• Jon Ruwolt

Huge Potts Point Mansion for sale

Updated: Dec 25, 2020

UPDATED: Jonathan Chancellor reported on December 24, 2020 that Amber Symond, the wife of legendary mortgage broker, Aussie John Symond has spent $12.5 million on this Potts Point heritage mansion.

“Killountan will now return to its previous use as a private residence,” the vendor, Keith Wherry advised on its closure. The historic property will now become a home.

Right: Vendor Keith Wherry. Source: Jason Busch

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our thousands, yes many thousands of guests, who have stayed with us for the past, almost twenty years, and also those in the decade before we took over,” Wherry said in a statement with partner, Marie Harland.


The hotel’s name came from Peter Simpson, who previously owned and ran the hotel before selling it to Wherry for $2.85 million in 2002.


The 1892 Challis Avenue trophy home has traded for over three decades as Simpsons of Potts Point, a 14-room boutique hotel. The Symond family intend to restore it as a private residence.

This freestanding early Federation Queen Anne property is located in Challis Avenue, one of Potts Point’s best streets, and while now operating as a boutique hotel, it would be re-imagined as a grand home.

Killountan was featured in Michael Cannon’s Our Beautiful Homes: Australia’s upper middle class in the Edwardian Age.

  • It was during the 1920s when the house, then known as Belgravia, was split into six apartments.

  • They were earning 320 pounds annually when offered for sale in 1944.


Then in the late 1980s, the Farris family undertook a year-long restoration.

  • Without ostentation, its facade was a statement against the vulgarity of Victorian architecture of the day.

  • There was red brick with stained glass windows and timber ornamentation.

Its now restored decorative elements were reserved for inside with -

  • missing mouldings replaced,

  • elliptical Tudor arches highlighted, and

  • a new internal staircase built, in the same style as the one that had been demolished decades earlier.

  • A conservatory was erected and

  • the garaging built underneath.

Fielding interest from expats, Chinese buyers, wealthy local families, business leaders and architecture buffs, McGrath Edgecliff agent William Manning reports that there is a palpable excitement over the sale of the house, which last changed hands in 2002.

This Local Government Heritage Listed property is mistakenly listed as a Terrace House but is freestanding, and NSW heritage listed as "Belgravia" Including its Victorian Interior. It was also known as Killountan, and is trading now as Simpsons Boutique Hotel.

Spanning four levels on a 650-square metre block, this freestanding property is in one of Potts Point’s best streets, and while now operating as a boutique hotel, it could be reimagined as a grand home

Designed in 1892 by John Bede Barlow, a leading light in turn-of-the-century Australian architecture, Simpsons (originally called Killoutan) was built for Barlow’s cousin John Lane Mullins, a treasurer of the Catholic Church, solicitor and patron of the emerging arts and crafts movement.


A statement against the “vulgarity” of Victorian architecture of the day, Simpsons boasts a handsome facade of (Queen Anne) red brick, with its decorative elements reserved for inside.

Standing in the elegant foyer with its soaring ceilings, grand moulded arches and beautifully preserved leadlight windows, it’s easy to be transported back to the 19th century.


The formal sitting and dining rooms are to the right of the foyer, facing the street with views through large, segmented arched windows.

There are picture and dado rails above wide skirting boards and ornate fireplaces. On a cool spring morning with both fires blazing, it’s a warm and inviting space lined with books and art.

To the left of the foyer, a hall leads through to the conservatory, which functions as a light-filled breakfast room. There are four en suite bedrooms on the ground floor, six on the first floor and three at attic level, all connected via a solid timber staircase rebuilt in a heritage style.


There’s also a three-car garage at basement level accessed via the rear lane, and a circular driveway providing off-street parking for a further four cars.

Listed by the National Trust of Australia, Simpsons appeared in both the Annual Architectural Review and Beautiful Homes of Australia in the Edwardian Age in 1893.

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