I was fortunate enough today to visit a very grand lady! "Mintaro" in Monegeetta, Victoria. A few weeks ago I had heard of the upcoming sale of this magnificent, yet derelict property. As I was visiting new clients in nearby Chintin this morning, I couldn't resist attending.

Designed by James Gall of Frognall and Noorilim fame for Captain Robert Gardiner (great grandfather of ballet dancer Sir Robert Helpmann), Mintaro has been variously described in references to being “a small replica of Melbourne’s Government House” to “that crumbling mansion on the road to Romsey.”

I had spoken with a few friends, who were in the know, and I had been warned that the mansion was in a very bad way. The last owner, a decadent of the properties founders, had lived there as a recluse as the once stately architecture literally crumbled around him.

He was eccentric and a hoarder - the ball room housed his collection of vintage cars, in various states of repair and another downstairs room was filled with sixteen pianos, waiting to be restored... one day! He refused to admit that the building was slowly falling apart, as leaking roofs weakened the framework and footings, causing major cracks and shifts in the structure and the beautiful architectural details.

Today, however, after a major clean up, the proud building stood tall, ready to be viewed, in all its crumbling glory.