One of Australia’s grandest Federation mansions could finally be rescued from ruin that left it a magnet for squatters and vandals as it goes up for sale for at least $10 million.
The 1903 Brisbane home was designed by British architect Alexander B Wilson for cloth entrepreneur John Lamb and built across eight blocks at an estimated cost of £3,250 at the time – $490,000 in today’s money.
Known as ‘Home’ or ‘Lamb House’, it was considered one of the finest examples of ‘Queen Anne’ Federation architecture for its era and it was a landmark Brisbane property for many years.
Despite being in a state of total disrepair, the Lamb House is expected to sell for at least $10 million – mainly because of its amazing riverside location and the huge 3,146 square metre block size
The Lamb House as it was in the early 20th century, when it was considered one of the finest Federation homes in Queensland
It is visible along two stretches of the Brisbane River, as well as from the Botanic Gardens, Kangaroo Point Cliffs and South Bank and has attracted the attention of tourists over time.
In 1954 the house was dramatically floodlit for a Royal Visit by the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
But over decades it steadily fell into a state of decline and disrepair.
Now lying derelict, the waterside Kangaroo Point home would just be start of years of work for the new owner, with restorations worth up to $12 million needed, the Courier Mail reported.
The land alone was valued at $6.1 million by the state government in 2019, and is tipped to sell for $10 million despite the amount of work required.
An aerial shot shows the amazing riverside position of the home at 9 Leopard Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane
The still-grand but dusty staircase at 9 Leopard Street, Kangaroo Point, belies the condition of the rest of the two-storey mansion
Holding six bedrooms and three bathrooms over the two storeys, Home has magnificent period architecture throughout waiting to be restored to its former glory.
They include a grand wooden staircase, ornate cornices and ceilings, and balconies and decks wrapping around most of the house with spectacular views over the Brisbane River.
The second floor has all six bedrooms plus stairs leading up to the turret with even better 360-degree views, while downstairs has a drawing room and former maid and butler’s quarters along with the usual features.
The state of disrepair is most evident in the kitchen which would need a complete overhaul, and other rooms have unsightly graffiti to remove.
Many of the rooms, like this one, would need more than a coat of paint – they would need total overhauls
Other rooms have unsightly graffiti to remove and much of the glass has been smashed by vandals
The owner, Joy Lamb – whose great-grandfather built the home – moved out in 2015 after the second-storey bathroom floor collapsed, leading to the Public Trustee of Queensland taking control of her estate.
It is also understood she owed $335,000 in unpaid rates, plus $400,000 in land tax.
Since Ms Lamb departed the home became completely run-down and infested with squatters and vandals.
However, Ms Lamb is not pleased with plans to strip her of the house and sell it on her behalf, and is planning to challenge the Public Trustee taking control of her estate, calling it ‘the real estate fraud of the century’.
‘They treated me like dirt and they think that my land is a commodity,’ she told the ABC.
‘It is my property and my husband’s family land over three generations and remains so in any decent person’s opinion.’
Ms Lamb and the local council battled for years to get the house restored and then to take control so it could be saved before it was beyond repair.
The land alone was valued at $6.1 million by the state government in 2019, and is tipped to sell for $10 million despite the amount of work required. The house is pictured in the foreground, showing its positioning overlooking the river
Balconies and decks wrapping around most of the house have spectacular views over the Brisbane River
Holding six bedrooms and three bathrooms over the two storeys, Home has magnificent period architecture throughout waiting to be restored to its former glory
Brisbane Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said the terms of the protection meant whoever bought it would have to restore it and were prohibited from building on the expansive gardens.
‘[It’s] a magnificent grand old lady on the cliffs of Brisbane overlooking the river and [it deserves an owner who] will spend the money to renovate it and make it their family home and make sure it lasts for another hundred years,’ she said.
The real estate ad by Savills Brisbane made it clear that the house was sold to be restored.
‘For over a century people have flocked to the top of the Kangaroo Point cliffs to enjoy panoramic views of Brisbane – and now, there is an opportunity for you to wake up to this luxury every day,’ it read.
Every centimetre of the house, which is on a massive 3,146sqm block and is protected under the Queensland Heritage Register, needs a near-total restoration.
The appalling state of the kitchen of the once-magnificent home clearly shows how far from grace it has fallen
The mansion has been targeted by vandals and lived in by squatters since the elderly owner, Joy Lamb, moved out in 2015
One possible buyer is property developer Kevin Seymour, who made his fortune building in the Brisbane CBD.
He is understood have been interested in buying Lamb House before Ms Lamb moved out, but the pair fell out when she believed he wanted to turn the property into units.
The told The Courier Mail a renovation would need to ‘start from scratch’.
‘We’d just love to see history recreated. If you do the house, you’d need to recreate the entire premises.
‘The roof is falling in, there are cracks in the brickwork and vandals have smashed the stained glass.’
Closing date for offers is May 27.
The bad and the beautiful: it’s clear why the Lamb House still holds Brisbane’s imagination
The shambolic yard at 9 Leopard Street matches the rest of the house