One for the record books: Melbourne's first million-dollar listing

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A Property’s Journey with Marshall White.

26 July 2023

Allow us take you back to 1981, when Melbourne had a population of approximately 2.85 million people. The median house price in Melbourne stood at a modest $40,000 juxtaposed with an average annual income of around $15,000. Most households relied on a single wage to meet all financial obligations. Home loan rates averaged around 10%, and unlike today, the mortgage broking industry was not yet in existence to guide prospective homeowners through the complex home loan process. 

The inner southeastern suburb of Toorak had already established itself as one of Australia’s most prestigious addresses, noted for its historic mansions, leafy streets, exclusive amenities, and convenient city proximity. St Georges Road, renowned as Toorak’s most sought-after boulevard, holds significance in Melbourne’s property history. It witnessed a pivotal moment in 1981 when 20 St Georges Road, brokered by Marshall White, became the first home to surpass a $1 million sale.  

Even with the context of the economic climate in 1981, this milestone may be challenging to fully comprehend, given the humble average home price and income at the time. The sale at 20 St Georges Road was indeed a remarkable event that marked a significant turning point in the history of Melbourne’s real estate market.  

The vendor at the time was former Lord Mayor, Sir Maurice Nathan, a philanthropist and founding member of the National Gallery of Victoria, who was widely renowned for his extensive art collection, while the buyer was luxury car merchant, James O’Connor. 

The property, which included a now-demolished house on an expansive 4,014sqm (approx.) allotment, was resold in 1983. The land was subsequently subdivided, giving rise to two residences, with 20A built at the property’s rear. Since then, 20 St Georges Road has been renovated and sold numerous times but has never lost its allure. 

Helen Stamoulis, widow of the late Rich Lister, Spiros Stamoulis, purchased the home after her husband died in 2007 for $6.01m, and completed significant upgrades including the addition of a four-car basement garage and a living room wing. Number 20 was once more transacted ahead of its off-market sale with Marshall White in 2021, securing $19 million. 

In 2023, the stunning five-bedroom estate was back on the market, this time listed by Marshall White’s esteemed sales agents, Marcus Chiminello and Jack Nicol. “Sprawling over a versatile 1,457 sqm – this sophisticated mansion filled with light, seamlessly connects its palatial spaces with its surrounding gardens,” Jack Nicol said at the time. A breathtaking fusion of luxury, sophistication and style, this family residence offered its new custodians an enviable and exclusive lifestyle exuding quality on every level. 

20 St Georges Road stirred considerable interest, drawing potential buyers from not just across Australia, but globally. After much anticipation, the house was sold in the vicinity of $23 million, reaffirming its status as one of Toorak’s unmissable and defining properties. 

Its latest proprietors have admired the home for several years and acutely recognise its historical significance, intending to furnish it once again with an impressive collection of art. 

The future of this illustrious property remains an exciting unknown, but Marshall White is indeed proud to have been intricately entwined in its distinguished journey thus far. 

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