Melbourne’s oldest home for sale for first time in 100+ years
Melbourne’s oldest home has hit the market for the first time in 120 years, offering up a nugget of gold rush era history.
Once a merchandise store for those heading to the goldfields, it’s now officially been listed for sale for $2.9m-plus.
For the last century, during which it became known as Russell’s Old Corner Shop, the corner store was home to Lola Russel and her husband George Dixon.
Ms Russell, now in her late 90s and in an aged-care facility, was born and lived at the property for most of her life before her husband died in 2017.
The pair, who were both actors, lived in the original living quarters above and operated a cafe downstairs.
But due to her age and health, and the declining state of the building, Ms Russell’s family have been left with no option but to sell the heritage-listed property.
In 2019, family spokesman Owen Dixon said he wanted to see the house, which has been in the family for two generations, restored.
But he said the priority was Ms Russell’s health and settling her into appropriate aged care.
“We’d like to see it used as a cafe downstairs and maybe turned into a museum upstairs,” he said.
“George and Lola loved the theatrical and film industries — we’d be willing to accommodate that, but it’s got to work with the major plan.”
At one point, the National Trust had been developing a plan and fundraising to save the building but it’s believed that has since fallen through.
Allard Shelton agents Patrick Barnes and Joseph Walton said they hoped someone would step in and look after the iconic building, which was steeped in Melbourne’s history.
“We’re very much engaged and attune to the historical and heritage nature of the building and one of the best ways to refer to it is, that we see it as being a bit of a passion project,” they said.
“It’s such an amazing property. Someone will have an idea for it.”
The building is being marketed as “ready for refurbishment and restoration” and suited to retail and office space.
It’s also across the road from Flagstaff Gardens and close to Flagstaff Station.
The property will be sold via an expressions of interest campaign ending August 5.
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