• Jon Ruwolt

US ambassador Joe Hockey lists 'Te Roma', Hunters Hill for $8 million

Updated: Aug 12, 2019


‘Te Roma’, 52 Woolwich Rd, Hunters Hill (1905)

‘Te Roma’, 52 Woolwich Rd, Hunters Hill (1905) Previous Post: Tudor Style

One of Hunters Hill's classic properties, 'Te Roma' is an historic 1400 sqm plus landholding with a fully renovated 1905 manor. "Traditional details combine with sympathetic contemporary touches to create a family residence of beauty and modern appeal."


Beautifully restored 1905 estate

The ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey and his investment banker wife Melissa Babbage, bought their Federation mansion 14 years ago in Babbage’s name for $3.5 million. At the time Hockey was a federal Liberal MP in the Howard government.

  • In 2015, two months after he was replaced as treasurer, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered Hockey the key diplomatic posting to the US and the Hockeys took up residence in the historic American colonial-style residence known as “White Oaks” in Washington DC the following year.

  • Hockey and Babbage last year offered their Sydney home as a short-term executive rental for about $4000 a week, but after a brief return home for New Year’s Eve they decided to sell it instead.

  • Selling agent Brad Pillinger​, of Pillingers, who sold it to the couple in 2004, is asking for more than $8 million.


Click to view video presentation of Te Roma, 52 Woolwich Road, Hunters Hill

"Te Roma” was built in 1905 and is set behind a high sandstone wall on more than 1400 square metres.

  • It has been renovated by heritage architect firm Clive Lucas Stapleton and includes four bedrooms, formal living and dining rooms, a separate study, media room, landscaped gardens, a cabana, swimming pool and spa.

With views over the water, it’s has landscaped grounds with a series of alfresco entertaining terraces, a sprawling lawn, a 12 metre pool and a poolside cabana with a bathroom and wet bar.


  • Offering a versatile two-storey floorplan, it contains four bedrooms plus a sunroom/5th bedroom.

  • The master suite encompasses a bespoke dressing room plus a luxurious ensuite with marble detailing.

Mr Hockey’s Sydney listing agent Brad Pillinger said that there had been limited foreign interest in the modernised four-bedroom home on 1400sq m.

  • It has been filled with styled furniture installed for inspections after being vacated recently by tenants.

  • Mr Pillinger hoped Chinese New Year tourism celebrations may bring offshore interest.

  • Mr Hockey and Ms Babbage have upsized to another historic Hunters Hill home, set on almost 2400sq m.

  • The pair paid about $8 million for Wybalena House, a grand six-bedroom sandstone 1870s residence.

Key Features Indoor:

  • Huge main suite with dressing room & ensuite

  • Sunroom/5th bed, TV room, office, study

  • Elegant and historic formal rooms with open fireplaces

  • Casual living with soaring light filled domed ceiling

Key Features Outdoor:

  • 12m heated pool and spa, cabana with bathroom and kitchen

  • Piped music throughout house and gardens

  • Manicured garden with established trees

  • Sun-soaked balconies and terraces

  • Limestone sandstone retaining walls, double carport

Key Features Additional:

  • Clive Lucas Stapleton designed renovations including working fireplaces,

  • Marble Rosieres kitchen, butler's pantry kitchen

  • Kauri pine floorboards, custom joinery

  • Movie theatre and intergrated security system

  • Wired sound, through the house and gardens, ducted air conditioning

  • Expansive under-house, attic storage space and tool shed

  • 3000 bottle cellar

Past History:

  • Mr Henry Howell, of 'Te Roma', Woolwich Road, Hunter's Hill was for over 20 years manager of the shipping firm of Messrs Howard Smith and Co Ltd.

  • He bad been suffering from heart trouble for some time, and had been attended by Dr Lloyd, of Hunter's Hill. On 9 January 1913, while he was passing the premises of Messrs Paling and Co, in George Street, he suddenly collapsed and was removed to Sydney Hospital, where life was pronounced extinct.

  • Mr Howell leaves a wife, a married daughter (Mrs A Howard Smith), a single daughter (Vera), and a Son (Claude), the latter being employed with the same company.[1]

Further Reading:

  • US ambassador Joe Hockey lists Hunters Hill mansion for $8 million

  • ‘Te Roma’ Beautifully restored 1905 estate - 52 Woolwich Rd, Hunters Hill

  • 52 Woolwich Road Hunters Hill - Sale listing and photographs

  • Former treasurer Joe Hockey seeks Chinese buyer for his $8m Hunters Hill mansion

  • Property history

  1. ^ https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/15389134