Sources say the imposing mansion and homestead could fetch as much as $20 million in today’s bubbling market – smashing the $16 million record currently held by Coonac.
The Glenferrie Road property, which has been used as Deakin University’s Toorak campus since 1992, played an important part in Australian politics and Victorian history.
It was the residence of seven governor generals in the early 1900s, when Melbourne was still the capital of Australia. In 1931 it became St Margaret’s School, and in 1938 an after-care centre for polio patients, following the outbreak of World War II. In 1957 it became a tertiary campus and has remained one for 50 years.
Last year, Deakin University sold its Toorak campus, which included the Stonington mansion, to residential developer Hamton in a deal worth around $33 million. Hamton plans to develop luxury homes on land surrounding the mansion.
Controversy arose over whether Stonington was actually Deakin’s to sell. Community lobbyists argued that if they thought the property could wind up in private hands, they would have fought harder when the council gave it to Deakin in the 1990s.
The State Government refused to intervene the controversial sale last year, which was finalised days before Christmas last year. The Stonnington Council conceded it could not raise the funds to buy the home last month.