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

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, to remodel 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 again impress all its visitors.

Labassa Lives Journal – the ongoing story for you to read

A reunion of more than 135 former residents, owners and their descendants in 2013 has led to an ongoing research project into Labassa’s remarkable social history during the mid 20th Century.

From 1862-1920 it was the residence of a succession of enterprising and prosperous families. Following those boom years it was divided into apartments and became home to successive waves of residents of more modest means but not necessarily modest ambitions.

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



Christmas at Labassa

Sunday 8 December, 10.30am to 4pm

Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas in the lavish surroundings of Labassa on Sunday 8 December, 10.30am to 4pm.

Purchase tickets


Melbourne International Millinery Competition

Sunday 16 February, 10.30am to 4pm

The Melbourne International Millinery Competition returns to Labassa with a display of fabulous hats fashioned from recycled materials. Entrants  in this year’s competition were invited to design millinery using waste products such as plastic straws, pencil shavings, sardine cans, glossy magazine pages, photo negatives, CDs, empty cotton reels, plastic bags and coffee pods. From junk to joy, waste to wonderful this will be a standout display from the MIMC now in its fourth year.


Planning your visit


2 Manor Grove
Caulfield North 3161 VIC


Open every third Sunday of each month from 10.30am to 4pm.
House tours at 11am, 2pm and 3pm.
There is also an external tour at 1pm.
Social History tour at 12pm.

Tearooms open throughout the day.


20 October 2019

Call Bookings Office on 03 9656 9889 Mon-Fri
[email protected]
Entry Fees:

House Tours included as part of admission.
National Trust members: Free,
Adults: $15,
Concession: $12,
Children: $9,
Family (2 adults + 2 children): $35.

What we offer:

Call to action section

Visit Labassa

Purchase tickets to Labassa's next open day now

Buy tickets here

‘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

Labassa Lives - Labassa's social history

Louise Lovely

Following its heyday from 1862-1920, when the mansion was the domain of the wealthy, Labassa went into decline. Divided into flats it was home to successive residents of more modest means but not necessarily modest ambitions. Among them was Louise Lovely (1895-1980), the Australian born star of Hollywood's silent era


Related content section


The magnificent surrounds of Labassa make it an ideal location for weddings and photography.


Weddings and Functions at Labassa

For Wedding enquiries please contact the Functions team at [email protected] or (03) 9656 9817

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.

Related content