From mansion to flats, Labassa has survived with its Victorian era decoration intact

We acknowledge the Bunurong people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which Labassa is located. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and recognise their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. 

Labassa is an outstanding Victorian-era mansion with opulent architectural features. Originally called ‘Sylliott Hill’, it was renamed ‘Ontario’ in the 1880s reflecting its new owner Alexander William Robertson’s Canadian heritage.  He had the mansion redeveloped in the French Second Empire style by commissioning the German-born architect, John A. B. Koch, who remodelled the house into a thirty-five roomed mansion. The interior features gilt embossed wallpapers, ornate stained glass and a rare trompe l’oeil ceiling.

Renamed Labassa in 1904 it was home to Melbourne’s elite until 1920 when it was divided into flats. The residents included Hollywood’s first Australian silent film star and other colourful bohemians. Labassa is the most lavish of the few surviving nineteenth-century mansions and the magnificently restored interiors of the main rooms impress all its visitors.


Return to Labassa

A reunion of more than 135 former residents, owners and their descendants in 2013 led to an ongoing research project into Labassa’s remarkable lived history over 143 years.

From 1862-1920 Labassa was the residence of a succession of enterprising and prosperous families. Following those boom years it was divided into flats and became home to successive waves of residents of more modest means including socialites, world war heroes, Jewish refugees and bohemian artists.

Follow the different stories and course of the latest research through the Labassa Lives Journal written and compiled by historian Vicki Shuttleworth.


Read the Labassa Lives Journal


Upcoming Events

Sunday 20 February 2022

Love that hat! 

10am – 4.30pm (last entry at 3.30pm)

The Melbourne International Millinery Competition returns to Labassa!

The Melbourne International Millinery Competition returns to Labassa with a display of millinery from leading milliners across Australia and overseas. This year’s theme is ‘Mother of the Bride’ and Bridegroom, of course. Entrants were asked to design and create a hat for the ‘Mother’ wearing one of three outfits designed by Vivienna Lorikeet. Now in its sixth year, this display promises to be a chic affair and an inspiration to all those planning to celebrate this momentous milestone in style.



Conditions of Entry

The safety of our visitors and staff remains our top priority. We have put measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of everybody and conditions of entry will apply to all visitors and staff. Please review our updated Conditions of Entry for more information.



Place Details

Third Sunday of the month.

2 Manor Grove
Caulfield North 3161 VIC

Located on Bunurong Country

Plan your visit



2 Manor Grove
Caulfield North 3161 VIC


Third Sunday of the month.

(03) 9656 9889
Entry Fees:

National Trust members: Free
Adults: $15
Concession: $12
Children: $9
Family (2 adults + 2 children): $35

What we offer:

‘If the Royal Exhibition Building was Melbourne’s public expression of confidence…then Ontario, now known as Labassa, was a private one.’

The Story of Labassa, Hammond, 2004

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Weddings and Functions at Labassa

For Wedding enquiries please contact the Functions team at or (03) 9656 9889.

More information can also be found in the following brochures:

Download The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Wedding Brochure.

Download The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Functions and Venue Hire Brochure.

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