rejected $55 million offer in 2007 from the Lowy family. The $52 million Wunulla Road property sale came with a tennis court block which has since been turned into a garden.

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A half dozen or so estate agents had the listing over the years, but it was Double Bay agent, Alison Coopes, perhaps in conjunction with a city agent, who apparently orchestrated the sale at a healthy price to Chaimovitch Investments Pty Ltd, a company whose sole director and shareholder is Xiuzhen Ding, a 75 year old Shandong, China-born resident of Ormond Esplanade in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Elwood.

Although the buyer technically looks like a Melbourne Chinese family, it’s possible the company is merely fronting for another Chinese buying party.





The Point Piper pensinsula also had the next priciest sale: $33.5 million for a harbourfront mansion nicknamed the Bang & Olufsen house. Sold in April by the McWilliam family, the three-level residence built in the mid-1980s by Brian Johnson of Pennant Properties. It  is currently undergoing an internal refurbishment.

Singer Elton John nicknamed it the Bang and Olufsen house due to its distinctive tinted glass stereo speaker design spotted while sailing Sydney Harbour with his publicist Patti Mostyn. A buyer from mainland China - associated with the Cubbie Station cotton acquisition - purchased the Wolseley Crescent property in an off-market deal negotiated through Bill Bridges of Ballard Property.


Sir William - who briefly dabbled in fm radio licences in the late 1970s - was knighted in 1971 for philanthropic services. In the early 1990s Sir William successfully resisted attempts by Woollahra Council to turn his foreshore land, which has unrivalled boating facilities, into a harbourfront open space linking to nearby McKell Park.


The veteran technology investor Neill Miller secured the fourth highest price with the sale of his Rose Bay harbourfront mansion for about $30 million.

There was no public marketing of the contemporary residence set on a harbourfront reserve block in Bayview Hill Road, a steep cul-de-sac sandwiched between the Kambala and Kincoppal-Rose Bay schools.

The land was bought for $7.75 million in 2002 along with a $3 million acquisition in 2005 of a portion hived off from Sacred Heart convent land holdings. The dress circle virtual property sale which has yet to settle given extended settlement terms was reputed to have been notched up through Michael Pallier, the principal of the newly founded, but increasing evident, Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty.


Addenbrooke, the stately Bellevue Hill trophy home, didn't hang around for its formal spring trophy home marketing campaign.

It's attracted the attention of competitive interest with the property developer Bob Ell securing the offering through Sydney Sotheby's International Realty agent Michael Pallier at $28 million. It was sold by the downsizing vendors, Denis and Charlotte O'Neil. Addenbrooke had last traded at its 1988 auction for $5.375 million having been the home of the late Sir Lionel Coppleson, the former hire purchase Custom Credit c0-founding chairman, for close to five decades.


The sixth highest-priced Sydney sale for this financial year was notched up in May when the Kelly fashionista family upgraded homes on exclusive Kutti Beach in Vaucluse. Nick and Susie Kelly, founders of Industrie clothing, reputedly paid close to $20 million for the Goymour family’s home - one of just the seven beachfront houses in the scenic location with postcard perfect images across Sydney Harbour.

The Kellys were in the news last year as they successfully sought redress against entertainment industry couple Toni Collette and David Galafassi over their failure to proceed with their $6.35 million purchase of the Kellys' Stewart Street, Paddington double terrace.

The Kutti Beach house (pictured below) was listed with $20 million expectations through Savills agent Adam Ross inconjunction with Ben Collier of McGrath Estate Agents. It had been listed in 2011 with $25 million hopes.

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Designed in 2004 by architect Graham Jahn, it has summer and winter living spaces linked by a bridge crossing pools and courtyards which forms a "transition zone" that "captures sunlight and provides one of many private relaxing getaways".

The house has 650 square metres of living space and has a northerly aspect but is sheltered from prevailing winds.

With a sandy beach on the title, the 1,200 sqm property has lawns, landscaped gardens and garage space for two cars. There's a restored cedar boat-house providing entertaining space on the waterfront.

"Of the thousands of properties I've inspected through the years, this place is an absolute standout," the then SMH Domain property writer Margie Blok wrote on its 2011 listing.

Title Tattle recalls it was the 2004 Belle magazine House of the Year award winner.

Philip and Tanya Goymour built the house after the block was bought from Warwick Negus for $4.175 million in 1999. It had been with the Joris diamond family previously. Philip and Tanya Goymour are semi-retired from their innovative nautical engineering technology company with plans to spend more time at their Church Point property.

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Property developer Eduard Litver and his wife, Adriana, sold their Darling Point harboufront house for $16.3 million. Sold in March through Steven Chen at McGrath Estate Agents, the Litver's five-bedroom waterfront reserve house comes with a swimming pool. The Eastbourne Road property had been listed on and off since late 2011. Set at the end of the cul-de-sac end, it initially came with overly ambitious $20 million-plus hopes.

Accessed by a glass-covered inclinator, the house stands at the bottom of a steep site that once was part of the Babworth Estate. The property was bought by the Litvers for $5 million in 2008 when it was only partially built. With views across Double Bay, the house comes with 750 square metres internal space. Darling Point's highest house sale remains the Sutton's $18.25 million purchase in 2007 from tourism entrprenuer Barry Wain. The next priciest was back in 2001 when the Davey family bought Craigend for $16 million.


The former Bellevue Hill matrimonial home of the late transport tycoon Sir Peter Abeles sold to Cranbrook School for $15,501,000 in May when offered at an invitation only onsite auction. Named Sundorne, the well-hidden Tudor style six-bedroom Victoria Road mansion (pictured below) stands on a 2549 square metre block that was originally part of the Cranbrook estate -- now home to the private school for boys -- which was subdivided in 1917.

Listed with $11 million-plus hopes, the property presented a rare opportunity as it last sold 45 years ago.


The Cranbrook school council president Dr Helen Nugent and treasurer Geoff Kimpton were in attendance at the very damp invitation only auction, accompanied by Sydney lawyer, Bruce McWilliam, as spotted by Title Tattle who was the only media in attendance. They seemed to adopt the school motto, Esse Quam Videri which translates from Latin to "to be rather than to seem to be". There was only competition from a North Shore family after the 2A zoned property was announced on the market at around $11.5 million. It had been home to Sir Peter and his first wife, the arts patron Claire Dan during the period when Sir Peter was cementing his place in Australia’s corporate life.

The two-storey home had interior furniture and fittings installed by Peter and Claire. With ashtrays on every table, and wood-panelled walls it solicited comparisons with the 1960s-styled series Mad Men. Sir Peter bought Sundorne from the well-connected establishment Simpson lawyer family in 1958 through his company P.A. Holdings Pty Ltd for about £60,000. The couple had emigrated from Hungary in 1949 with little money in the post-war exodus from Europe.

The couple divorced a decade after purchasing Sundorne with Ms Dan retaining a life tenancy of the home set along the property’s very long and very private tree-lined drive. Ms Dan divorced Peter in 1968 after learning that his frequent absences from the marital home were because he was living with the then Katalin Frank, also known as Fischer, at the Wentworth Hotel. Sir Peter was knighted in 1972.

The 2550 square metre site has a full-size flood-lit tennis court and in-ground pool with district and harbour views reaching from the city skyline and bridge to Manly in the north. After a long battle with cancer Sir Peter, who relocated to Vaucluse in 1970 paying $450,000 for Villa Igiea, died in June 1999 aged 75. Ms Dan passed away last October.

The property is across the road from the Cranbrook School on the corner of Victoria Road and Rose Bay Avenue, which was known as Gallipoli Avenue until 1926. Sundorne, at 23 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill, was auctioned through Daniel Baran and Reece Coleman at BHR Estate Agents in conjunction with Sydney Sotheby's International.


Juliet Clarke, wife of former Investec chief executive David Clarke, sold their Michael Suttor-designed Point Piper home for $15 million. The 1453 square metre Wentworth Place property sold to the Toone family. Alex Toone, who made his name as Credit Suisse's Sydney-based managing director, resigned from the Swiss bank to join the Commonwealth Bank in 2012 as its head of commodities. The Clarke's didn't move far buying next door from the former stock broker John Bowie Wilson and his wife Sally for $8.8 million. The Clarkes had bought in 2001 for $5.8 million from the chairman of Investec, David Gonski, and his wife, dermatologist Orli Wargon who had paid $3 million in 1999.


In 10th spot, the Kellys sold their redundant Kutti Beach house for $15 million to fine wine industry specialist Henry Dawson-Damer. The Kellys had bought the Vaucluse property in March 2011 from Michael and Julianne Maxwell paying $15.5 million for the matrimonial home of the former property chief of the Babcock & Brown group. The Maxwells snared the harbourfront residence from Multiplex executive Andrew Roberts and wife Andrea, who were off to Gladswood Gardens, Double Bay. Henry Dawson-Damer already lived in Vaucluse. The Dawson-Damer biography says he is currently studying for the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine program. It was at the age of 15 when Henry had an "explosive" start to his career trying to barrel ferment his first vintage in his mother’s linen cupboard. 

There was nothing explosive about the prestige property market in 2013, as Margie Blok and I conclude in our analysis of the top 20 list in the He Said, She Said column.



1. $52m – Point Piper, Wunulla Road - March (Agency by Alison Coopes)

2. $33.5m – Point Piper, Wolseley Crescent – April (Ballard)

3. $30m* - Darling Point, Lindsay Avenue – June (Christies, R&WDB & Ballard)

4. $30m* – Rose Bay, Bayview Hill Road – May (Sothebys)

5. $28m – Bellevue Hill, Cranbrook Road – August  (Sothebys)

6. $19m – Vaucluse, The Crescent – May (McGrath, Savills)

7. $16.3m – Darling Point, Eastbourne Road – March (McGrath & LJ Hooker Double Bay)

8. $15.501m - Bellevue Hill, Victoria Road – May (BHR & Sothebys)

9. $15.25m – Point Piper, Wentworth Place – August (Alison Coopes)

10. $15m – Vaucluse, Vaucluse Road - February (Sothebys)

11. $15m – Vaucluse, The Crescent – May (McGrath)

12. $15m – Bondi, Wilga Street – October (Raine & Horne Double Bay)

13. $14.35m – Point Piper, Wolseley Road – September (1st City Hasemer + Caldwell-Eyles & LJ Hooker Double Bay)

14. $14m – Vaucluse, Wentworth Road – January (Pillinger & LJ Hooker Double Bay)

15. $14m – Vaucluse, Wentworth Road – June (LJ Hooker Double Bay)

16. $13.9m* - Mosman, Julian Street – October (Richardson & Wrench Mosman)

17. $13.65m – Point Piper, Wentworth Street – April (Pillinger & Sothebys)

18. $12.5m – Potts Point, Wylde Street – March (Ballard)

19. $12.5m – Watsons Bay, Pacific Street – May (Sothebys)

20. $11.4m - Point Piper, Wentworth Place – February (Richardson & Wrench Double Bay)

(*price not officially recorded/agents associated with marketing)

There will always be an unreported hush-hush sale that occured towards the year end, but it was telling that some 15 sales were transacted during the first six months of 2013. It suggests despite the print headlines spruiking a booming market that the prestige market never quite gained any great momentum. It could almost be that the hefty $52 million Altona, Point Piper sale - which Margie Blok broke news of in early May - actually triggered a renewed bout of ambitiously high expectations among the remaining long-term vendors which just wasn't ever going to be matched by cautious buyers. The sale on Wentworth Road, Vaucluse even saw the sale price drop $1 million from its prior sale price to $14 million, sold at $15 million just three years earlier.





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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