“Woodend was less than an hour from my Melbourne office, and the size of the school land was manageable. That was as far as my rational response to St Ambrose went — for I’d fallen in love with the schoolhouse. It had been tucked away for so long behind its walls of blackberries, like some sleeping beauty, that I wanted to wake it up, bring it to life.”
This extract, taken from Paul Bangay’s book ‘The Enchanted Garden’, puts perfectly into words just how passionate the landscape designer was about his former home and estate, St Ambrose, which overlooks Mount Macedon in country Victoria.
Paul parted with the 2.69-acre property back in 2004, selling the estate to some former clients of his, who insisted on adding a clause to their contract that he return annually to tend to the gardens. Naturally, he more than willingly obliged.
From there, he moved into nearby Stonefields, a sprawling 50-acre property halfway between Kyneton and Daylesford. The designer spent more than a decade transforming the grounds, even opening them to the public to enjoy via guided walks, before selling the beloved property in January this year to fellow landscape architect Jamie Durie for an estimated $11 million, with the sale later failing to settle and Bangay retaining ownership of the property.
And now, St Ambrose has recently been listed on the market and subsequently sold for a whopping $8million. Though it had been through two owners since Paul handed over the keys, the carefully curated gardens are more established now than ever, and the original c1900 schoolhouse has since been thoughtfully updated, no doubt contributing to the value of the estate.
Tour Paul Bangay’s former St Ambrose Estate
With a price guide of between $8 million and $8.8 million, the property encompasses the schoolhouse, a self-contained guest house, and expansive gardens designed by the maestro himself. There are four bedrooms, a hidden study with built-in cherry wood bookcases, and impressive raked cathedral ceilings throughout.
Outside, seemingly perfectly symmetrical hedges and garden beds form a series of garden rooms, concealing a sunken stone conversation fire pit, a swimming pool, ponds, an orchard, and a ‘contemplation garden’. There is also 240,000L water tank storage and an ornamental Manchurian pear-lined driveway.
The former owner held the title for 14 years, and as such a unique property, it’s likely the new one will do the same. It last sold in 2009 for $3,270,000 so this new sale price has more than doubled its value. Find out more about the sale, here.
Emma Breislin is a senior digital content producer with a bad habit of mentally renovating every room she walks into. When she's not writing about interiors, you'll find her scrolling for inspiration, elbow-deep at an op-shop, or moving her couch for the 70th time.
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