• Jon Ruwolt

$20.5m Tudor Bonnington for sale again after just six months

Updated: Aug 12, 2019


Lucy Macken, prestige property reporter, has reported at Domain.com.au that Sydney trophy home and art collector John Schaeffer has taken property flipping to a new level listing the historic Bonnington six months after he took possession of it.


Sydney art collector John Schaeffer returned to Bellevue Hill as the mystery buyer of the Tudor-style Bonnington, the $20 million plus home of the late businessman Neville Christie that sold through Richardson & Wrench agent Michael Dunn.


October 2018 Update:

Fund manager Ari Droga and his architect wife, Lisa, successfully made the $20.4 million purchase of John Schaeffer’s trophy home, Bonnington.

New owner Schaeffer had put Bonnington up for auction earlier, only six months after he took possession of the F. Glynn Gilling-designed landmark home for $20.5 million, but fell shy of recouping his purchase price despite five registered bidders at the auction by Ray White Double Bay’s Elliott Placks and Ashley Bierman.


  • The 1930s six bedroom home was designed by acclaimed architect F. Glynn Gilling.

  • Bonninton was the home of the Christie family for 56 years, and sits on over 2,200 sqm.

John Schaeffer had relisted his prized 1930s Dover Heights home for February auction through Ric Serrao, of Raine & Horne with hopes of around $10 million.

The Art Deco home at 1 Kippara Road Dover Heights sold for $9,280,000 on 01 Mar 2018

  • Lucy Macken reported that "Art and trophy-home collector John Schaeffer has no sooner added his Frederic Leighton sculpture, An Athlete Wrestling with a Python, to the John Schaeffer Collection at the Art Gallery of NSW than he has listed his similarly prized Dover Heights landmark home for about $10 million."

  • "Schaeffer and his film producer partner Bettina Dalton bought the distinctive art deco residence only two years ago for $4.85 million from locksmith Jason and Haley Carr, then gutted it leaving only the original brickwork."

  • "It returned to the market with new wiring, flooring, plumbing and high-end finishes throughout, as well as a landscaped garden."

Schaeffer once called Rona at Bellevue Hill his home.


Rona, the 1880s hilltop estate was sold 13 years ago to the property developer Terry Agnew and his wife, Kyril, also for $20.5million.

  • The now-modernised sandstone home sits on the Ginaghulla Road dress circle.

  • It dates back to the days when Edward Knox, of the then prominent CSR sugar family, commissioned the trophy home when, fearful of insanitary harbourfront conditions, the pioneer plutocracy took to the ridges.

  • Gone is the gothic gloom, as the home is now crowned by a glass ceiling in its grand hall.

It is now light and luxury, with all the mod cons including air-conditioning and hydronic heated stone floors while retaining appealing heritage elegance with Kauri ceilings and doors and joinery.


Lucy Macken reports that "Schaeffer said he has “significantly refreshed and improved” Bonnington by removing old carpet and restoring timber floors, replacing electric switchboards and replacing lighting during his ownership."

"But hopes for a sale this time around of more than $20.5 million by Elliott Placks, of Ray White Double Bay, will more than likely be pinned on the tight market conditions. "

"Given the purchase would have incurred more than $1.37 million in stamp duty fees Mr Schaeffer would need to sell for close to $22 million to make his money back."

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