Friday, December 2, 2011

Dramas In Deepest Darling Point

Its home to some of the most desirable real estate in Australia-the harbour side suburb of Darling Point with its tree lined boulevards and grand mansions.

Tom & Nicolle once lived there. So does Edward de Bono when in town,Ita Buttrose, singer Helen Reddy, actress Rachel Griffith and the extended Bushels tea family, the Oxleys who have not only the legendary Carthona ( Tom wanted to buy it a s a wedding present for Nicolle and offered $25M ) but houses on either side to house their extended family.

Slap bang in the middle of the burb is arguably the most expensive private property on the Eastern seaboard, the neo Gothic castle of cream sandstone, Swifts.
Built in 1886 by Robert Tooth, it was once home to the Austrian brewer Edmund Resch, then owned by the Catholic Church (Pope John Paul and Paul IV have stayed there) and for the last 20 years it's been the domicile of the nursing home tsars Doug and Greta Moran.

Putting a price on Swifts is difficult with its acres of manicured gardens but the Morans spent over $20M on just restoring the house. The Morans, worth an estimated $300M have retired and their children Kerry and Shane now oversee Swifts despite the fact they were once estranged from their parents for several years. With 56 rooms to ramble about in avoiding each other possibly wasn't too difficult.

Of late though neighbours have become edgy as Swifts appears to be hosting gatherings every week from the Rolls Royce Club to Melbourne Cup Day parties to Cornucopia Committee charity fundraisers and magazine launches.
 A week ago there was an antiques fair and locals are becoming embittered about the lack of parking and the noise that emanates from the gardens and Moorish ballroom, the only parts of Swifts strangers get to see.

Residents claim a 'commercial' kitchen has been installed and for the past 4 weeks there has been a function there every Friday evening. Siblings Kerry Jones and Shane Moran say they got the appropriate council permission but residents of a block of flats opposite where Lady Walton, scion of the department store family lives say the noise has been deafening and it carries right up to their 24th floor.

Expect fiery council meetings in February 2012 when the chambers are in session again.