Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Ridiculous" Parties!


 Five days after the Shuttle wrote of the continuing dramas over one of Sydney's premier properties, Swifts in Darling Point, the local newspaper The Wentworth Courieadds to the tale with the following story :


"Saga over parties at Swifts branded 'ridiculous'

SWIFTS owner Kerry Jones has hit back at residents in the dispute over events at the historic Darling Point mansion, labelling their concerns “ridiculous”.
The newly-formed Darling Point Residents Action Group alleges that a string of events at Swifts since the property was restored by the Moran family a year ago have clogged the streets and disrupted the neighbourhood."

Kerry Jones (ABC TV)
 The local resident's spokesperson is quoted saying : We fear that Swifts may become a commercial events centre and impact severely on the community,” 

Mrs Jones has responded :".... the two recent weddings held at the property were private events for friends...There are a few mischievous residents deliberately trying to confuse myself and the council about the difference between commercial and private use,” .

Two weddings in as many weeks. Charity fundraisers, an antiques fair, a publisher's Christmas party and a Melbourne Cup Day party are just a few of the events in the past year.
 One should be so lucky to have that many friends but with a mansion of 57 rooms, a ballroom and nearly two hectares of manicured lawns, friends are bound to be thick on the ground. Residents are concerned that the Gothic style house is being operated as a de-facto reception centre and say traffic on days when parties occur make parking a nightmare in the snooty harbour side suburb.

Kerry Jones is the former head of Australians For Constitutional Monarchy and successfully helped scupper the 1999 Republican referendum when colonials voted in the affirmative to keep the British monarchy as head of state.

Swifts was built in the 1880s by John Tooth, a beer brewing millionaire who wanted a bigger ballroom than the nearby Woolahra mansion Rosemount, home of the department store Jones family (no relation to Kerry Jones) and Government House. The Austrian brewing Reschs family bought the house and bequeathed it to the Catholic Church where it became home to the Cardinal for a few decades. Two Popes have stayed there.

In 1997 the nursing home tsar Doug Moran (Kerry Jones' father) paid $12M for the crumbling mansion and spent an estimated $12M restoring the sandstone edifice. Today the property is valued at over $60M in a suburb where just a pied-de-terre can command $1M. The Moran family themselves have had some bitter feuds but are now united and all living at the home.

Another typical Sydney saga that should run and run with all the right elements : money, property, family fights, champagne parties and a good dose of NIMBYism.