Tulloona House is one of the oldest known two storey weatherboard residences in the Lismore urban area. Built in 1895 it is a rare surviving National Heritage listed, late Victorian period mansion, with fine examples of design elements that exemplify opulent Victorian taste [more info is available from the Heritage Council of NSW website, and a little bit more about life at Tulloona here.]
I love this house. When I first moved to Lismore more than 20 years ago, there weren’t many restaurants and so a group of us used to have theme nights at Tulloona, which was operating as a B&B at the time, every three months or so. We had Back to Brideshead, Christmas in June, Aquarius (1970s) revisited and others I can’t remember! The then owners, Geoff and Lynne, always got in on the spirit of the occasion, and organised a special menu for us and they dressed for the occasion as well! For our Christmas in June, we had dressed turkey for dinner .. what we didn’t know before we arrived was that the turkey was indeed dressed, in a sequinned waistcoat!
The house at the time had recently been saved from demolition by Geoff and Lynne, and a preservation order had been placed on it. It is sad to think that such a glorious house could have been demolished and with it a significant part of Lismore’s history potentially gone forever. I remember the house as very dark, and decorated very much in keeping with the age and style of the house. Big furniture, massive rooms, creaky, and very atmospheric! The garden was very overgrown at the time as well, and there were a lot of pencil pines, gums and other tall trees at the front of the property which all added to the atmosphere. The kitchen was outside the main house, the schoolroom was down the back of the property, and doves roosted in the rafters of the verandah just outside the back door.
In recent years though, Tulloona has been renovated and restored, complying with strict Heritage guidelines. It’s no longer a B&B but rather, a private residence and from the photos I’ve seen the restoration has been beautifully done. I’d love to see inside, but don’t think that’s going to happen! But, I get to gaze almost every day on my way past.
Surprisingly, I’ve not been able to find a lot of information about Tulloona (see links at beginning of post), and as it’s now for sale, the best photos are on a variety of real estate websites (and no, I don’t have any interest in the sale!).
I love seeing houses like this restored to their former glory, but with the best of contemporary design incorporated in the finished product. What do you think?