Mintaro House, Romsey, Victoria, Australia
The magnificent Mintaro House at Romsey Victoria sits on a gentle rise on Monegeetta Road. The house is currently being rescued from almost certain dereliction. It’s future potential however, is being assessed in view of undergoing total restoration.
Built in 1882 and designed by notable colonial architect James Gall of Frognall and Noorilim fame for Captain Robert Gardiner. Mintaro House is privately sited within a passive English park-like setting featuring mature oaks, cedars, monkey puzzles, pines, sequoia’s and cyprus’s. Mintaro House was inspired by the design of Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s summer residence on the Isle of Wight. Mintaro House has been described as a small replica of Melbourne’s Government House.
It’s previous owner, the much loved eccentric piano-playing grazier Derek Rae was driven half mad by people driving up for a look through the grand and gracious old mansion. Mintaro House, presently waits for a new leash of life after 78 years of continuous family ownership. In 1934 the property was taken over by the Rea family and after being used by the Army for barracks accommodation from 1941-46 remained in the Rea family until 2012.
The signature Italianate mansion includes an iconic four-storey tower from which the Melbourne CBD skyline can be viewed. In addition to this, a grand entrance hall and main staircase, 10 principal rooms, billiards room, 5 other rooms and cellar. The historical significance and potential of Mintaro House remain largely untouched since its inception. There is also, a small charming brick stable and workshop building. The original renaissance inspired interior decor of this Victorian mansion is a rare surviving and exquisite example of great significance. Excellence in the arts of stencilling and marbling with finely painted themes of the arts, flowers, birds and nautical idioms. Other manifestations of Victorian grandeur include, superb free standing scagliola Corinthian columns. In addition to this, finely painted ceilings and walls with exceptionally decorative plaster cornices and other mouldings, marble fireplaces, classic intricate patterned Minton tiling, 46cm (16’) skirtings and 4.6m (15’) high ceilings.
Special Comments from Chris Wilmar, Architect
This is a rare surviving example of an Italianate mansion that reflects the grandeur of Victorian architecture and is also notable for its important social and historical links with Captain Robert Gardiner. The exquisite detailing, required tradesmen to be brought over from Italy who completed the work over a two year period. If you were going to show off your wealth, you would have six-panel doors instead of four, your architraves would be deeper, the decor more detailed – these were the excesses of the time and Robert Gardiner had the money and Mintaro was a statement.
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