Airlie has a very nice street appearance.
As you can see, it was a police college, but it was oh such much more.
Not so patiently queuing on the return verandah looking into the dining room that most certainly would not have been a dining room. Eventually in a group eight we entered. Our guides were a senior policeman from the Glen Waverley Police Training Academy and a teenage kid. No, he wasn't. He was boyish looking detective. The older one had lived at Airlie for two weeks several years ago as he underwent a leadership training course. Leadership courses and similar are its primary use now although at times it is hired our for business gatherings.
We were told the gardens were better ten years ago when there was a full time gardener. The history of the house was seriously lacking but I expect if it is open next year, this will be somewhat remedied. You can see the traffic light in Punt Road. There used to be a saying, never drive south on Punt Road. I think it is now never go near Punt Road in a motor car.
The house next door was substantial. Cutting the stem of the ornamental grape must have been easy enough. Removing the vine itself is all too hard.
Intelligence during the WWII. Do intelligence and war really go together? Z Special Operations sounds very spook like. Btw, don't worry about ASIO or ASIS if it still exists. You need to be very afraid of Defence Signals Directorate and I am not talking history. They are watching and monitoring you.
Airlie in stained glass above the main door. The house has been much altered over the years and the side porch above the front door looks like 1920 addition to me.
I took an instant dislike to this ceiling. The walls had been built out to the edge of the door architraves yet the walls still lined up with the ceiling. Nothing much was making sense about the place to me.
Now this I do like this skylight. The fireplaces all appeared on be non original, with some timber and some marble.
I normally like moulded ceilings, but I am not keen on this one either. It is sufficient to say that over the years house has been bastardised (sorry about the architect tech term).
While this lamp quite suits, it is not original or from the period of its style. I can't think of the name of this type of archway. The lead light glass work is quite new and was commissioned at huge expense. Further along the hall was an old lift cage from when the house was a tuberculosis hospital post WWII. It was converted to a phone box for police who were living in to use. No need for a public telephone now.
We then went to the very modern, spacious and well equipped kitchens where the chef was making gorgeous cup cakes to sell as fund-raisers for Open House. He did not seem that old, but he had worked there a long time and was the most knowledgeable about the house's history. He has recently cooked for royalty who dined at the house but I can't recall which ones now. One of the younger ones, maybe William when he came here and visited bush fire sites. Airlie was built in 1872 and its land extended down to the Yarra River and to a considerable width. This is a rather classic photo from the State Library and I wish it was a bit clearer. It is of Punt Road running up the hill in South Yarra before the bridge was built and a punt was your mode of transport. The road doesn't look so steep, but believe me, it is. At the top of the hill to the right of Punt Road is the top of Airlie and the land to the right of Punt Road was Airlie property. Jayne, where is your place on the hill? Ah, she is swanning around overseas, I think.
Down to the basement pantry.
Which, as this leaflet pasted on the pantry wall attests with information about what to do in case of an air raid, was a shelter.
What is this hole that can be viewed outside the window of the pantry? It is crawl tunnel that runs under Punt Road to the German Embassy on the opposite side of the street. After a few drinks at the police college one evening, a brave policeman set off to explore the tunnel. It was collapsed at Punt Road, probably by works by a utility company.
Gates out onto Punt Road. I dare anyone to try get out onto Punt Road from the gates.
The southern façade facing downhill.
Stables and carriage house.
We were told this is the oldest Peppercorn tree in Australia. It looked the part.
It was a bit hard to photograph much more with so many people around so I have used this photo from the Vic Police website shows what Airlie looks like now with what is surely a 1920/30s portico.
It is certainly very different to what is seen in this earlier photo that was given to us at the house.
A cold breeze had sprung up and we headed for home, but not without stopping at Domain Road cafe for a good cup of coffee. The weather was ok enough to sit outside. Who the eff keeps pushing their chair against the back of mine? Eventually I became grumpy enough to turn around to have a word, and there was a Boris dog, an Old English Sheep Dog. It was very shortly after Craig's Boris died and we don't see many Old English Sheep Dogs on the streets of Melbourne, so I thought it was a remarkable co-incidence.
I am afraid after being out for three hours and queueing for an hour, we had taken our fill of Open House, but there was an errand to run in the afternoon, and we had another less significant and much easier Open House experience. Later.