Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fortuna Villa Bendigo

I read in the paper this morning that this magnificent old mansion was being opened to the public today for the first time in years.  Fortuna Villa was built in 1856 and was extravagantly added to over about the next forty years by its owners with money made during the gold rush in Bendigo.  

The Defence Department has owned the mansion for the last 65 years.  They have made some dreadful modifications.   The Department no longer require the property so there are all sorts of ideas being suggested for its future.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  

In the meantime we thought we would go and have a look, along with thousands of other people (you can see then queued up in front of the house).  It was free to look through, not terribly well organised, I don't think they were expecting that many people to come for a look.
The stained glass windows were amazing.  This was one in a dressing room.

A cute little reading nook half way up the staircase.

A set of doors in the dining room, the walls were covered in the same red design.

The conservatory, the walls were made from French Ruby glass and frosted acid etched glass.  You can see the exterior of the room in the first photo, on the left side of the house.  Check out the ceiling.

One of the bathrooms.  Marble bath and basin, parquetry floors.

The garden was once as grand as the house but suffering dreadfully from the present lack of water.  This is the Pompeii Fountain, a scale replica of The Great Fountain in Pompeii Italy which the owner visited in 1875 and then came home and built his own.  It would be amazing with water in it.

One of the old trees, not looking too healthy.

By the floor plan we didn't even get to see half the interior.  There are extensive maids quarters, cellars, coach houses, stables, underground tunnels,  and a an upper floor which was closed off too.  
I don't envy whoever takes on the task of restoring it.  Hope you enjoyed my little tour.


  1. That was an amazing house and well kept after. Lovely photos.

  2. Beautiful house! I'm thinking that bathtub looks a little chilly though!

    We've been through some of the old mansions in Rhode Island with similar bathrooms and I always imagine someone shivering in all that marble!

    I like my nice warm showers!


  3. OH Wow! That is an amazing place. Just Beautiful. THanks for sharing the pictures.

  4. The stained glass is beautiful. That will be an extensive project but hopefully someone will take it on and do it justice!
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  5. What an amazing place to visit! Everything is so grand and beautiful! But what a job to restore it all! You'll have to keep us posted on what they decide to do with it! Thanks for the tour!

  6. What an awesome structure!!! Thanks for bringing us along! 8-)

  7. what a fantastic place.