Stonington (formerly Stonnington) is a private residence and former Australian Government House located in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern, at 336 Glenferrie Road. The house was built for John Wagner, a partner in Cobb and Co coaches. Stonington gave its name to the City of Stonnington, a Melbourne municipality.
Wagner purchased the property in 1886, and built the house in 1890. The house was designed in the Italianate Victorian style by architect Charles D'Ebro. The house was named for the birthplace of Wagner's wife, Mary, in Stonington, Connecticut, USA. Wagner and his family lived in the house until his death in 1901.
At the Federation of Australia in 1901 Melbourne became the location of government, and Government House, Melbourne became the home of the Governor-General. Stonnington Mansion was acquired by the Victorian Government as a home for the Governor of Victoria. The house was maintained as Victoria's Government House until 1931. During that time the house hosted many famous guests, including Dame Nellie Melba, the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, Lord Kitchener, Sir John Monash, Keith Murdoch, and Ernest Shackleton.
In 1925 Christopher Rous, the nine-year-old son of the then Governor the Earl of Stradbroke, died of leukaemia in the house and was buried in the grounds. His ghost is reputed to still haunt the house.
School and Health service
In 1931 the house was taken over by St Margaret's School, which occupied the site until 1938. It then became an aftercare centre for polio patients and was used by the Australian Red Cross during World War II. The Health Department then occupied the site between 1953 and 1957.
In 1957 the property became the campus for the Toorak Teachers College, then the State College Toorak in 1973 and finally the Toorak campus of Victoria College in 1981. Stonnington became a campus of Deakin University in 1992 when Victoria College merged with that university.
By 2006 the campus became surplus to Deakin University's requirements, and was placed up for sale. This created a protest from local residents, who believed the property should be retained by a government body. In December 2006, the three-hectare property was sold for $33 million to a joint venture between Hamton Property Group and Industry Superannuation Property Trust.
In June 2007, businessman and former President of the Liberal Party in Victoria, Michael Kroger, announced that he and other Australian businessmen, a group dubbed the "Melbourne Lodgers", would examine properties in Melbourne for the Prime Minister of Australia to use as a residence while in that city. Kroger stated that Stonington was the most sought-after residence on that list.
In August 2007 the 1.3-hectare site, comprising the mansion, gatehouse and 3 acres (12,000 m2), were conditionally sold to art dealer Rodney Menzies for about $18 million, as a private residence.
In June 2008 the remaining 1.7-hectare garden site was acquired for $45 million by Sydney-based developer and fund manager Ashington, who announced a $150 million project called Stonington Malvern, a 75-dwelling development in four precincts, comprising 31 terrace houses, 18 townhomes, 14 apartments and 12 maisonettes. In March 2009 the mansion's former stables, and until September 2007 Deakin University's Stonington Stables Museum of Art, were sold separately by Ashington for about $4 million.
- Melbournes buildings, a Photographic Exhibition
- "Preserve historic mansion, cry defiant residents". The Age.
- "Stonnington mansion fetches $18 million". The Age.
- Stonnington News
- Australian Heritage
- Deakin University Stonnington Mansion
- History of the City of Stonnington & Stonington mansion and its spelling
- Stonington mansion site
- Stonington mansion gardens-redevelopment by Ashington