Toorak House

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Residence Toorak House - 1869
Toorak House

Toorak House is a mansion located in Melbourne, Australia built in 1849 by well-known Melbourne merchant James Jackson. It is notable for its use as Melbourne's first Government House and having inspired the name for the suburb of Toorak.

Jackson is believed to have borrowed from Woiwurrung language, with words of similar pronunciation, meaning either black crow or reedy swamp.[1]

Toorak House is owned by the Church of Sweden abroad.[2] The Swedish Church is open for visitors daily except on Mondays.[3]


Toorak House was built in 1849 by well-known Melbourne merchant James Jackson and designed by Samuel Jackson in the Italianate Victorian architecture style.[4]

When Jackson died in 1851 it was leased to the Victorian government in 1854 for use by the first Governor of Victoria, Captain Sir Charles Hotham KCB RN and four of his successors until 1874—Sir Henry Barkly GCMG KCB, Sir Charles Darling KCB, John Manners-Sutton, 3rd Viscount Canterbury and Sir George Bowen PC GCMG. Bishopscourt in East Melbourne was then used before the present Government House was occupied in 1876.

It reverted to being a private home in 1876, and was used as a Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force hostel during World War II. In 1956 it was purchased by the Church of Sweden, which converted the property into a church and community centre.

Exterior shots of the property and grounds were used in the 1980s Australian drama series Sons and Daughters, where Toorak House doubled as the South Yarra/Toorak mansion inherited by central character Patricia Hamilton, and was featured in the series from 1982 to 1985.


Coordinates: 37°50′21″S 145°01′05″E / 37.839153°S 145.018115°E / -37.839153; 145.018115