February 16th, 2023Denver’s Stonefields fetches $11million+
Words: Eve Lamb & Donna Kelly | Main image: courtesy Q1
Celebrity gardener Jamie Durie has bought Paul Bangay’s famed Stonefields home and gardens in Denver for more than $11 million.
The TV personality, pictured below, and his business partners are now reported to be planning to convert the private home into a luxury accommodation venture.
“I am very happy and relieved that the garden which I believe is my greatest life’s
work will be in good hands,” Paul Bangay, pictured below, told The Local.
“Jamie Durie will be a worthy and able custodian of the garden,” Mr Bangay said.
The property was originally listed with a price guide of $8 million to $8.8 million
before an adjoining land parcel was included.
Forbes Global Properties’ Michael Gibson had the listing and has confirmed the
sale. He declined to comment on the price, however a source with knowledge of the
recent deal has put it at more than $11 million.
“It is going to be a world-class eco-resort,” Mr Gibson said.
In listing Stonefields, Forbes Global Properties Australia had described the Bangay
property as “without question, one of the world’s most celebrated private gardens”.
For almost two decades, it has been home to Australia’s pre-eminent garden
designer Paul Bangay, for whom “it has been both a spectacular showpiece and
cherished sanctuary,” the agents said.
“Spanning some 50 acres in the rolling foothills near Kyneton, just over an hour
from Melbourne, this exceptional countryside holding is home not only to its famous
gardens and magnificent oak trees, but also premium cattle grazing, superbly kept
pastures and a striking five-bedroom Tuscan-inspired residence, featuring dramatically
beautiful interiors curated by Paul Bangay, in partnership with (the late) Stuart Rattle.
“The home enjoys a strong connection with its surrounds, with stunning views
across the exquisite grounds, iconic hilltop pool and onto the mesmerising landscape
stretched out below.”
Following the sale to Durie and partners, Paul Bangay is now reported to be in
the market for another opportunity in the area to create his next dream home and
gardens together with husband Barry McNeill. With his business partners at Opulus Hotels, financier and hotelier Dominic
Lambrinos and investment banker Kim Jacobs, Mr Durie is now understood to be
planning an eco-resort opening in 2025 at Stonefields.
The group is reportedly planning to develop luxurious, sustainable free-standing
villas, investing $70 million in the construction.
Mr Durie described Stonefields as “one of the greatest gardens in the southern
hemisphere”, and was reported to have jumped on a plane to inspect it once he heard
it was for sale.
“We are pinching ourselves that we are able to secure it,” he said.
Mr Gibson said the property had attracted a substantial amount of interest and
inspections during the sales campaign. It was originally pitched as an ideal home for
either an owner-occupier or someone looking for a country retreat.
However, not everyone is happy about the sale, with a community notice being
sent out last week via the Glenlyon Progress Association, and posted on Facebook, on
behalf of a newly formed Denver Community Group.
The notice, which includes information about a public meeting, says the scale of
the proposal is “according to media reports, unprecedented for the Denver area, and
arguably the wider region”.
“In particular, a $70 million development including 50 villas, a celebrity chef
restaurant and health/wellness facility.
“This development raises a number of significant community concerns, from
ecology impacts to local infrastructure to noise impacts.
“The purpose of this meeting is to understand more keenly community sentiment
towards this proposal. This will help inform our ongoing engagement with the
Hepburn Shire on behalf of interested ratepayers and local residents.
“A Denver Community Group has been established, and it is anticipated that
a formal process will be established – including governance and communication
frameworks – to guide the group’s next steps.”
The meeting will be held at the Wombat Forest Vineyard on Sunday, February 19
from 10am. RSVPs to email@example.com
Hepburn Shire Mayor Cr Brian Hood said he would be attending the meeting
and the first he, or any councillors, had heard of the proposal was reading it in The
No contact had been made by the developers, he said.