Point of Interest

Kirribilli House

Australia / The Pacific

Kirribilli House has been the official residence of the Prime Minister in Sydney since 1956 (the main residence being The Lodge in Canberra).  It stands at the far eastern end of Kirribilli Avenue.  The original site was bought by Adolphus Feez (1826-69), a merchant, in 1854.  He built the present house, a twin-gabled Gothic-style structure with steeply pitched roofs, on the highest spot of the land.  It passed through many houses until taken over for government purposes by William (Billy) Hughes (1862-1952), 7th Prime Minister in 1920.  Hughes considered its position could be useful as a defence against Russian invasion.  In the 1950s its purpose was as a guest house for visiting VIPs, similar to Blair House in Washington, while provision was made for Prime Ministers to use it on visits to Sydney.  To make this possible, the architect, John Mansfield (1906-65), undertook external restoration work, while Dame Helen Blaxland (1907-89) tackled the interiors.

But its use has changed.  Several Prime Ministers have preferred to use it as their primary residence, only using the Lodge in Canberra when there on parliamentary business.  These include John Howard (born 1939), and the present Prime Minister, Scott Morrison (born 1968).

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