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  • Writer's pictureJon Ruwolt

Twiggy upgrades Cottesloe Beach

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Speculation about the state of billionaire couple Andrew Twiggy Forrest and his wife Nicola’s marriage had been circulating for months before they confirmed their split.

On Wednesday night they issued a statement saying that “after 31 years of marriage we have made the decision to live apart.” (July 13, 2023) [1]

But in reality the couple have been spending increasing amounts of time apart for the last couple of years.

Andrew has spent more time away from the family home "overlooking" Cottesloe Beach crisscrossing the globe in his quest to tackle climate change.

Assets were shifted within Forrest organisations last month, including putting more than $1 billion of Fortescue shares into a company called Coaxial Ventures which is wholly owned by Nicola, raised a red flag that all was not well in the relationship.

Nicola controls more than $10 billion and becomes Australia’s second richest woman behind miner Gina Rinehart with the changes.

In a clear sign the split was planned months ago she has listed her home on company documents not in Perth but at a multimillion-dollar pad in Point Piper in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.



Pine Lodge, John St. Cottesloe

The Forrest family home has been Pine Lodge, 42 John Street, Cottesloe, which only overlooks Cottesloe beach if you climb up into the belvedere at the front of the property and peer between the pine trees.

Parts of mining magnate Andrew Forrest's 2013 plans to renovate his heritage-listed Cottesloe mansion had been labelled "overpowering" by the town council's deputy mayor.

The billionaire's ambitious proposals to demolish and rebuild sections of Pine Lodge had stalled after the Town of Cottesloe raised concerns and sent the plans back to Mr Forrest's architects.

The single-storey brick house dates back to 1896 and is deemed to have great cultural heritage significance.

Google's current Street View of Pine Lodge, Cottesloe

Mr Forrest, whose fortune is estimated at $4.4 billion, wanted to build a carport with a bedroom above it, a new swimming pool, a plant room, a media room, a cellar and a gym as part of the estimated $2.5 million renovations.

Slideshow: Google Earth shows a swimming pool and other structures were completed.


Mr Forrest also wanted to build boundary walls as high as 4.5m, which the council said do not comply with the Residential Design Code, while the proposed two- storey carport reaches 7.44m, which the council says is higher than the Town Planning Scheme No. 2 allows.

Google streetview shows the street boundary fence unchanged in 2023, but the side land fence is very high, as according to the development application.

Mr Forrest bought Pine Lodge in 2000, the same year the Federation Queen Anne-style property was added to the State Register of Heritage Places where it is described as "finely designed" and "displaying quality craftsmanship".

Heritage Note: "An elegant Victorian 'Queen Anne' bungalow c. 1896 of tuckpointed brick with an iron roof. Sheltered by wide verandahs with large turned posts and regular square-section frieze, it has a belvedere to the south-west corner with pressed zinc cladding and candle-snuffer roof.

The front sitting room has a bay window with casement windows. The main bedroom and dining room have bay windows with double-hung floor-to-ceiling window/doors with side windows. The front door has exquisite original leaded stained glass of a country scene.

On the State Heritage Register: Reasons for Inclusion -

1. The place is of higher-order local cultural heritage significance, being classified as Category 1 in the Town’s Municipal Inventory (MI).

2. The place is also heritage classified on the State Register of Heritage Places.

3. The place contributes to the character and amenity of the street, locality and overall district.


John Street, Forrest Street, Cottesloe

The main access road to Cottesloe Beach is "Forrest Street", named for Twiggy's great-

great-uncle, Sir John Forrest, Western Australia’s most famous historical figure.


Sir John Forrest, 1st Baron Forrest of Bunbury (1847-1918), was a surveyor, explorer and politician.


To be known as 'John Forrest' was simply too much to bear for young Twiggy, and so he decided he’d be known by his second name, Andrew. [2]


Despite this, many now believe that Andrew Forrest, the entrepreneur, has been inspired to take extraordinary risks and pursue grand dreams by seeking to follow in the footsteps of Sir John, who was the state’s first premier and most celebrated pioneer.


Tukurua, now Beach House, Rosendo St. Cottesloe

This grand limestone house at 7 Rosendo Street is set back on a large block on the corner of Marine Parade, and was built at the end of the 19th Century.

It is an example of the large houses which were common in the area during a time of wealth and prosperity.

Originally built as a summer residence for the Honorable Septimus Burt and his family who were a prominent Perth residents at the turn of the century. Septimus Burt became the first Attorney General in the first responsible government in Western Australia.

The original contractor for the house was Bunning Brothers. Further work was carried out between by 1901 to 1904, including the addition of a second storey, by the famous Architect and local Cottesloe resident at the time, J. Talbot Hobbs.

The house remained in the family until 1933 when it was leased to Mr and Mrs Cass who operated a boarding house there.

By 1939 the couple were in a position to purchase the property. The house was used to accommodate refugees from Singapore during World War 2, the property being divided into separate apartments complete with bathrooms and kitchens.

The house was not returned to its original layout after the war and was inherited by Mrs Cass’ daughter Dorothy with a clause that the house should not be altered in any way thereby ensuring retention of the original features.

The house was classified by the National Trust of Australia in 1979 and entered the Register of the National Estate in 1982.

Dorothy lived at the property until 1993 when she was moved to a care facility but her long time friend Mr Ted Smith remained.

He lived in a small portion of the house, clearing the rest of the rooms and closing up the rest of the property. Upon Mrs Cass’ death the house was bequeathed to Mr Smith who lovingly restored the property in the early 2000s.

The heritage-listed mansion, nestled on a 5000-square-metre parcel of prime beachfront land in Cottesloe, hit the market for the first time in more than 100 years in July 2015. It was originally estimated to be worth about $50 million and price was later slashed by half to $25 million.

Mining Magnate Andrew Forrest, “Twiggy” Forrest, was then revealed as the buyer of the discounted $16 million iconic Tukurua mansion in Perth's Cottelsoe beach.

Mr Forrest, who snagged a bargain (for $9 million less), then hit a wall, because according to News Corp Australia, the 81-year-old owner, Ted Smith, was pleading to keep his home of 44 years and claims he was pressured to sell and didn’t understand the deal. [3]

'Tukurua' came with three parcels of land fronting Rosendo Street, the titles extending to Marine Parade, which Twiggy Forrest later converted to a single title, extending from Tukurua to the beach front. He also renamed Tukurua to 'Beach House'.

Note the bottom right property above, which is the recently renovated 'Le Fanu'. Guess who bought that too?


Development of Tukurua

Development plans show a substantial development of interlinked pavilion-style dwellings.

The new buildings were constructed on either side of a main corridor, where the swimming pool will be, to maintain views of the ocean from Tukurua.

Architects have also designed the development so that the distinctive historic Beach House (Tukurua) property will still be seen from the street.

Plans, submitted to the council and seen by The West Australian, show a substantial development of interlinked pavilion-style buildings on a large area of vacant land in front of Tukurua. [4]

A swimming pool overlooking the ocean is planned for the western middle section of the block, next to a large alfresco and covered verandah.

A larger two-storey building with a basement is planned for the southern edge of the site. The plans show the building will accommodate living and dining areas, a kitchen and bedrooms.

The beach front development below Tukurua (Beach House) just visible at the left. Note the redeveloped 'Le Fanu' far right.

Refugees

Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest bought Tukurua but his daughter Grace was the driving force behind having refugees use it as a half-way house. Since then, Mr Forrest has housed five refugee families in the 122-year-old Tukurua property, but now his own grand plans have been revealed for the 5001sqm oceanfront block.

“The Forrests have always wanted to restore the magnificent site of Tukurua, which they have given its original name of The Beach House, to its former stateliness,” a spokeswoman for Mr Forrest said.

Restoration and conservation planned for Tukurua was replacing doors and bringing down old partitions.


'Le Fanu' ('Banksia')

Banksia (later Le Fanu) was built as a private residence for Henry Diggins Holmes, his wife Marion and their three children, at the corner of Salvado Road and Marine Parade, close to the dunes of Cottesloe Beach. Holmes was appointed General Manager of the Bank of Western Australia in 1890.

(Before)

In 1898 and 1900, substantial additions and alterations designed by architect Percy William Harrison were undertaken and it was sold in 1945 to the Perth Diocesan Trustees and renamed after then Archbishop of Perth, Henry Frewen Le Fanu.[1] It became a private residence again in 1973,[2] when the property was purchased by Mrs Fenwick (now Mrs Drake-Brockman).

A story in Post Newspapers in January 2008 described the house as "crumbling into ruins". The 17-room house "is probably the most expensive chunk of real estate in Cottesloe – but it has serious complications", the story said.

"It has the highest possible heritage listing – and presents an expensive challenge for any new owner because it cannot be demolished."

The house had an asbestos roof, rotten roof timbers, crumbling bricks and collapsing limestone walls.[3]

In August 2008, the house was listed for sale by the owners, Francis Margaret Drake-Brockman, for a reputed asking price of $10 million.[4]

In 2009, Steve Wyatt, co-founder of Mineral Resources Limited, purchased Le Fanu for $4.25 million.[5]

In September 2010, the Town of Cottesloe granted approval for owners S. Wyatt and S. Gibson to undertake extensive alterations and additions to the 17-room house,[6] at an estimated cost of $6 million, to enable it to be restored for residential use.[4]

The proposed renovations include the demolition of four rooms, a northern verandah enclosed after World War II and a post World War II ablution block.

The construction of an underground car park beneath the demolition area.

The restoration of the ballroom, dining room and study, with the kitchen being partially demolished and adapted as a guest suite.

The works were undertaken by Zorzi Builders, under the supervision of heritage architects, Hocking Planning and Architecture.[7][8]

A large self-contained house will be built 'behind' {actually alongside) the existing dwelling, underneath which was a 10-car garage (see below left).

Frontage of 'Banksia' with unsympathetic Town House developments to its North boundary

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest is progressing plans to make alterations to Cottesloe’s heritage-listed Le Fanu, just over a year after purchasing the 130-year-old home for $15.6 million.

The Town of Cottesloe council is mulling a development application for changes to the 17-room Federation Queen Anne-style home on Salvado Street, with the matter to be considered behind closed doors next week. Concept designs shared by several of Forrest’s employees during a deputation to council on Tuesday offered a glimpse at the proposed revamp.


Hugh Walker, the property and projects manager of Forrest’s family investment vehicle Tattarang, told the council the alterations to the heritage property – which it referred to by its original name ‘Banksia’ – would involve the removal of an “unsympathetic” upper storey added in 2015 and internal conservation works.

It would also include the construction of a contemporary dwelling at the adjacent lot and the removal of two townhouses to the rear, which would be replaced by a landscaped garden.

Walker said the changes provided an opportunity to “do right” by one of the suburb’s finest heritage home and would be a win-win that restored the ocean views of surrounding residents. The comments were echoed by Kerry Hill Architects director Patrick Kosky and Element’s planning principal Daniel Lees, who said the designs before council were the product of extensive consultation with the state’s Heritage Council. [5]

'Townhouses Gone!!' Apex belvedere is the next to go.

One of Cottesloe’s oldest homes is set for a facelift, courtesy of its new billionaire owner Andrew Forrest, after the town’s council approved his $30 million plans for the 130-year-old heritage site which include building a new mansion next door.

The Town of Cottesloe council approved Forrest’s plans to remove an upper storey added to the heritage home in 2015, which would return the place more closely to its original form.

The plans received the backing of the Heritage Council of WA and a number of Forrest’s high-profile neighbours, with letters of support penned by Fogarty Foundation chair Annie Fogarty and Primewest boss John Bond, son of prominent businessman Alan Bond.

Officers had initially proposed the mining magnate’s plans be approved subject to 11 conditions, with a reduction in the height of the new dwelling chief among them. But Tattarang’s property and projects manager Hugh Walker said the company had only received the officer’s report and proposed resolution on Friday, which he said would see the removal of ocean views in a move he dubbed “bizarre”.


Indiana Teahouse Redevelopment

The mining magnate’s proposed Woods Bagot-designed plans include a renovation of the Indiana Teahouse built in the mid-1990s in a mock Colonial style on Marine Parade at Cottesloe’s foreshore in Western Australia.

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest's Minderoo purchased the Indiana Teahouse in 2019 (built and launched a competition among high-profile architects to redesign the beachside restaurant.

But of the two finalists, the competition jury's preferred plan — submitted by Sydney-based firm Durbach Block Jaggers (DBJ) — was the least popular among the public.

Only 10 per cent of people who voted during an extensive community consultation period supported the DBJ plan, while the majority (53 per cent) were in favour of a concept from rival Kerry Hill Architects (KHA).

The Kerry Hill Architects redesign (upper right) plan won the popular vote among the public. More than a third of the votes (37 per cent) were in favour of retaining and refurbishing the Teahouse.

In a statement, Minderoo Group said it was "exploring other redevelopment options" following "mixed" feedback during eight community consultation sessions.

"We want to consider the community feedback and explore a design that we're confident will be an improvement to the current site," Minderoo co-founder Nicola Forrest said.

"We want to provide an Indiana all Western Australians can be proud of, but we also want to significantly improve the amenity for everyone visiting Cottesloe Beach."

Another New Design:

The new Indiana design is for a four-storey hotel development across the road from the proposal, which would include a penthouse and a private rooftop area for the Indiana Teahouse.

Both the teahouse and the proposed hotel site are on crown land.

Forrest currently leases the Teahouse building from the Town of Cottesloe and requires permission to redevelop it.

But there remains one issue, being the lack of planned parking.

Perth’s favourite beach has been under immense and growing parking pressures, which the Council is trying to ease through construction of a major centralised car-park.

With hefty beach crowds year-round, a 1200-strong surf club and various events staged on the squeaky white sands, spaces have been a treasured commodity.

Vehicles park up side-streets stretching over the top of the hill, including around the Forrest mansion.

Former Cottesloe mayor and lawyer John Hammond (also of community group Keep Cott Low) told the local Post newspaper that the Indiana site’s continuing lack of parking was by far the “biggest objection” to the development, citing the potential for “Kuta-like” gridlock given the many patrons expected to flock to the multipurpose development. [6]


Read more:

References

[4] The West Australian | Andrew Forrest plans his own grand design for Cottesloe’s historic Tukurua, by Angela Pownall Sat, 20 May 2017

[6] Financial Review | Forrest’s battle to redevelop Cottesloe landmark - Myriam Robin Columnist Dec 13, 2021

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