ANZ boss Mike Smith buys historic Spray Farm on Bellarine peninsula

ANZ boss Mike Smith buys historic Spray Farm on Bellarine peninsula
ANZ boss Mike Smith buys historic Spray Farm on Bellarine peninsula

The ANZ chief executive Mike Smith and his wife, Maria have bought historic Spray Farm at Bellarine.

The prized Victorian trophy estate was most recently listed with $12 million expectations, but at one point there were inaccurately reported $20 million hopes.

Property Observer understands the 60-hectare holding, which features a seven bedroom, six bathroom 1850s homestead with views over Corio Bay, was secured by the couple on March 3. The interior design for the recent refurbishment was undertaken by Melbourne based design firm Jacobsen-Love. It boasts views of the You Yangs, Port Phillip and the Melbourne skyline.

Spray Farm was formerly known as Ellenvale when built in 1851 for army captain James Conway Langden to the designs of Geelong architect John Young. The main house was a single storey brick and rubble villa based on a symmetrical plan around a central hall and vestibule lit by a large lantern.

It was acquired in 1862 by Geelong Dalgety wool broker, Charles Ibbotsen who extended it in 1875 with the addition of a Victorian Gothic brick wing and stable complex forming two fully enclosed courtyards. Its stables have now been converted into four guest suites.

The additions were designed by Geelong architects Alexander Davidson and George Henderson with heritage authorities suggesting the stable building and courtyard impart a distinctly French character which was unusual in Victoria farm architecture.

The historic estate was sold by businessman and horsebreeder Rick Jamieson who bought the property in 2010 for $7.05 million. 

Rick Jamieson, who famously sold Black Caviar as a yearling for $210,000, was the founder of party supply and events company Harry the Hirer.

He converted the historic farm and vineyard into a private residence following a multi-million-dollar refurbishment. It had previously operated as a high-end function centre, including hosting the 2009 wedding of Freeman to stockbroker James Murch.

It operated as a function centre when owned by the Browne family of Scotchmans Hill winery who continue to run the vineyards on the beachfront estate along Portarlington Road. The Browne family, who had bought the property in 1994 and renovated it in 1998, hosted concerts by Lionel Ritchie and Joe Cocker at the farm. 

Speculation as to the Smith's purchase arose after he sold 545,000 shares worth around $17.3 million late last month to buy an undisclosed property.

The homestead comes with “cigar bar-like” lounge.

Th official sale price has not been revealed, nor its selling agency confirmed as RT Edgar.

It is reputed the property was named after The Spray, the first sailing ship to single-handedly circumnavigate the world, which had entered Port Phillip Bay in late 1890s.

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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.

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