Touring the Historic Rippon Lea Estate in Elsternwick, Victoria

Rippon Lea Estate Victoria. Taken by Where Jean Went

Rippon Lea Estate in Elsternwick, Victoria, is a captivating historic house with beautiful architecture located only 20 minutes from the Melbourne CBD. If you’re taking public transportation from the city, just ride the Sandringham line and hop off at the Elsternwick station. 

After entering the gatehouse and paying the $15 entrance fee, my friend Teresa and I went straight to the mansion to meet the tour guide. The moment I arrived, I was instantly transported back in time. The mansion stands as a testament to Victorian-era architecture. As it is the last of Australia’s great privately owned estates, it is surrounded by lush gardens and provides a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the 19th-century elite. It has intricate woodwork, ornate ceilings, and stained glass windows. In this blog, I will share some photos of the Rippon Lea mansion, and I hope you enjoy them!

Brief History of Rippon Lea House

It was fascinating to learn all about how it started. As we walked through its halls, the tour guide instantly began her story, starting with Frederick Sargood. Here is what I learned:

It dates back to 1860, when Frederick Sargood bought the land, built a mansion and named the estate after his mother, Emma Rippon. The Sargood family from Melbourne accumulated their wealth by selling soft goods during the gold rush era. After being knighted in 1890, Sargood passed away in 1903, leading Lady Sargood to sell the property to Sir Thomas Bent, the Premier of Victoria. In 1910, Benjamin Nathan and his family lived at Rippon Lea. Upon his passing, the property was inherited by his daughter, Mrs. Louisa Jones, in 1935. Following its redecoration in 1938, Rippon Lea became a popular venue for extravagant balls, parties by the swimming pool, and musical performances, all of which Louisa and her family enjoyed.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Louisa and her children fought against a compulsory acquisition order to prevent four acres of Rippon Lea’s house and garden from being given to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Their efforts were successful, and upon Louisa’s death in 1972, Rippon Lea came under the care of the National Trust. 

Its gardens attract visitors worldwide to explore its grand rooms, admire its woodwork and stained glass windows, and stroll through its picturesque grounds. 

Fun fact: Rippon Lea has been featured in films and TV shows, such as “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and “Queen of the Damned”. Marie Laude-Lanson, a notorious 19th-century forager, probably left some leftovers in the fridge too!

Exploring the Estate

Dive into the majestic gardens and landscape alongside the intricate architecture. Discover each sub-section’s allure and beauty as you embark on a captivating tour experience at this Romanesque historical estate.

Gardens and Landscape

We couldn’t tour most of the garden then as it was raining when we visited the grounds. But the gardens surrounding the house and the estate landscape surely provide an enchanting experience. However, we could see the plants near the 1930s swimming pool.

I promise this section will be updated when I get back!

I made sure to wear a nice dress before coming to this dreamy estate! 😀

Mansion and Architecture

The walls used to be adorned in gold, but The mansion exhibits intricate detailing. Inside, ceilings are adorned with delicate plaster mouldings. The estate’s layout ensures a harmonious flow between rooms, creating an immersive atmosphere.

The grand dining room where gatherings usually take place. If the walls could talk, I wonder what things they might have witnessed.

The dress in this bathroom looks like it’s straight from a Jane Austen novel.

Did you know that this toilet was considered advance of its time?!

Conservation and Preservation Efforts

To ensure the preservation of Rippon Lea House in Elsternwick, Victoria, the conservation and preservation efforts focused on protecting the estate’s heritage and environment, as well as restoration projects and ongoing conservation work, have been implemented.

These are some of the books that I saw in their study, ranging from late 19th-century books to the 1970s.

Best times to visit and avoid crowds

It’s possible to visit popular attractions with fewer crowds! My friend and I visited on a November morning; we were the only ones on the tour! Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Early mornings are best for exploring before the rush.
  • Of course, weekdays are generally less busy than weekends.
  • Avoid school holidays and public holidays for fewer people.


Rippon Lea Estate is a must-visit! Its historical richness and stunning architecture make it an enchanting tour experience.

It felt like taking a trip back in time. Every room is filled with period furniture and artwork. The 19th-century ballroom is a highlight. It was once the venue for lavish gatherings.

FAQs about the Rippon Lea Estate Tour

1. How long does the Rippon Lea Estate tour usually take?

The duration of the tour at Rippon Lea Estate depends on the type of tour you select. Guided mansion tours typically take around 1 to 1.5 hours, while garden tours can range from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Special events and exhibitions may vary in duration.

2. Can I visit Rippon Lea Estate without taking a tour?

Yes, visitors are welcome to explore the grounds of Rippon Lea without taking a guided tour. You can stroll through the beautiful gardens, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax in the serene surroundings. However, I would recommend taking advantage of the tour for a deeper understanding of the estate’s history and significance.

3. Can I host private events or weddings at Rippon Lea Estate?

Yes, Rippon Lea Estate offers a stunning venue for private events and weddings. Its grand mansion and picturesque gardens provide an unforgettable setting for special occasions. Contact the estate’s event management team for further details and bookings.

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