Labassa is an unique little gem sitting right in the suburb of Caulfield. Nestled on the corner of a quiet court, you could say it is a little out of place. Like a lot of heritage listed properties that date back to the 1800’s, suburbia has taken over the surrounds and a lot of the homesteads still intact today are smack in the middle of residential developments. Labassa is no exception, however it is not your average homestead. It is a lavish mansion with a touch of a French renaissance feel. If you think it looks familiar, you are probably right. The mansion was used for the popular movie Queen of the Damned and was also used for the movie 'Winchester'.
In 1862, Labassa was a country house called Sylliott Hill built for Richard Billing who was a Melbourne judge. He died on the property in 1882 at the age of 66 from a brain haemorrhage after a long illness. His wife leased the property to Alexander Robertson who eventually purchased the property and the adjoining allotment. An architectural inspiration from the Royal Exhibition Building in the late 1880’s saw Alexander Robertson purchase Sylliott Hill and convert it to a lavish mansion called ‘Ontario’. Robertson was a partner in the well-known Cobb and Co coach service. Boasting 35 rooms on a 35 hectare property with large steel gates similar to those used at Buckingham Palace, it is safe to say he like to spend his money. He passed away in 1896 at the age of 65. (Remember back in these days, people did not necessarily live until their 80’s and 90’s like they do today.). The property was then sold to John Boyd Watson who was a mining millionaire who continued the renovations and had a significant influence on the interior design. He renamed the property Labassa. After Watson passed away in 1911, his wife started selling off the land and the adjoining allotments. Out of 65 hectares, she kept 1.73. For this reason, you will find Labassa Grove and Ontario Street just nearby. In 1920, Labassa was sold and converted into flats where the grandness disappeared and 60 years of decay and neglect began. It became a bit of a hub for creative types such as musicians, writers, actors, artists. In 1980, the National trust purchased the property for restoration.
All photos were taken by Sarah Living Life In Full Spectrum - Paranormal Blog