• Jon Ruwolt

"Cossington", Neutral Bay, to be sold

The buyer for Karl Stefananovic and his ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn's $9 million waterside mansion has been revealed as Oaks hotelier Andrew Thomas.

  • The Cremorne waterfront house that the former couple had once planned to be their forever home before Karl dumped Cass was bought by publican Andrew Thomas, who runs his family’s long-held landmark pub The Oaks in Neutral Bay.

  • According to Domain, more than $9 million was paid for the three-level house which was bought in 2016 for $8 million.

Andrew, who is a third-generation hotelier, is expected to put his historic Queen Anne mansion in Neutral Bay, Cossington, on the market.

Cossington, 70 Shellcove Road, Neutral Bay NSW

Cossington is a particularly fine example of a Queen Anne style Federation house and is State Heritage Listed.

  • Nearby houses (60A & 66 Shellcove Road and 75 Wycombe Road) support and enhance the group. This area was developed by the Neutral Bay Land Co in the late 19th century.

  • Read about the Heritage of Neutral Bay at https://www.federation-house.com/heritage-neutral-bay - Stylish Neutral Bay

Common Federation elements to these houses are hipped and gabled roof forms, verandahs, timber shingle cladding and rough cast.

  • Cossington was the childhood home and birthplace of one of the nation’s most important painters, Grace Cossington Smith. She was the nation’s first female modernist painter, and publicly pushed her belief in Australia as a modern, forward-looking country at a time when women had no vote.

Cossington has also been thoroughly renovated:

The brief

The client wanted to retain and protect the 120-year-old sandstone home as a beautiful heritage building, but adapt it to modern-day living and improve its connection with its park-like environment.

When Jorge Hrdina was asked to renovate the Federation-style house in Neutral Bay he knew it was special:

  • it was the childhood home and birthplace of one of the nation’s most important painters, Grace Cossington Smith. She was the nation’s first female modernist painter, and publicly pushed her belief in Australia as a modern, forward-looking country at a time when women had no vote. It was important, Hrdina says, that any renovation embrace this.

The challenge

As with any project involving a significant heritage building, the big challenge was keeping the building’s fabric while modernising it. The Queen Anne home had been built about 1891, with Cossington Smith born not long after.

“As well as dealing with the usual site and other issues, Grace’s history here and as a painter, and the house’s antiquity, were all important considerations,” Hrdina said.


The original single storey sandstone house was in a poor condition and the restoration work required was substantial.

  • The floorboards were completely replaced as 80 to 90% of the floor joists and bearers had rotted.

  • The house had had extensive alterations to its original design and fabric both internally and externally.

  • It did not face north and had small windows which meant architect Jorge Hrdina really needed to focus on bringing in light and developing a feeling of space.

  • The existing house had had several alterations to the exterior elements and interior spaces. The most visible change had been the modification and extension of the verandah to increase its width and accordingly the gabled roof extensions to the side bay windows.

Read more about the renovation: