Late columnist Ross Campbell's Greenwich home Oxalis Cottage sold

Late columnist Ross Campbell's Greenwich home Oxalis Cottage sold
Late columnist Ross Campbell's Greenwich home Oxalis Cottage sold

Oxalis Cottage, the humble house in Greenwich that was the longtime home of columnist Ross Campbell and his widow Ruth, was sold for $2,301,000 at auction last weekend.

Campbell, who wrote for the Sunday Telegraph from the mid-1950s through to the 1970s, paid £500 in 1949 for the building block at the end of Coolabah Avenue.

It was up for sale with $2 million plus hopes.

The property was once described by Ross as "a suburban house of 15 squares, including myself".

The name sounds picturesque, but oxalis was the name of a weed that flourished there.

Campbell, who was once suggested as being the Jerry Seinfeld of the times, retired in 1978.

The couple tried to sell the house to go travelling, but only managed to find a buyer for the adjoining garden block.

The son of a Melbourne estate agent died in 1982, while Ruth passed away earlier this year, aged 95. 

Oxalis Cottage was listed by their four children, the home’s celebrity redheaded occupants.

The eldest Sally Campbell is a textile designer, Patrick Campbell is a solar energy scientist, Laura “Nell” Campbell is an actor and former New York nightclub owner, and youngest Cressida Campbell is an artist.

They appeared in his columns which detailed ordinary family life with his four children, known by pseudonyms, Cressida as Baby Pip; Sally was Theodora, Nell was Little Nell and Patrick was Lancelot.

Its been suggested only the Seven Little Australians were a better-known family than the Campbell clan.

Remarkably the the two-storey cottage is a time-capsule, still has the milk bottle servery by the front door. There's a kitchen dining nook.

Campbell once wrote of the rise of refrigerator snobbery with his children asking: "Why hasn't our fridge got a light in it?"

It was editor-in-chief David McNicoll who recruited Campbell to the Telegraph from the Sydney Morning Herald where he felt his levity wasn't wanted.

Three collections of Campbell's columns were published in his lifetime, and his memoir, An Urge To Laugh, was published just before his death.

The neighbours’ children held an 80 cents lemonade stall at the onsite auction which Campbell would have surely made into a column item.

This article first appeared in The Sunday Telegraph. 

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