Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where's Wyselaskie's Wickliffe House in St Kilda?

Last Tuesday I brought you a snippet of John Dickson Wyselaskie's story. You may recall that he and his wife moved to Melbourne in 1878 after making their fortune from Merino Sheep in the Mallee Region of Victoria.  They purchased prime land on the corner of Pollington Street and the Upper Esplanade in St Kilda and built a grand mansion which they called Wickliffe House with a sweeping vista of Port Phillip bay.  A far cry from John's beginnings in the Mallee at age 21 where he lived under an upturned boat!  
Here are a couple of links to old photographs to their grand mansion in St Kilda:
Photograph 1
Photograph 2- scroll to the bottom of the page.

I tracked the house through various incarnations. In the early 1900's's the rear of the building even housed one of the areas first theatres called the Arcadia. Sadly the trail ended with a demolition order in 1959. I have endeavoured to take the above photograph from the same position as those at the links above.  The multi story apartment block on the left "Arandale" is now on the site where Wickliffe House once stood.  The three level white building immediately in front of the pier is The Esplanade Hotel "The Espy".  It was built in 1878 the year Wyselaskie moved to Melbourne.  It is reputed to have accommodated many famous people such as Mark Twain and Sarah Bernhart.  Wyselaskie did live among it didn't he? Wonder which part of life he enjoyed the most that in the mansion or the upturned boat?

Shared with Taphophile Tragics. It's not a cemetery Julie so I hope it fits with your Taphophile Tragics intentions.


  1. Very interesting old picture exactly on the same place !

  2. It my not be a cemetery, Joe, but I'd say we are building a cosy TT community, and this is a continuation of your story last week... or your answer to the challenge. We wanted to know... :-) Nice to see The Esplanade Hotel still standing.

  3. A grand building indeed Joe ... what a pity it was demolished.
    I guess coming from humble beginnings and working hard to make his money John Wyselaskie would have appreciated the comforts of this beautiful mansion. It's good to hear success stories such as this.

  4. Wonderful post Joe. I enjoyed the links. Great shot as well.

  5. It's a shame I guess that the original mansion was demolished, but I have to say The 'Espy' looks pretty in white also Joe, I love that it's got such an interesting past guest register! Thanks for the follow up, I'm guessing that Mr. Wyselaskie would have loved his mansion.

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